Back to Meet the Grads

Aubrey Montgomery

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health
School of Public Health
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Patient Navigators (PNs) assist individuals in reducing and eliminating barriers to health care access and in negotiating complex health delivery systems.</span></p>\r\n<h3><span>Field Placement and Community Service</span></h3>\r\n<p>All students complete <a data-udi=\"umb://document/c4208d37b5c747eebb4ac5c377104e8c\" href=\"/students/experiential-learning/\" title=\"Hands-On Learning\">field placement</a> and capstone experiences as their culminating coursework. During their senior year, every undergraduate student is required to complete 75 hours of applied field placement experience in a local or regional agency or institution where they can put their classroom lessons to work. Students in the Patient Navigation area of emphasis will work with health-related agencies experiencing care coordination with patients and providers. All students engage with community partners, gain experience in the workplace and demonstrate acquisition of competencies.</p>\r\n<p><span>In addition to the field placements, all undergraduate students are required to complete a minimum 25 hours of community service before the start of their senior year, documented through <a href=\"https://iserve.wvu.edu/\">iServe</a> in the WVU Office of Service and Learning. Getting involved in the <a href=\"http://publichealth.wvu.edu/saph/\">Student Association of Public Health</a> is also a great way to get connected to service opportunities.</span></p>\r\n<p><span><a data-udi=\"umb://document/1a680bf6a73c4bfa8498859f3ed3b630\" href=\"#\" title=\"Experiential Opportunities\">Explore our list of current opportunities</a>.</span></p>","programSummary":"A Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree engages students in the five core public health disciplines – biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health policy and administration, and social and behavioral sciences.","sidebarLinks":"[{\"name\":\"Student Resources\",\"udi\":\"umb://document/a28b56f737114b6fa9d21956ca677661\"}]","tuition":[{"ItemType":0,"Id":6415,"Key":"d0115178-ab1a-4aab-95ec-da00744afdde","TemplateId":6410,"SortOrder":0,"Name":"Undergraduate 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health advocate\r\nPublic health grant coordinator\r\nCommunity engagement specialist\r\nConsumer safety officer\r\nHealth and wellness manager","programContact":"65076","showAUPHAWidget":false,"potentialEmployers":"Local and regional health departments\r\nState public health agencies\r\nHealthcare providers\r\nGlobal health organizations\r\nCorporate worksite wellness programs\r\nDisaster planning and response agencies\r\nDepartment of Health and Human Resources (DHHR)\r\nManaged care organizations\r\nEducational institutions\r\nSpecial population health programs\r\nWorld Health Organization (WHO)\r\nEnvironmental organizations\r\nHealthy living initiatives\r\nPublic and other health foundations\r\nCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)","applyLink":"[{\"name\":\"Apply Now\",\"udi\":\"umb://document/a92f295981694fcc8beae105241a4745\"}]","RCcatalogLink":"[{\"name\":\"View WVU Catalog for Required 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Students who do not meet direct admit minimum standards, but are interested in pursuing a degree in Public Health, may elect to be admitted into the Pre-Public Health program, if qualified.</p>\r\n<p>WVU students who are undeclared or in other majors may apply to transfer into the Public Health program via a WVU Academic Status Update form once the student meets the transfer guidelines and <span>have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average</span>. External transfer students who have completed undergraduate coursework at another institution of higher education prior to applying to the Public Health major are eligible if they meet the minimum guidelines.</p>","LGcatalogLink":"[{\"name\":\"View WVU Catalog for Learning Goals\",\"url\":\"http://catalog.wvu.edu/undergraduate/schoolofpublichealth/publichealth/#learninggoalstext\"}]","LGText":"<ul>\r\n<li><span>Demonstrate a strong foundation of knowledge about the history, philosophy, core values, concepts and functions of public health in the US and globally. (<em>overview)</em></span></li>\r\n<li><span>Determine appropriate public health processes, approaches and interventions needed to address health-related needs and concerns of specific populations. <em>(population health)</em></span></li>\r\n<li><span>Illustrate how socio-economic, behavioral, biological and environmental factors impact human health, contribute to health disparities and can be affected by promotion and protection programs. (d<em>eterminants of health</em>)</span></li>\r\n<li><span>Communicate public health information to diverse audiences through a variety of mediums. <em>(communication)</em></span></li>\r\n<li><span>Apply evidence-based and ethical approaches to identifying, collecting, using, analyzing and disseminating public health data and information. <em>(information)</em></span></li>\r\n<li><span>Differentiate the basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic and regulatory dimensions of health and how they influence the US health system and public health policy. <em>(policy and US government)</em></span></li>\r\n</ul>","featuredProfile":[]}],"profileHometown":"Cleveland, Ohio","mainContent":"<h2><span>How do you define public health?