Missouri State University
Karishma Agarwal

Karishma Agarwal

  • Clinic and Community Services Manager, Burrell Behavioral Health
  • Springfield, Missouri
  • MS, public health, 2017

Physician from Nepal found new future in MSU’s Public Health program

You don’t meet students like Karishma Agarwal every day.

Agarwal was raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, and was a physician before she decided to come to America to pursue a master’s degree in public health.

“I have always been passionate about public health,” she said. “Even as a medical student, I  knew I was going to get a degree in public health. I became sure about it while I was working in Nepal at a private hospital as a health care executive. In this role, I felt I was making a bigger impact on people's lives than I ever did practicing as a physician.”

Becoming a Bear

Karishma wearing commencement cap and gown.

Agarwal discovered Missouri State’s Master’s of Public Health online. She wanted to live in Missouri to be close to her sister who lives in Springfield.

“I applied to a lot of schools in Missouri and ended up choosing Missouri State after reviewing the courses they offered. My decision was solidified after exchanging a few emails with the program director, Dr. David Claborn. It sounded like a great fit for me,” Agarwal said.

“The project that I worked on as an intern helped me abundantly in my first job right after graduation.”

She was a graduate assistant and interned at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in the Maternal and Child Health Services division.

“During my internship, I had the opportunity to apply several concepts that I learned in my program,” she said. “The project that I worked on as an intern helped me abundantly in my first job right after graduation.”

Despite being in a new country, Agarwal found Missouri State welcoming and loved the program.

Her advisor worked with Agarwal to sign up for electives based on her needs and interests.

Agarwal enjoyed the variety of classes – her favorite being international health. When she was in class, there happened to be seven international students and they all shared their perspectives on health care in their home countries.

The professors were friendly, approachable and always willing to advise and guide her. They were experts in their field, she said.

'I feel more confident in myself and my skills'

Agarwal graduated in December 2017 and is fulfilling her dream of working in public health.

“I recently landed a job with Burrell Behavioral Health as the Clinic and Community Services Manager and I am so grateful to all my professors who mentored me and prepared me for this challenging role,” Agarwal said. “With the experience I gained as a student, and having the additional opportunities to be involved in a lot of research with my advisor, I feel more confident in myself and my skills.”