Kayla Dean calls chilly St. Paul, Minnesota, her home and has for most of her life. She attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2011. While in college, Kayla was focused on gaining as much professional experience the medical and public health fields as possible. She knew that she was interested in working in healthcare but in what capacity was unclear. After working in healthcare research while in college and after graduation, Kayla knew that she was no longer interested in being a healthcare professional but was still interested in working alongside them to conduct research projects. Currently, Kayla works at the HealthPartners Institute Survey Research Center (SRC) as a Project Manager where she is able to help design and implement surveys and oversee data collection efforts in addition to managing the SRC’s telephone interviewers.
Kayla was attracted to UConn’s Graduate Program in Survey Research instantaneously due to its prestige and reputation within the survey research community, the curriculum and class choices and how well they suited her professional needs, the knowledgeable professors and its online format since she still works full time. She knew that there was no other program that was so tailored to her needs. She started the program in the spring of 2016 and just finished her last final yesterday for the fall 2016 semester. She is now halfway done with her Master’s degree—which is a great feeling. Thus far, her favorite class has been Attitude Formation because she has always been attracted to explaining why people think the way they do (or at least trying to).
When Kayla is not at work or working on homework, she can be found playing or lounging around with her Chihuahua, Uno. When Kayla moved out of her mom’s house, she chose a place that was very far away—a whopping 2.2 miles to be exact. She likes to spend as much time with her family as possible and tries to see them at least once a week. She also loves watching football and is a bit embarrassed to note that she is a Minnesota Vikings fan right now.
If she could give any advice to future students, it would be to log in right when the week begins to ensure that you don’t miss anything, to join professional organizations like AAPOR and to connect with students outside of the “classroom” by email or setting up study groups. She has learned that having peers who she can bounce questions off of has been invaluable to her success thus far. Attending conferences in her field has been a great way to network and oftentimes meet classmates in person. In addition, she has also found that most students are working professionals like her. Finding the balance between school, family, friends and work can be difficult but you do end up learning how to fit them all together and the end result is so rewarding!