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I would define public health as the study of preventing disease and promoting good health. To me that means improving the health of members in my community and giving them the resources to do so safely and effectively.<span> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span>When did you know that you wanted to study public health?</span></h2>\r\n<p>At first, I entered the public health program as a way to get to nursing school, but as time went on I realized I did really like public health and that maybe I should be more open to a career in this field. My 'aha' moment happened in 2020 when I was given the opportunity to enter at The MetroHealth System, which is a hospital back home in Cleveland. I was hired as a student intern in their Office of Opioid Safety and fell in love with it right away. I found my passion for addiction and substance abuse support through this opportunity and I’m extremely grateful for such a wonderful experience.</p>\r\n<h2><span>Have you had any particular members of the faculty or staff who made an impact on you while studying at WVU?</span></h2>\r\n<p>Yes, Dr. <a href=\"https://directory.hsc.wvu.edu/Profile/52298\">Lindsay Allen</a> and Dr. <a href=\"https://directory.hsc.wvu.edu/Profile/29041\">Steve Davis</a>. Both made an in impact on me because of how much they cared for their students and our success. They both have been so passionate about doing whatever they can for their students and always have made it clear that they are willing to help us down the line. When I got my internship, I shared the news with Dr. Davis and he was very supportive of me. Over the summer I also stayed in touch and sent him an update on what I was doing while interning, and it was really cool to be able to share that with him because he also works closely with the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. I had Dr. Allen during my fall semester of 2020. Her class was online because of COVID and she really made it feel like we were in person. During my fall semester, I felt like I got the most out of her class. Being able to work together as a class and in groups was a good way for us all to be able to still communicate with each and not feel so alone during the pandemic.</p>\r\n<h2><span>When was a moment you realized public health was the right fit for you?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I didn’t have a specific moment that made me realize public health was for me. Overtime, I just really started to love the program. The more I learned, the more fascinated I was with it and then when I started my internship last summer it was a good reminder that this really is a good fit for me. I always wanted a career in healthcare, and when nursing didn’t work out, this just happened to be the right fit.</p>\r\n<h2><span>What are some unique or interesting experiences you’ve had during your time at WVU?</span></h2>\r\n<p>One interesting experience I had was becoming a member of Phi Sigma Pi. In spring of 2020 I became a member of the fraternity and it was a great way for me to connect with other students and even other people in the public health program.</p>\r\n<h2><span>You’re ending your academic journey during a very unique time in our history. What has been the good and the bad about studying public health during a pandemic and completing your college experience during this time?</span></h2>\r\n<p>Even though there have been a lot of challenges, there have also been some good things to come out of it all. I think the biggest thing is that we were able to use the pandemic as a learning opportunity. We study things like this all the time but to actually watch this unfold in front of us as public health students was a unique learning opportunity. Of course, the pandemic brought a lot of challenges and was overall very sad, but it was also a way for us to apply what we have learned. I remember last February sitting in Dr. <a href=\"https://directory.hsc.wvu.edu/Profile/45176\">Bossarte</a>’s class and watching the movie <em>Contagion</em>. Just a few weeks later, all of the coronavirus stuff started coming out and I couldn’t believe how similar the two things were and that we were about to experience everything we saw in the movie. I think the hardest thing has been not being able to attend class and see my peers during our final semesters. Doing things over Zoom just isn’t the same and it’s hard for people to stay engaged. I also think presenting our capstones over Zoom is a bummer. The experience would be a lot more personal and interesting if we could do it in person but obviously that is not an option right now, so we are making the best of it.<strong><span> </span></strong></p>\r\n<h2><span>Tell us about your field placement experience.</span></h2>\r\n<p>For my capstone project I chose to work with MetroHealth. The hospital is located in Cleveland, Ohio, and serves a large amount of people in the greater Cleveland population. At MetroHealth I am working in the Office of Opioid Safety (OOS). The Office of Opioid Safety offers all different types of tools, education and resources to providers, staff and clients. Additionally, the OOS offers education, training and resources to community organizations, government agencies and educational systems. There are so many programs and services that are offered throughout the office but the main one I am working on is Project DAWN. Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) is a community program focusing on opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution. The mobile unit consists of a syringe exchange, naloxone distribution and access to detox resources. Since starting our program, we have handed out about 130,000 syringes. Working with the Office of Opioid Safety and the Project Dawn team has taught me a lot about the community. The biggest thing I have realized is that there is a lot going on throughout the city that I never knew about. Since working with the team my eyes have really been opened as to how important the services that we offer are to the community. There were also a lot of stereotypes that I quickly learned were not true. For example, a lot of people think that if a person uses opioids, they are a bad person or are dangerous. I quickly came to realize that most of the clients are just like you and me, but they are suffering from an illness (opioid use disorder). I also have realized that the community doesn’t always agree with one another when it comes to helping these individuals, which means that our jobs are more important now than ever because it is our job to advocate for these people and do what we can to keep them safe. I have also been able to assist the Quick Response Team by putting materials together and going out with team on house calls. I also have begun training so that I can start doing HIV and Hepatitis C testing.<span> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span>What do you want to do after graduation?</span></h2>\r\n<p>After graduation, I will be joining the Office of Opioid Safety as full-time team member. My title will be Project Dawn assistant and my responsibilities will mostly consist of everything I have been doing on the mobile unit. We are rolling out a new program called NaloxBox. I will be taking partial lead on this project and working closely with all of the sites were the NaloxBoxes are located. I am very excited about the future and I know I have a lot of room to grow here. I plan on taking a year off from school and then enrolling in either an MPH program or an accelerated nursing program.</p>\r\n<h2><span>What would you tell prospective students about the School of Public Health?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I would tell prospective students that everyone in the School of Public Health is so kind and always willing to help. I think that is an important characteristic that students look for when picking a school or program. I always felt supported throughout my time at WVU. I would also encourage students to try something new. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t know much about public health before I started our program but I’m so happy I did it.</p>\r\n<h2><span>What advice would you give to your freshman self?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I would tell my freshman self a few things. 1.) Work hard from the moment you get on campus. Don’t let everything going on around you distract you. Have fun and experience college but don’t slack on your work. 2.) Your professors and advisers really do want the best for you, so if you need help don’t be afraid to ask. 3.) A lot of changes happen at once so be able to adapt in many different situations.</p>\r\n<h2><span>What will you always remember from your time at WVU?</span></h2>\r\n<p>There are so many things that I will always remember from my four years here at WVU. Spending quality time with my roommates late at night during the week is one of the main things. We always made our best memories during those times.</p>\r\n<h2><span>What do you think is the best tradition at WVU?</span></h2>\r\n<p>My favorite and the best tradition in my opinion is singing Country Roads at the end of football games. There’s something about those moments that’s just so special and really makes a us feel like one big, happy family. I really feel like I’m part of such an awesome community during that time.</p>\r\n<h2><span>Why should someone choose WVU to study public health?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I think prospective students should chose to attend WVU’s School of Public Health because of all the opportunities that are available here. Our school has great research and innovation opportunities and there are so many chances to get experience in the field. I also think our administration is really great and really looks out for the students.</p>\r\n<h2><span>What are you looking forward to most after graduation?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I’m most looking forward to working full time. I’m lucky to have found a job that I truly love so I am excited to jump right in. I’m also excited about being closer to my family again and starting this next chapter of my life.</p>\r\n<h2><span>Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I don’t think there’s much that people would be surprised to know about me. I love to spend time with family and friends. When I’m not working or doing school work, I am usually spending time with my loved ones. Throughout the pandemic I really feel like I worked on bettering my overall health and wellness, so I make sure to include Orange Theory Fitness in my every day routine.</p>"}

