In this week’s interview we meet Alexa Teuscher who graduated from MSc in Public Health in 2021. In our interview, we take a look at current public health issues, Alexa’s love story with Scandinavia and the perfect recipe for banana bread.
Hi Alexa! You graduated from Lund University in 2021, what have you been up to since your graduation?
Hi Maria! It feels like not much has changed, but when I look back, it’s been a lot. I defended my thesis in August 2021 and on September 1, 2021, I was beginning my role as a graduate in 3Shape. I commuted across the bridge as my work is located in Denmark, before buying an apartment in Copenhagen with my boyfriend and moving to the other side of the sound. As restrictions have eased up across the world, I travelled to Norway, Italy, Skåne, and the U.S. (to visit my family). I’m also improving my language skills through Danish lessons, although I’ve been known to accidentally slip in a Swedish word occasionally.
You are currently working as a Graduate at 3Shape in Copenhagen, what does a normal day look like for you?
Every single day is different! The only thing consistent in my workdays is lots of coffee and a 15-minute bike ride to the office. One of the main reasons I joined the Graduate Program at 3Shape is because the program has 3 different rotations over a 2-year period. This means that every 8 months, I join a new team/position to see a different side of the business.
My first rotation was as an Associate Project Manager in Customer Care. Those days were filled with a lot of meetings and stakeholder management. 3Shape has global operations, so it was fun to meet with colleagues from around the world, although time differences could be tricky! I was given my own project to manage from conception to implementation/monitoring, so I was able to learn a ton in my first 8 months.
I am currently in my second rotation as a Junior Product Manager in our TRIOS Team. My days are often still spent in meetings, but I now have the opportunity to visit different dental clinics and see our products in action. You can often find me on a train travelling to a new part of Denmark to gain insights from dentists, researching the dental industry, or writing and disseminating surveys. I also volunteer with various groups around 3Shape, so some days I might be working with our ESG strategy or planning an upcoming party.
As a public health professional, what areas lie closest to your heart and what are the main challenges that you think should be addressed within the next few years?
Women’s rights, SRHR (Sexual and reproductive health and rights), and mental health are three areas that I’m particularly passionate about within public health. Although we’ve made great strides in these domains in recent years, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Maternal mortality is one area in which I think global inequities are extremely prominent. The prevalence of maternal mortality is highest for adolescent women in low-income countries. While medical advancements have been helpful to reduce maternal mortality, I believe that providing opportunities and education for girls can set a foundation for bodily and cognitive autonomy. Empowering women to make their own choices, regardless of their circumstances, is one way to tackle a host of the public health issues we see today.
Regarding mental health, numerous studies have shown the negative impacts of social media on our well-being. Social media and its influence on daily life is a more recent development, and we’ve been slow to implement policies to mitigate these harmful impacts. As public health professionals, I believe we could be doing a lot more in this area.
How has your time as a student in Sweden influenced your life?
My time as a student at Lund University definitely changed my life for the better. As I’m now living and working in Denmark, it’s clear that my time in Sweden started my love affair with Scandinavia.
Coming from Colorado, where we have over 300 days of sunshine a year, my time in Sweden made me more appreciative of the sunny days I used to take for granted! Whenever we get a sunny day in the winter, I will take a mid-afternoon walk to get my vitamin D; I’ve found that this has also been great for my mental health. Lund University is also extremely international, which allowed me to form close bonds and broaden my perspective with a culturally diverse set of peers. No matter where I travel in the world, it’s likely I’ll have a friend from LU not too far away.
The teaching style at LU was also quite different from what I was used to in the U.S. Critical thinking and independence seem to be highly valued in Swedish higher education and improving these skills has been immensely helpful in my current career. My time at LU also allowed me to have a better outlook on my work-life balance, which means I’m better able to mitigate daily stressors.
As we all know; health is closely connected to what we eat. So, here are two food related questions for you:
If you could eat only one item of food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
I used to live in Texas, where we had amazing Mexican food. Despite being somewhat hard to find in Scandinavia, I will never get tired of a good taco.
What is something you are great at cooking?
I began baking before I began cooking and I always receive compliments on my banana bread. So that you too can receive compliments, here is the recipe I always use (I recommend swirling in Nutella or chocolate chips).