Best wishes to our May 2020 Graduates!


This spring has brought the Swetland Center numerous reasons to celebrate; publications, new team members, and four new graduates! It is a bittersweet transition, but this month we say goodbye to four of our Swetland Center students who are moving onto the next phase of their journey and careers. Megan Schmidt-Sane, Gabriela Arima, Haley Tolerton and Colleen Bailey are all ending their time with us. We would like to thank them for their meaningful contributions and encourage you to read more about their experiences at Swetland as well as their future plans below!


Photo of Megan Schmidt Sane
Megan Schmidt Sane

Degree: PhD

Role at Swetland: foodNEST 2.O and BCOP Graduate Assistant

What are you planning next after Swetland? I'm starting a postdoctoral research position with the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. I'll be working on the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform (SSHAP) to advance and innovate the use of social science research methods in/for health emergencies and humanitarian crises. I'll also be doing some field-based research. It'll allow me to be more involved in global health research, which has been my main focus.

What is one lesson from Swetland you will take into your future work? I've really enjoyed working in interdisciplinary teams, with researchers and community members from different backgrounds. I've learned how to better communicate research findings to these various audiences. This, among many other lessons learned at Swetland, will help me in future work.

Photo of foodNEST 2.0 Graduate Assistant Gabriela Arima
Gabriela Arima


Degree: MPH

Role at Swetland: foodNEST 2.0 Graduate Assistant

What are you planning next after Swetland? I will be graduating from the Masters in Public Health program at the CWRU School of Medicine and moving back to California to be with family.

What is one lesson from Swetland you will take into your future work? I'm incredibly grateful to have gotten the chance to explore a variety of study design, data collection, analysis, and information dissemination challenges during my time working on foodNEST. I could've easily gotten overwhelmed at certain points, but was endlessly supported by the wonderful people I worked with. From this, the biggest personal lesson I learned was that I'll absolutely find a way to work through whatever comes my way!

Haley Tolerton headshot
Haley Tolerton

Degree: MS - Social Administration 

Role at Swetland: Swetland Center Intern

What are you planning next after Swetland? I am seeking jobs at environmental health centers, policy nonprofits, legal offices, and courts. I will be beginning a paralegal certification course in May and beginning to study for the Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) exam. I am planning to move to Lakewood in June and getting a puppy!

What is one lesson from Swetland you will take into your future work? I have learned a million and one things at my time with Swetland. However, one aspect that stands out is the importance of human interaction, connections, and relationships. Not only in community research but having close positive supports (i.e. co-workers) and being surrounded by people who want the absolute best for you and want to see you succeed. Creating an environment where people at all levels can thrive and be supported in their goals makes a world of difference in the quality of life both personally and professionally. I have truly found the value in making sure all voices are heard, that all people are seen and that everyone has a seat at the table.

Headshot of Colleen Bailey
Colleen Bailey

Degree: MS - Nutrition

Role at Swetland: Ohio Nutrition Incentive Evaluation Project Graduate Assistant

What are you planning next after Swetland? After Swetland, I will be graduating from CWRU School of Medicine with my Masters in Nutrition. I'm not exactly sure what my summer plans are, but in August I start my 9-month dietetic internship at The Ohio State University! I couldn't be more excited about this incredible opportunity to continue towards my goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian. 

What is one lesson from Swetland you will take into your future work? It's so hard to choose just one of the thousands of lessons I've learned during my time here... but, if I have to pick one lesson that I will undoubtedly use in the future is the value of high quality quantitative and qualitative data. I was lucky enough to work with both while at Swetland, which showed me how challenging and rewarding data analysis can be. Therefore, I have a greater understanding and appreciation for the data I see in the published, peer-reviewed nutrition articles that I constantly try to stay up to date on. Also, the value of reusable plastic bags thanks to my sustainability-conscious coworkers!