Annie Lee, MSN/MPH '09, is a self-described wanderer. The California native has been to African villages and a remote Alaskan town, but thanks to the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Lee has happily put down roots in Baltimore. Her career as a family nurse practitioner in a private gynecological practice in suburban Maryland is quite a distance, though, from her original destination.
After receiving an undergraduate Biology degree from the University of California at Riverside, Lee joined the Peace Corps and taught science in Malawi. Her life as a teacher was mapped out—until she enrolled in a Master's in Education program. "I left during orientation," Lee, 31, recalls. "My heart just wasn't in didactic education."
The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, she decided, was a better fit because "it has a hand in every international and domestic health issue." After graduating from the Accelerated BS program in 2007, Lee immediately applied to the MSN/MPH program. "I wanted to see patients and get a public health degree," explains Lee, who named her dog after Lillian Wald, the first public health nurse. "We see people at their most vulnerable point. I share pivotal stages of women's lives with them and take care of their bodies and mindset."
The MSN/MPH's clinical opportunities fed her innate curiosity. "The faculty is more than willing to make whatever idea you have work," she says. Her placements included private practice, a public clinic, the National Military Hospital in Bethesda, and an internship with the National Association of School Nurses. One rotation even took her to a community health center in Unalakleet, Alaska. She also worked part time as a community health nurse for a non-profit serving homeless women and children affected by substance abuse.
"I knew Hopkins would teach me to be a good nurse and a better person," she says. "I understand how Hopkins continually educates such strong nursing leaders. The faculty and staff foster it by being kind, communicating, and treating each other and the students like family." For Lee, this connection extended to Baltimore. Her coworker dubbed Lee a "come-here," not a "from-here," a moniker that suits Lee just fine: "Hopkins and Baltimore have welcomed me."