Overall, the School of Public Health is an amazing school with great faculty and endless opportunities.
What does public health mean to you?
Public health means ensuring the safety and well-being of the public and the communities in which they live.
Why did you choose to study Public Health at WVU?
I chose to study public health at WVU because I have a desire to help those who need it most. I want to be a part of making sure it happens.
What does it mean to you to be a first-generation college student?
Being a first-gen college student means being adaptable and willing to not know everything. Personally, I prefer to have major stepping stones planned out far in advance, but I have learned that I will not know everything and that is okay! My experiences have allowed me to become more adaptable and willing to receive more help and guidance from others.
How has being first-gen affected your college experience?
Being a first-gen student has created hurdles that students can not only overcome, but they also can benefit from them. Being a first-gen means that you are needing to figure out things without great assistance from your parents and that is okay! There are plenty of resources available to all students to assist them with any issues that may surface. I have found that any problems that arise can be overcome. When you join the School of Public Health at West Virginia University, you are joining a family that is here to help you be successful in any path that you wish to take. Mountaineers are never alone!
Have any particular faculty members made an impact on you while at WVU?
Dr. Claydon has made an incredible impact on my education here at West Virginia University. Even though I am intending on pursuing a degree in epidemiology, she has served as a great mentor in general student life and in research. She is very kind and caring for her students and wants the best for everyone. If you do not get a chance to have her in class, be sure to look into her research. She makes a wonderful impact for the population that she focuses on.
What would you tell future students about WVU and the School of Public Health?
The School of Public Health has amazing faculty with many opportunities. The faculty are both very knowledgeable in their fields and caring for their students. They have a desire to see each of their students to succeed. The School also provides opportunities such as research, where professors will allow you to take part in their projects. Overall, the School of Public Health is an amazing school with great faculty and endless opportunities.
As a first-gen student, what advice do you have for future first-gen students?
Get involved in a student organization on campus – whether that is marching band, a sport or even a book club. I believe that joining these groups will allow you to continue to grow your network and Mountaineer family. It can provide you with a sense of meaning and give you a group of people who are willing to help you through your issues. Also, never forget that faculty have your success in mind. As a first-gen student looking to obtain a master's and doctoral degree, I understand the stress and pressure that comes with it. Just know that no problem is too large and that there are resources here to help you. Never hesitate to reach out to faculty or other first-gen students to receive help on these things. Also, remember that is okay not to know what is going on. This is only another step in your path to greatness!
How have your experiences in the School of Public Health helped prepare you for your future?
I have been heavily involved with learning as much as possible about research. Coming into a big university I felt that it could be difficult to get research experience early in my education. However, I have come to find out that if you enjoy a particular class or professor there are research opportunities if you want to participate. I believe that the material I learn in class and learn through research has prepared me to continue my education into a graduate degree.
What would you tell your freshman self?
My advice would be to not stress over smaller things. Being a student can be stressful, especially when you think you do not have it all figured out. There are many amazing faculty at WVU who love nothing more than to help students. Taking care of your mental health is a key part of making the most out of your education.
What's your favorite ...
- Book: The Great Influenza
- TV series and movie: Prison Break and Contagion
- Music genre and/or artist: Classic Rock (70s and 80s)
- Place you’ve visited: Grand Canyon - I love to visit places that I have never been to and I can say that pictures will never capture the awe that the Grand Canyon brings.
- Local restaurant and/or hangout spot: I like to hang out at Cooper’s Rock and take in the scenery.
- Thing to do when you’re not doing schoolwork: I like to go walking and/or hiking.
What are some activities you're involved with at WVU?
I am a member of the West Virginia University Marching Band where I can say that I have a family that works hard to create something that both we and the fans love and enjoy. Also, I am a member of the Student Association of Public Health (SAPH), which is an active group within the School of Public Health that performs service and other community activities. I am beyond pleased with my decision to attend the School of Public Health at WVU. I knew after my first visit, that I had found my home among the hills.
What do you plan to do after completion of your degree?
Once I complete my bachelor’s degree in public health, I plan on applying for a master’s program in epidemiology to ultimately pursue a PhD in Epidemiology.