Crystal Rose Schulz
’07 BS Nutrition, ’10 MA Public Health
School of Public Health Alumna of the Year
Crystal Rose Schulz is a mortgage broker who dabbles in real estate investing. It’s a career track that doesn’t exactly scream “passionate public health advocate” — yet that’s precisely what she is.
Look no further than the Crystal Rose Schulz Healthy Homes and Public Health initiative. The first-of-its-kind program provides funding and support on multiple levels, all designed to improve the wellbeing of Southern Nevada’s citizens from a housing perspective.
Among other things, Schulz’s initiative:
- Funds the Healthy Homes Training and Certification program for up to 100 Realtors
- Supports the ongoing operation of Clark County’s Landlord Tennant Hotline
- Provides financial assistance in the form of grants, internships, and/or stipends for UNLV School of Public Health students interested in conducting healthy housing research
Additionally, the program provides resources for investigations into elevated blood lead levels in Southern Nevada’s high-risk populations — a vital community health issue that the UNLV School of Public Health graduate says needs more attention.
“Nevada is one of the lowest screened states for blood lead levels,” she says. “Lead poisoning prevention and detection is one of the most readily available and easiest interventions we can do to help all Nevadans reach their full potential.”
Beyond the time and effort she spent putting together her public health-focused philanthropic initiative, Schulz also supports her community and her alma mater on additional fronts: She serves as treasurer for the local chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors, which aids in the advancement of women in the real estate field; she volunteers with the Las Vegas Realtors Community Outreach Committee of the Las Vegas Realtors; and she serves on the UNLV Graduate College’s financial wellness advisory board.
This tireless devotion to the Southern Nevada community becomes all the more admirable when realizing Schulz isn’t a native. In fact, she grew up in the Midwest and took a flier on UNLV after just one temperate December visit to Las Vegas.
“When looking at colleges, I applied to UNLV and was accepted. But at that point, I had never been to Las Vegas,” she says. “I had heard stories of the wild West and had a vision in my head from movies but didn’t really know what to expect. When I finally came to visit the campus in December 2005, it was 60 degrees as the sun was setting. As the cotton candy sky gave way to the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, I knew I was home.”
What was your intended career path when you arrived at UNLV?
It was fluid. I started with nursing, which I quickly realized wasn’t for me. I went back to my original plan of studying nutrition, then went into fitness, health, and back to nutrition. At one point during my undergraduate studies, I aspired to do pharmaceutical sales. But after going to work for WIC [a national, federally funded nutrition program for women, infants and children], I knew I wanted to pursue public health further, especially in Southern Nevada.
During my graduate program I enrolled in the federally sponsored Healthy Homes program, which specifically addresses multiple childhood diseases and injuries in the home. This resonated with what I had seen when managing the WIC clinics that were housed in the local projects and low-income areas, as well as what we knew about Nevada’s statistics. Everything started to click — my hands-on experience, education, and this training program.
Also, as a public health graduate student, I completed a term of service with AmeriCorps, which is similar to the Peace Corps but based solely in the U.S. That experience proved enlightening as I studied school-based health care centers and the impacts of onsite care and immunizations.
How did you end up in your current role as a loan officer?
After completing my master’s, I had my daughter and took a fundraising and programming job with a private health-related nonprofit. Working in the nonprofit field, I was putting in 60-plus hours a week but getting very little out of it. I was unfulfilled and needed something new. So I trusted in myself and my work ethic and went out on my own as a loan officer.
I did leave behind a solid, stable career, but the risk was well worth the reward. In fact, moving into this career has allowed me to combine two of my biggest passions: Helping others realize the dream of homeownership, which can be life changing and is the pathway to wealth and stability; and positively impacting my community through a public health initiative that will improve the lives of a critically underserved population.
In the end, I had faith in myself and God to lead me in the right direction. I’m grateful that I made that decision because I’m exactly where I want to be.
What inspired you to create the Crystal Schulz Healthy Homes and Public Health Initiative?
I actually was inspired by a past landlord. Prior to becoming a homeowner, I found black mold under my sink. Unlike most renters, I was armed with information about real estate (because of my work as a loan officer) and the risks of black mold (thanks to my previous studies). So I knew it was a huge problem and certainly wasn’t my fault or responsibility to fix it.
While this happened many years ago, the experience was front of mind as my partnership with UNLV got stronger and I decided I wanted to give back on a bigger level. I knew I wanted it to relate to public health, and we all know that home is where the heart is. So that’s where my focus went.
The Healthy Homes initiative was designed based on the community’s need for renter’s assistance and the need for collaboration between real estate and public health professionals. Through this program, local Realtors will learn how to identify environmental housing risks, and that knowledge ultimately will have a huge positive impact on the community.
UNLV is located in one of the world’s most dynamic, diverse, and innovative cities. How have you been able to leverage that benefit in your life and career?
My favorite part of our city is its diversity. I am fascinated by other cultures and believe that we thrive on learning from them. As a student, I was surrounded by students, teachers and cohorts from around the world, and I’m better for that experience.
I am still in contact with many of my UNLV cohorts—in fact, I have helped more than a dozen achieve homeownership, and I offer a special deal for my fellow Rebels.
How did your experiences as a Rebel — both in an out of the classroom — help you “make it happen” in your career?
During my time at UNLV, I was forced to grow up and be a self-starter. If we wanted something to happen we had to create it — we had to find it or make it happen. I am always excited when I meet fellow Rebels, because I know there’s a good chance they possess one of the qualities I cherish: a tenacity to get the job done, no matter what it takes.
UNLV also taught me that collaboration is the key to making things happen. That’s why I’m so excited about the collaboration that will be sparked by the Crystal Rose Schulz Health Homes and Public Health Initiative. It’s going to bring much-needed valuable public health knowledge to our community’s Realtors — knowledge that I know will make a big difference for countless homeowners.