Mai Mai Cantos, MPH

Director of Strategic Initiatives

First day of work at San Jose State University

February 1, 2021

How did you get here? 

An alum of SJSU myself, I completed my Master of Public Health and spent 14 years as a Lecturer in the Health Science and Recreation Department. I was a part-time lecturer at SJSU while working for Santa Clara County Health and Hospital System and the local community clinics. For many years as Vice President of Health Career Connection, I worked to connect and provide opportunities for future health professionals and leaders. Prior to returning to SJSU, I was the Director of Pre-Collegiate Programs at Stanford University.

Who were your role models or mentors?

My parents were my first role models. They taught me about sacrifice, perseverance, and generosity. My mentors were actually my professors, now retired, and my cohort in the Master in Public Health Program at SJSU in what is now the department of Public Health and Recreation. From them, I learned about community health, inclusivity, humility, representation, teamwork, and I also learned about work-life integration. Thank you Dr. Kathleen Roe and Dr. Dan Perales.

What are your tips for getting started in this field?

Start with volunteer opportunities and internships. During these experiences, watch and learn from the people who are passionate about their work. Ask questions about their trajectory to help you ask the same questions of yourself. The answers will help you determine if this is what you want to do. Lastly, stay connected to your supervisors in these experiences, they may continue to have more opportunities and you want them to think of you.  

What are your most important habit(s) or resource(s) for staying well?

Hydrating and finding opportunities to add movement into my life.
Scheduling time to recharge especially with my family and others important in my life.