Rachel Zeig-Owens ‘00
“The math classes at Brimmer and May gave me the foundation to succeed . . .”
Brimmer and May Class of 2000
Wheaton College, B.A., 2004
Columbia University, Masters of Public Health, 2008
City University of New York, Doctoral Candidate in Public Health
Rachel, an epidemiologist at the New York Fire Department, is working on her dissertation for a doctorate in public health.
What are you doing currently for a profession?
I am an epidemiologist at the Fire Department of the City of New York. I research the association between exposure to the World Trade Center disaster and various physical and mental health outcomes such as asthma, cancer, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition to working full time at the FDNY, I have been going to school at night for my doctorate in public health. I am currently working on my dissertation looking at the association between exposure to the World Trade Center disaster and thyroid cancer among the FDNY firefighters.
How did Brimmer and May prepare you for your career?
Everyday at work and in school I problem-solve and use math while working closely with others. Brimmer and May prepared me for this. Math and research is all about problem-solving, whether you are trying to answer an equation or understand a potential relationship related to public health, you need to think critically. The math classes at Brimmer and May gave me the foundation to succeed in this area. In addition, we did a lot of group work at the School. In public health and many other careers, being able to work well with others towards a common goal is hugely important.
What led you to attend Brimmer and May?
The small class size at Brimmer and May was very attractive to me. I liked the personalized attention I received while there as a result of the low number of students in each class.
What are your stand-out memories of your time at Brimmer and May?
I have many memories from my time at Brimmer and May. Starting off every school year at the Interlocken camp was always fun. I also found a love of sports and theater while I was at the School. Additionally, there are many books, such as Dante's Inferno, that will always remind me of my time at Brimmer and May.