My favorite and the best tradition in my opinion is singing Country Roads at the end of football games. I really feel like I’m part of such an awesome community during that time.

How do you define public health?

I would define public health as the study of preventing disease and promoting good health. To me that means improving the health of members in my community and giving them the resources to do so safely and effectively. 

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

At first, I entered the public health program as a way to get to nursing school, but as time went on I realized I did really like public health and that maybe I should be more open to a career in this field. My 'aha' moment happened in 2020 when I was given the opportunity to enter at The MetroHealth System, which is a hospital back home in Cleveland. I was hired as a student intern in their Office of Opioid Safety and fell in love with it right away. I found my passion for addiction and substance abuse support through this opportunity and I’m extremely grateful for such a wonderful experience.

Have you had any particular members of the faculty or staff who made an impact on you while studying at WVU?

Yes, Dr. Lindsay Allen and Dr. Steve Davis. Both made an in impact on me because of how much they cared for their students and our success. They both have been so passionate about doing whatever they can for their students and always have made it clear that they are willing to help us down the line. When I got my internship, I shared the news with Dr. Davis and he was very supportive of me. Over the summer I also stayed in touch and sent him an update on what I was doing while interning, and it was really cool to be able to share that with him because he also works closely with the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. I had Dr. Allen during my fall semester of 2020. Her class was online because of COVID and she really made it feel like we were in person. During my fall semester, I felt like I got the most out of her class. Being able to work together as a class and in groups was a good way for us all to be able to still communicate with each and not feel so alone during the pandemic.

When was a moment you realized public health was the right fit for you?

I didn’t have a specific moment that made me realize public health was for me. Overtime, I just really started to love the program. The more I learned, the more fascinated I was with it and then when I started my internship last summer it was a good reminder that this really is a good fit for me. I always wanted a career in healthcare, and when nursing didn’t work out, this just happened to be the right fit.

What are some unique or interesting experiences you’ve had during your time at WVU?

One interesting experience I had was becoming a member of Phi Sigma Pi. In spring of 2020 I became a member of the fraternity and it was a great way for me to connect with other students and even other people in the public health program.

You’re ending your academic journey during a very unique time in our history. What has been the good and the bad about studying public health during a pandemic and completing your college experience during this time?

Even though there have been a lot of challenges, there have also been some good things to come out of it all. I think the biggest thing is that we were able to use the pandemic as a learning opportunity. We study things like this all the time but to actually watch this unfold in front of us as public health students was a unique learning opportunity. Of course, the pandemic brought a lot of challenges and was overall very sad, but it was also a way for us to apply what we have learned. I remember last February sitting in Dr. Bossarte’s class and watching the movie Contagion. Just a few weeks later, all of the coronavirus stuff started coming out and I couldn’t believe how similar the two things were and that we were about to experience everything we saw in the movie. I think the hardest thing has been not being able to attend class and see my peers during our final semesters. Doing things over Zoom just isn’t the same and it’s hard for people to stay engaged. I also think presenting our capstones over Zoom is a bummer. The experience would be a lot more personal and interesting if we could do it in person but obviously that is not an option right now, so we are making the best of it. 

