“If someone were to have told me in my days at FSU that in 2016 I would be an Officer in the U.S. Public Health Services Commissioned Corps, let alone work in public health, I would have dismissed them completely,” explains Lieutenant Tanesha Tutt (B.A. ’05, M.S. ’06).
Lieutenant Tutt graduated with her Master’s degree in 2005 with the goal of working for a public relations or advertising firm, or even using her English degree to pursue higher education. Among several applications, one of LT. Tutt’s submissions was for a job as an Editorial Assistant at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She even remarked that she had forgotten that she had even applied in October 2006 because she didn’t get called back for an interview until March of 2007.
“Nine years later, I am still at the Agency and love my job immensely,” explains LT. Tutt. “I really cannot explain how I went from a Communications and English degree to a career in public health.”
Though her career is drastically different from what she thought it would be during her time at Florida State, she feels that her degrees in Communications and English have greatly impacted her professional successes.
“Being able to clearly express oneself orally, written, non-verbally, and even visually, are skills that can only be acquired though training in a program with rigor and highly skilled staff who are not only educators, but leaders in their fields of study,” says LT. Tutt. “FSU offered me those programs and exposed me to those professors and provided me with the education I needed to become a leader in my field.”
She started her career in public health as an Editorial Assistant, and then transitioned into a career as a Health Communications Specialist and Health Education Specialist. All three of these roles, including her current role as an Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, required her to produce high quality communication products that effectively communicate messages involving public health.
“From developing targeted content for campaign materials to engaging in social marketing and working with different media platforms, I have had an advantage because of the knowledge I obtained while at FSU,” remarks LT. Tutt. “I was well prepared to work in a very fast-paced, high visibility area, and was able to create quality deliverables because I was confident in the skills and training I received from my degree program at FSU.”
However, LT. Tutt also attributes much of her success and confidence within the public health industry to her experience leading the HIV Screening, Standard Care, and Testing an Linking African American and Hispanic/Latino Patients to Care Campaign.
“I figured out “how it all works together.” I can honestly say that everything I learned in school I was required to use in my role as campaign lead,” explains LT. Tutt. “It was through this role that I was forced to “grow up” in my career. The experience has made me more confident in my skills and abilities as a communicator and professional, and everything about the experience was purposeful in getting me where I am today.”
Her confidence and experience from her time at FSU and as campaign leader have shaped her into the professional she is today, as well as prepared her for her future as a Lieutenant Senior Assistant Scientist.
“I will still continue to serve in the CDC’s Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development as a health educator and education subject matter expert for CDC’s Informatics Fellowship Program and Population Health Workforce Development Initiative,” says LT. Tutt. “However, in addition to those duties, as a Uniformed Service Member, I will now be on the frontlines when it comes to protecting, promoting, and advancing the health and safety of our nation.”