Student Experiences – Interview with Anna O’Halloran

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Hi everyone
Hope you are enjoying your break!
Here is our second interview. This time we’ve had a chat with fantastic Anna O’Halloran.
Anna is passionate about leadership, equity and health. She recently completed a Master of Public Health and her studies focused on public health leadership, gender and health, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. She has worked as a researcher in the areas of cancer epidemiology and HIV prevention. Anna is the Director of REACH, a student-driven health initiative that promotes social change. She is also the General Member of the Future Health Leaders Council. You can find Anna’s LinkedIn profile here and see what has he been up to.



Anna O’Halloran


What was your background before MPH?

I completed a Bachelor of Science (with Honours in Immunology) at the University of Sydney. I worked as a research assistant in cancer epidemiology for about six months before starting my MPH


Where are you at your MPH?

I have just completed my MPH after two years of full time study


Were you Full time/ Part time student?

Full time


Were you enrolled as local or international student?

A local student


Where is your internship?

I volunteer at REACH (Realising Education and Access in Collaborative Health). REACH is a student-driven health initiative that promotes social change.


How long have you been there?

I joined REACH in April 2012 as a member of the Evaluation Committee. I became Director of Evaluation in August 2012 and then Director of REACH in January 2013.

Anna presenting to prospective volunteers at the REACH Information Night in August 2013

Anna presenting to prospective volunteers at the REACH Information Night in August 2013


What are some the things you do in your role?

In my current role as Director of REACH, I:

  • Lead and support the Executive Committee
  • Provide direction and leadership to REACH and support change across the organisation
  • Represent REACH to external organisation
  • Manage the relationship of REACH with its stakeholders
  • Coordinate REACH’s resources and finances
  • Facilitate REACH’s strategic development


In my previous positions in REACH, I:

  • Contributed to the development of questionnaires and the evaluation plan
  • Wrote reports
  • Lead the Evaluation Committee


Tell us the story of how you applied for your position.

I first heard about REACH from a notice on the student portal. I emailed and was appointed to the Evaluation Committee. I become Director of REACH after completing a written application and attending an interview.


What skills have you picked up?

I have learned so many amazing skills from being involved with REACH. These are skills that I would have had to wait years to learn through formal employment. I learned skills such as:

  • How to motivate others
  • How to think strategically
  • How to set up effective processes
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Strategic planning
  • Mentoring and supervising others


What benefits have there been?

Through REACH, I have met many amazing students from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. I have made friends that I will have for life. I have made connections and networks with people in public health and other industries. Through my involvement with REACH, I have had the opportunity to participate in many great projects. The biggest benefit is that I have gained real-world experience and practical skills.


What tip would you give other people looking for internships?

It’s hard to know from the outside what the internship experience might look like, so you just have to jump right in. Get involved, even if you are not sure what your job would be. I would also recommend that students look to student organisations, as I did with REACH. In student organisations there are more opportunities for leadership, skill development and making a real and tangible difference.


Has your internship helped in other aspects of your work/life?

Definitely. I have learned skills and had experiences that will make me a better worker, leader and person.


Are you an international student? If so, how did you manage any

citizenship obstacles?


Thank you so much for your time!