Tell us about your field placement experience.

For my capstone project I chose to work with MetroHealth. The hospital is located in Cleveland, Ohio, and serves a large amount of people in the greater Cleveland population. At MetroHealth I am working in the Office of Opioid Safety (OOS). The Office of Opioid Safety offers all different types of tools, education and resources to providers, staff and clients. Additionally, the OOS offers education, training and resources to community organizations, government agencies and educational systems. There are so many programs and services that are offered throughout the office but the main one I am working on is Project DAWN. Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) is a community program focusing on opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution. The mobile unit consists of a syringe exchange, naloxone distribution and access to detox resources. Since starting our program, we have handed out about 130,000 syringes. Working with the Office of Opioid Safety and the Project Dawn team has taught me a lot about the community. The biggest thing I have realized is that there is a lot going on throughout the city that I never knew about. Since working with the team my eyes have really been opened as to how important the services that we offer are to the community. There were also a lot of stereotypes that I quickly learned were not true. For example, a lot of people think that if a person uses opioids, they are a bad person or are dangerous. I quickly came to realize that most of the clients are just like you and me, but they are suffering from an illness (opioid use disorder). I also have realized that the community doesn’t always agree with one another when it comes to helping these individuals, which means that our jobs are more important now than ever because it is our job to advocate for these people and do what we can to keep them safe. I have also been able to assist the Quick Response Team by putting materials together and going out with team on house calls. I also have begun training so that I can start doing HIV and Hepatitis C testing. 

What do you want to do after graduation?

After graduation, I will be joining the Office of Opioid Safety as full-time team member. My title will be Project Dawn assistant and my responsibilities will mostly consist of everything I have been doing on the mobile unit. We are rolling out a new program called NaloxBox. I will be taking partial lead on this project and working closely with all of the sites were the NaloxBoxes are located. I am very excited about the future and I know I have a lot of room to grow here. I plan on taking a year off from school and then enrolling in either an MPH program or an accelerated nursing program.

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

I would tell prospective students that everyone in the School of Public Health is so kind and always willing to help. I think that is an important characteristic that students look for when picking a school or program. I always felt supported throughout my time at WVU. I would also encourage students to try something new. Like I mentioned before, I didn’t know much about public health before I started our program but I’m so happy I did it.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

I would tell my freshman self a few things. 1.) Work hard from the moment you get on campus. Don’t let everything going on around you distract you. Have fun and experience college but don’t slack on your work. 2.) Your professors and advisers really do want the best for you, so if you need help don’t be afraid to ask. 3.) A lot of changes happen at once so be able to adapt in many different situations.

What will you always remember from your time at WVU?

There are so many things that I will always remember from my four years here at WVU. Spending quality time with my roommates late at night during the week is one of the main things. We always made our best memories during those times.

What do you think is the best tradition at WVU?

My favorite and the best tradition in my opinion is singing Country Roads at the end of football games. There’s something about those moments that’s just so special and really makes a us feel like one big, happy family. I really feel like I’m part of such an awesome community during that time.

Why should someone choose WVU to study public health?

I think prospective students should chose to attend WVU’s School of Public Health because of all the opportunities that are available here. Our school has great research and innovation opportunities and there are so many chances to get experience in the field. I also think our administration is really great and really looks out for the students.

What are you looking forward to most after graduation?

I’m most looking forward to working full time. I’m lucky to have found a job that I truly love so I am excited to jump right in. I’m also excited about being closer to my family again and starting this next chapter of my life.

Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t think there’s much that people would be surprised to know about me. I love to spend time with family and friends. When I’m not working or doing school work, I am usually spending time with my loved ones. Throughout the pandemic I really feel like I worked on bettering my overall health and wellness, so I make sure to include Orange Theory Fitness in my every day routine.

Let’s go.