Mackenzie Kaminski

Mackenzie Kaminski

WVU and the School of Public Health offer an amazing academic environment and numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth.

What does public health mean to you?

Public health to me is the dedicated commitment to improving not only an individual's health but also the health of large populations. 

Why did you choose to study public health at WVU?

Originally a forensics major, I became interested in switching my major to public health after gaining insights into the field through my job at a local health department during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was solidified through discussions with faculty members about what the program had to offer. The sense of community within the public health program was something that I had never experienced before. Reflecting on my academic journey, this decision shaped who I am today and is one of my greatest and proudest decisions. 

Tell us about your field placement experience.

For my field placement, I had the opportunity to intern with the Monongalia County Health Department and the Threat Preparedness Team. This experience provided invaluable insights into the real world of public health and its challenges. 

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

The School of Public Health has equipped me with a solid foundation in public health knowledge and skills. Engaging in various classes solidified my decision to pursue a career in public health. Each class fueled my excitement. The professors created a dynamic learning environment where participation was not just encouraged but genuinely enjoyed. 

What do you plan to do after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school in August to obtain my master's in public health or doctorate in epidemiology with a focus on infectious disease research, emphasizing injection drug use and outbreak investigation. Before that, I will be returning to Ohio to resume my current virtual job and work in the office full-time for a local health department as the emergency preparedness coordinator and public information officer. 

Have any members of the faculty or staff influenced you in a unique way? 

Several faculty members have significantly impacted my academic journey. Dr. Gross ignited my interest in global public health and outbreak investigation. Dr. Quinn provided a solid foundation in my first epidemiology class, and Dr. Claydon's writing course enhanced my communication skills when speaking to public health audiences - a skill that I use daily as a public information officer. Additionally, Dr. Bhandari's guidance in Intro to Modern Epidemiological Methods provided me with a strong understanding of my chosen path in epidemiological research. On the administrative side, Scot McIntosh and Audra Hamrick have guided me through important decisions, without whom I wouldn't be graduating this semester. I am immensely grateful to everyone at the School of Public Health. 

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

I would tell prospective students to be open and willing to see what different fields of public health have to offer. WVU and the School of Public Health offer an amazing academic environment and numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. Embrace the chance to learn from experienced faculty and engage yourself in campus events! Many of my experiences came through networking at School of Public Health events.

Any additional involvement in activities or comments about the program?

I participated in the Student Association of Public Health. This involvement provided a platform for public health students to network, collaborate and understand public health more deeply.