At the core of Jaime Arthur’s calling is strengthening families—her own, those in her community, and anyone else's she can reach.
Arthur was born in the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, on the outskirts of a small, rural community. She was raised by her mother, grandparents, and other extended family members, and learned firsthand the importance of familial support and guidance.
“My grandparents always told me they had big dreams for me,” she says, “and I plan on achieving those dreams for them and my children."
Arthur is currently working toward her Executive Master of Public Health in Public Health Administration and Policy degree, a primarily online program offered through the School of Public Health.
“I was the first in my family to go to college,” Arthur, who holds a BS in family and human development, says. “And I will be the first in my family to earn a graduate degree.”
Focus and Determination
On top of being a mother of two, Arthur also works full-time as a prevention administrator at Gila River Health Care (GRHC), overseeing grant-funded programs for early childhood education and suicide and substance use prevention.
“The decision to pursue an advanced degree was exciting and rejuvenating,” she says. To balance family, work, and school, an online degree seemed to make sense. She acknowledges that her journey could not have happened without the support of her husband and children.
“The online program provides me the freedom to go to school and maintain my life from the comfort of my home. I chose the Executive PHAP program because I was interested in gaining a broad perspective of mental health concerns and illnesses and how to address them from a public health standpoint.”
She has already applied what she learned through her coursework to her role at GRHC. “It has been amazing for my work to be able to learn more about how children, families, and people develop and interact with one another.”
Arthur will likely finish the program in a total of about 2½ years. If all goes as planned, she will graduate the same month her oldest daughter graduates from high school and her youngest daughter transitions from middle school to high school.
A self-proclaimed “compassionate, strong-willed, independent, responsible, funny, friendly Navajo woman,” she hopes to “be an advocate for the American Indian population and change or create policies that promote mental health wellness and suicide prevention.”
“I treasure the moments when people have expressed comfort in learning more about these challenging topics and want to help others,” she adds.
“My advice to students is to realize that the online program requires prioritizing, managing your time, and knowing your study habits.
Make friends with the people in your class and communicate with your professors. They cannot support you if they don’t know what is happening in your life.
This program is a lot work. Sometimes I struggle to balance my job and family, so I get creative with my study schedule. For example, to get my kids out of the house, I’ll take them to the movies while I go to Panera to do homework. I also plan for meals, work events, evening school events, and going to the gym.
When the semester started, I merged my class schedule with my job and personal schedule to be able to fulfill my many responsibilities. It can get a little wild sometimes, but always remember to make time for self-care and family. You can’t do anything well if you or your family are not healthy or have unmet needs.”
Read more about our other online programs at online.umn.edu.