I feel prepared for my future thanks to the knowledge gained and experiences that I have had so far, which will ultimately lead me to finding a career I love.
What does public health mean to you?
To me, public health really defines the world around us. Aspects of public health can truly found be in almost anything and anywhere you go. It is something that I believe can always be improved. Public health in general can make such a large impact on people where they work, live, and play. It also provides us with the knowledge and capabilities to make sure that we are protecting the health of communities and striving for equality.
Why did you choose to study public health at WVU?
I knew that the Master of Public Health program here at West Virginia University would be the right fit for me because the program is specialized into specific majors. I knew that I would be able to fit right in and feel as though I was right where I was supposed to be. Overall, I am really enjoying the program so far!
Have you had any particular professors or faculty members who have made an impact on you while at WVU? If so, how?
All of the professors are really knowledgeable about the field and have been wonderful to learn from. I would say in particular, Dr. Davidov and Dr. Kristjansson were very helpful in challenging us students to think outside the box and also giving real life, practical examples that related to the coursework. This made an impact because it was their teaching which allowed me to think creatively in ways I may not have been able to before.
Tell us about your field placement experience or other hands-on experiences.
My field placement experience for my MPH practicum was at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department. It was really interesting to be in a space which lives and breathes public health. I spent most of my time working on the reaccreditation process for the health department, but I also spent time looking at data and different ways the health department can improve it's accessibility and so on. In addition, I was able to work with and see how other sub-departments work and run on a daily basis, such as the Environmental and Epidemiology departments. I would also spend time learning about the Sanitation department and public health inspections. Overall, it was definitely an interesting place to grow and learn.
What would you tell prospective students about WVU and the School of Public Health?
I would tell students that there is so much to learn in this program. It has really shown me how I can make a difference. I like that I am learning about real-life issues and topics. Learning about communities, education, resources, racism, and poverty, and how it all plays a role into public health has been so interesting to me.
What advice would you give to your freshman self?
Some advice I would give to my freshman self is that you will figure it out! Everyone's journey is different and don't feel like you should compare your journey to everyone else's. You will find what works best for you in the long run! I would also say that you should really follow the motto, "work hard, play hard". Work hard at school and in equal parts enjoy your time with family and friends.
How have your experiences in the School of Public Health helped prepare you for your future?
I feel prepared for my future thanks to the knowledge gained and experiences that I have had so far—which I've come to realize can be applied to both my professional and personal life and will ultimately lead me to finding a career I love.
Any additional involvement in activities or comments about the program?
I worked as a research assistant for one year on a project titled "Genetic Services in Appalachia" for a professor who currently works in the School of Pharmacy. So I would say to reach out to programs and assistantships that pique your interest. I loved working as the RA for this project because of its relevance to public health. The project covered genetic services that have been limited in rural Appalachia and various discussions were held on different models which are needed to improve and provide healthcare accessibility and genetic services to these areas of need.
What is your favorite book?
"Ugly Love" by Colleen Hoover.
What is your favorite movie or TV series?
"The Proposal" and "Stranger Things."
What is your favorite music artist?
What is your favorite place to visit?
Greece! The views and scenery were amazing.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Mountaineer Roasting Company or Almost Heaven Coffee Shop!
What is your favorite thing to do when you're not doing schoolwork?
Reading, traveling, spending time with family or going on walks.