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Department of Public Policy Leadership
University of Mississippi

Katherine SistrunkKatherine Sistrunk

Medical Intensive Care Unit Nurse, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital 

Hometown: Springfield, Missouri
Public Policy Leadership ’19
Minors in Spanish and Society & Health
LinkedIn Profile 

Katherine Sistrunk’s experiences since graduation demonstrate how the leadership skills and the spirit of public service carry forward in many different occupations.  

She attended a Master’s Entry into Nursing program at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.  While there, she became President of the Student Nurses’ Association, participated in the Helene Fuld Leadership Program, was co-chair of Elections for the Nursing Public Health Network. She co-founded VaxNow, a start-up using apps and a website to help remind users to schedule vaccinations and simplify the process of scheduling the vaccination appointment. She received the Emma Jones Beckwith Cullen award for the highest standards of nursing practice and executive ability, the Innovation award for improving the School of Nursing community in a transformational way, and the caRING award for leadership activities that impacted the community.    

Katherine discusses her time at UM and how she used the Public Policy Leadership program to prepare for her career goal in the healthcare field. 

Growing up in a family of Ole Miss graduates, I knew from a young age that I wanted to attend the University of Mississippi. Ole Miss felt like a home away from home and provided so many unique opportunities to pursue as a student.  

One of those opportunities was majoring in Public Policy Leadership within the Trent Lott Leadership Institute. Going into college, I wasn’t really sure on which educational path I would pursue. So, I did some research and came across the PPL major. I was instantly interested.  

This major is unique in that it allows students to learn various aspects of policy and decide which career path most interests them. This major is not just for people who are interested in going to law school or pursuing political careers- it hosts students who become accountants, engineers, physicians, nurses and teachers, along with many others, who all hold the unique skill of understanding policy and who become leaders in their fields. The Lott Institute supported me greatly throughout my four years as a student, sending me on a study abroad trip to China, allowing me to intern in Washington, D.C., and advising me through my undergraduate honors thesis entitled, Hit Me with your Best Shot: A Critical Analysis of the Resistance to Vaccine Utilization.  

While at Ole Miss, I was a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, a leader within the Associated Student Body, an Orientation Leader, a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority, and was honored to be awarded Phi Beta Kappa alongside my brother and sister.  

In the summer of 2017, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be a public policy intern at the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) in Alexandria, Virginia. I learned much more than I could have ever imagined during my time at AMGA, and thanks to this internship, I discovered my love for health policy and passion to advocate for healthcare, solidifying my goal to enter into the health care field as a nurse and to attend nursing school upon graduation. 

Thanks to my educational journey and various opportunities I had at Ole Miss and in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, I pursued my Maters of Science in Nursing at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. At Hopkins, I serve as my Cohort’s Class Director in the Student Nurses Association, the Co-Chair of Elections in the Nursing Public Health Network, and I was selected to be a Fuld Fellow, a leadership program that focuses on improving patient safety and quality of care. Additionally, I was selected to attend the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. in March as well as the National Student Nurses’ Association’s conference in Orlando, Florida. I also enjoyed participating in MedHacks, a medical hackathon and design competition where my team worked to develop an immunization scheduling app called VaxNow that we are continuing to work on through the next year.”