Frequently Asked Questions

Our Dean's Ambassadors answer some of your frequently asked questions about our graduate programs.

What types of hands-on experiences are offered?

Brenna Kirk: Even as a graduate student, there are plenty of opportunities to get hands-on experience. For example, one way would be in your classes. I'm taking a program evaluation course this semester with Dr. Abildso and we're actually getting the opportunity to create an evaluation plan for a health program, a real client, a real program in the community. And there are other opportunities, like when you do your research rotations. Then, there are plenty of opportunities, not just within the School, but at WVU that you have access to. For example, I'm part of the Rural Communities Health Scholars program that's directed by the West Virginia AHEC. This program gave me the opportunity to travel and explore some of the rural communities across the state and be able to see what local health agencies are doing in those areas to combat different health issues.

Miranda Aman: The WVU School of Public Health at the graduate level offers a ton of hands-on experience, both inside the class and out. Some in-class experience I've had was a class last semester that had a total of five labs. In one of the labs, we went to our Health Sciences parking garage and we got to measure the blind spots at night. Some out-of-class experience that we all get is after our first year, we all have a summer practicum in which we get an internship that's approved by the School.

Are there opportunities to collaborate with other Schools/Colleges?

Chrissy Donahue: Yes, you can collaborate with other schools. I've worked as a student employee in the Nutrition Department within the School of Agriculture. I helped out with the statistics and study design portions of a clinical trial that had to do with high blood pressure and ramps, which is a local Appalachian food. And this semester I'm working with students from the Reed College of Media to create and disseminate information about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as HPV.

WVU is a big school, will I get personalized attention?

Sarah Sisson: You absolutely get personalized attention at WVU. This was one of my concerns coming from a smaller institution. However, I found that the staff and faculty were so willing to sit down and talk to me about my classwork, job opportunities, even just things going on in my personal life. They're always willing to help you take that next step.

Why did you choose public health?

Allison McCracken: I chose health policy, management and leadership to be an advocate for health in the state of West Virginia for my fellow West Virginians.

Chrissy: I chose my major in biostatistics and public health in general because public health combines all of my interests and I like that I can really do anything with it. I'm not confined to one area or a research topic, and I really liked that.

Sarah:  I chose public health because I realized I wasn't ready for the clinical world and it wasn't really something that interested me anymore. But this was a way that I could use my knowledge from the health care world and the clinical aspect and merge it with things that really affect the community at large and how I can continue to stay in the health care industry.

Are your classmates, faculty and others in the School helpful?

Allison: In the School of Public Health, there's this awesome lady, her name is Leah and she is one of the advisers for the MPH program. She has kept me on track for graduating and just making sure that I'm doing all the things that I need to do to graduate on time.

Brenna: Another great thing about the program here at WVU is just the overall sense of community and really that family kind of atmosphere that there is not only with students that you may come to know in your cohort, but also with faculty and staff. Everyone is just incredibly supportive.

Miranda: The relationship that has pushed me to be my best throughout my public health journey has been my professor, Dr. McCawley. He is the one who actually taught my very first public health course when I was in my undergrad, and now is continuing to teach me in my graduate life. He is a brilliant, yet intimidating, man who has also helped me get internship opportunities. He has given me many a book recommendation. He is everything that a public health leader should want to be and watching him while I was going through my own journey was an incredible mentor and someone who I cherish in this public health community that we have.