Jenna Kahwash

Jenna Kahwash

Gaining a public health education provides a unique opportunity to study inequities to be able to best enact change on the community level.

What does public health mean to you?

Public health to me is understanding and working to eliminate health disparities through collaboration across disciplines.

Why did you choose to study public health at WVU?

West Virginia is a unique and beautiful state, and I have always been proud of the strong sense of community here. However, our state has poor health outcomes and faces disproportionate injustices, like much of the Appalachian region. Gaining a public health education provides a unique opportunity to study these inequities to be able to best enact change on the community level.

How have professors or faculty members made an impact on you while at WVU?

I would like to shout out Dr. Claydon for her incredible instruction and support. Her dedication is inspiring, and I have been able to gain valuable experience thanks to her leadership and guidance. Additionally, I have learned so much from Dr. Bhandari, Dr. Davis and Mohini Chatterji, and I know that I will carry their lessons with me in whatever I do in the future. All these instructors worked so hard to create fun, safe and engaging learning environments, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Tell us about your internship and field placement experiences.

I completed an internship over the summer at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in the Division of STD, HIV, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis in the Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services, which is part of the Bureau for Public Health. I created educational materials tailored to different types of healthcare workers and developed guidelines for the management of various health conditions in pregnancy. Through this experience, I was able to see firsthand how my coursework has prepared me for a career.

I completed my field placement experience at the WVU Health Affairs Institute, where I was able to gain first-hand experience with data collection, analyses and dissemination.

What would you tell prospective students about WVU and the School of Public Health?

I would tell prospective students about how supportive and encouraging the faculty and staff are in the School of Public Health, as well as the community of students and alumni.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

I would advise my freshman self to google "public health."

How have your experiences in the School of Public Health helped prepare you for your future?

I have been able to gain practical experience both in and out of the classroom, making me confident in my ability to succeed in the future.

What do you plan to do upon completion of your degree?

I plan to gain more work experience before pursuing a Master of Public Health degree.

What is your favorite book?

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney

What is your favorite TV series?


What is your favorite music artist?

I have been listening to SZA’s new album nonstop.

What is a favorite place you’ve visited?

Lebanon – I love the beautiful nature, amazing food and visiting family.

What is your favorite local restaurant and hangout spot?

Ogawa has great food. I recommend the Arboretum for a quick hike close to campus!

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not doing schoolwork?

Get boba.