Colton Sanders

Colton Sanders

Make the most of all that WVU offers you. Many options exist for student involvement, it would nearly be impossible not to discover something that brings someone enjoyment and a sense of belonging.

How would you describe public health?

Public health to me is about promoting health while preventing diseases before they happen at a population level, and when you cannot prevent a certain illness doing everything you can to contain it.

When did you know that you wanted to study public health?

I have always been drawn to anything health-related growing up. My mother has spent many years working for WVU Medicine, so I have always been exposed to the healthcare field. In the time I spent away from school, I involved myself in a variety of activities, using the opportunity to explore different interests and pinpoint what truly motivates me. While browsing through the majors available at WVU, the public health section immediately caught my attention, igniting a strong interest within me. And so, from that point onward, my journey into the world of public health began.

Why did you choose WVU for your education?

I was born and raised in Morgantown so I will always have a special place for the state and university in my heart. Attending this university will give me a greater sense of belonging once I graduate and join the long list of distinguished alumni.

Who at WVU has had the biggest impact on your college experience?

It is difficult to choose a specific person who has helped me more than another because I have had so many influential and intelligent professors on my journey who have given me invaluable knowledge about public health subjects. But Elizabeth Claydon has been a great influence. She is very knowledgeable, helpful and kind and will always be willing to help you no matter what the issue may be.

What did you learn during your field placement experience?

During my field experience, I actively engaged with the Regional Transition Navigator Services (RTNS) program offered by the Center for Excellence in Disabilities. This specific initiative aims to bolster support statewide for at-risk youth and young adults aged 14-25.

Through their comprehensive approach, they equip individuals who either experience or face potential serious emotional disturbance, mental illness or substance use disorders, providing them with vital information along with training resources. I have explored numerous state-operating agencies: the Children's Home Society; NECCO and Coalition to End Homelessness, among countless others. Through my efforts I connected clients with a diverse range of services. I helped them find employment, housing and transportation accessibility as well as food or clothing resources.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I finish my studies, my goal is to work as a patient navigator in a hospital system within the state or out of state. I hope to propose a grant for funding a new project similar to Regional Transition Navigator Services in a rural area with many young individuals in foster care living arrangements. This way we can offer help to those facing various challenges.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

Get involved: join clubs, attend sporting events, go to job fairs, watch plays and music performances. Make the most of all that WVU offers you. Four years have flown by and I have a sense of regret and wish I had taken my own advice and been more involved with the university. Many different options exist for student involvement, it would nearly be impossible not to discover something that brings someone enjoyment and a sense of belonging.

What will you always remember from your time at WVU?

I will always have great memories of all the beautiful and unique people I have had the opportunity to meet along the way. From all my professors to my fellow students, everyone has had an impact on my time at WVU.

Learn More About Colton's Experience