Posted on April 2, 2024 by Shaca Sweet

Michael Segovia, a 2023 graduate of the public health program at UTSA, has recently earned a National Institutes of Health (NIH) supplement. He will use this award to support a post-baccalaureate fellowship at Penn State University. 

 Segovia discovered the opportunity thanks to a fellow UTSA graduate, Alexis Santos. "I attended and met Dr. Alexis Santos at the 2023 Southern Demographic Association (SDA), and he said he needed a post-doc grad to assist with the research,” Segovia said.

michael_segovia.jpg  Although he has not yet applied to be a student at Penn State, Segovia has recently settled into his new place and will first apply as a non-degree seeking student. Segovia will be conducting research related to Santos’ Parent Grant, which focuses on the interaction between rural/urban residential contexts and state-level policies for mid-age adults. The research also includes reviewing and evaluating whether the Medicaid expansion impacted the rural mortality penalty, emphasizing the overall population, and disparities by sex and race/ethnicity. Additionally, exploring whether the COVID-19 pandemic impacted rural/urban mortality dynamics based on state-level adoption of the expansion of Medicaid by 2020.” While he works with Santos, he plans to pursue an undergraduate certificate in diversity studies. He will transition to a Ph.D. program upon completion of the fellowship. 

 Segovia chose to attend UTSA because he was born and raised in San Antonio, and it was an affordable option for him. As a 2023 graduate, he believed his choice to enroll in the public health program came at the perfect time to experience the HCAP curriculum. Segovia believes there is great support for HCAP, and that the college is providing more opportunities for field professionals to engage with graduates. He credits the connections made with professors and mentors at UTSA that were able to connect him with Penn State. 

 Segovia’s advice to students considering pursuing a Ph.D. is to form connections with professors and find mentors in your department or college that could be resourceful and contribute to your interests. He was mentored at UTSA by Johnelle Sparks, professor of applied demography, and they have published one paper together already; with another one on the way.   

 “My mentor assisted me with my plan to go into research in academia, taught me how to research, code and gave me writing experience.” 

 Segovia is grateful and excited about the upcoming journey as he gets ready to embark on the pursuit of his Ph.D.  

 “UTSA is growing expediently, and it continues to prepare students to expand their horizons,” he said. It’s set me up to do very well here.” 



— Shaca Sweet