{"ItemType":0,"Id":7658,"Key":"ffe07fd6-4b48-458c-ad18-97a6447ed912","TemplateId":5711,"SortOrder":2,"Name":"Grace Atkinson","DocumentTypeAlias":"studentProfilePage","DocumentTypeId":5688,"WriterName":"jscott16","CreatorName":"jwilmot1","WriterId":60,"CreatorId":56,"Path":"-1,5726,6177,7658","CreateDate":"2021-09-23T16:25:59","UpdateDate":"2022-05-16T10:14:13","Version":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","UrlName":"grace-atkinson","Level":3,"IsDraft":false,"Url":"http://publichealth.wvu.edu/who-we-are/student-profiles/grace-atkinson/","metaKeywords":"","pageTitle":"","navigationSettings":"","umbracoUrlName":"","metaDescription":"","navigationTitle":"","hideFromSearch":false,"umbracoNaviHideChildren":false,"seoSettings":"","umbracoRequireSSL":false,"umbracoNaviHide":false,"auditNotes":"","auditStatus":"","profileLastName":"Atkinson","profileQuote":"Public health means advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves.","profileFirstName":"Grace","videoYouTubeURL":"","profileSuffix":"","profilePhoto":{"src":"/media/6530/img_2667.jpg","focalPoint":{"left":0.44901960784313727,"top":0.38382352941176473},"crops":[{"alias":"Preview Image","width":200,"height":200,"coordinates":null},{"alias":"Profile Image","width":1200,"height":675,"coordinates":null}]},"featuredImage":"","featuredBlurb":"","isFeatured":false,"areaOfEmphasis":"Public Health Sciences","graduationDate":"2022-05-01T00:00:00","studentType":1236,"profileMinor":"Health Promotion","program":[{"ItemType":0,"Id":4706,"Key":"8392e9aa-a1ee-4414-8a10-6325cb9dd243","TemplateId":5704,"SortOrder":2,"Name":"Bachelor of Science in Public Health","DocumentTypeAlias":"SPHprogramPage","DocumentTypeId":4313,"WriterName":"jwilmot1","CreatorName":"WVU HSC ITS","WriterId":56,"CreatorId":0,"Path":"-1,1316,4615,6898,4706","CreateDate":"2018-04-27T14:14:33","UpdateDate":"2021-07-28T14:24:46","Version":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","UrlName":"bachelor-of-science-in-public-health","Level":4,"IsDraft":false,"Url":"/students/undergraduate-programs/bachelor-of-science-in-public-health/","metaKeywords":"","pageTitle":"Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health","navigationSettings":"","umbracoUrlName":"","metaDescription":"","navigationTitle":"","hideFromSearch":false,"umbracoNaviHideChildren":false,"seoSettings":"","umbracoRequireSSL":false,"umbracoNaviHide":false,"auditNotes":"","auditStatus":"","programOverviewVideoUrl":"","introContent":"<p>Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. 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It is important to follow this plan to graduate on time.</p>","AGcatalogLink":"[{\"name\":\"View WVU Catalog for Admissions Guidelines\",\"url\":\"http://catalog.wvu.edu/undergraduate/schoolofpublichealth/publichealth/#admissionstext\"}]","addAGLink":"[]","AGText":"<p>The WVU School of Public Health admits undergraduate students in both fall and spring semesters. Interested students must apply and be accepted to West Virginia University. The School offers first-time freshmen direct admission to the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program for those who meet the admission standards. 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>. 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(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":"Severna Park, Md.","mainContent":"<h2>What does public health mean to you?</h2>\r\n<p>Public health means advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves. It also means that we are able to shape the face of healthcare in order to provide the best possible experiences for people who may be in a health crisis. Public health workers are the first line of prevention and education to the public.</p>\r\n<h2>Why did you choose to study public health at WVU?</h2>\r\n<p>WVU gives so many opportunities to meet people who are just as passionate about public health as you are. It connects everyone with different backgrounds to a common goal: help as many people as possible. It is always interesting to hear what area in public health my fellow peers want to enter after their time at WVU.</p>\r\n<h2>Have you had any professors who have made an impact on you while at WVU?</h2>\r\n<p>Dr. <span class=\"TextRun Highlight SCXW187335194 BCX0\" data-contrast=\"none\"><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\">Dr. Emily </span><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\">Zier</span><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\"> (Health Policy), Dr. <a href=\"https://directory.hsc.wvu.edu/Profile/34654\">Danielle Davidov</a> (Social Determinants of Health), and Mohini </span><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\">Chatterji</span><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\"> (Epidemiology) have all had significant impacts on my studies at WVU. </span></span><span class=\"TextRun Highlight SCXW187335194 BCX0\" data-contrast=\"none\"><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\">All</span><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\"> these professors are so passionate about their work. They really want to listen to what you have to say, too. </span></span></p>\r\n<p><span class=\"TextRun Highlight SCXW187335194 BCX0\" data-contrast=\"none\"><span class=\"NormalTextRun SCXW187335194 BCX0\">There is no greater feeling than feeling like you’re being heard, especially on a campus this large. If you have the chance to study under them and take their courses, I highly recommend it. They are some of the best professors I have ever had here at WVU. </span></span><span class=\"EOP SCXW187335194 BCX0\" data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">What are some unique or interesting experiences you’ve had during your time at WVU?</span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">The best experiences here at WVU came from just saying 'yes' to spontaneous things. Whether it was saying yes to going to Arden for the day or just driving around town with friends, each experience ended up being more fun than I could imagine. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">You’re ending your academic journey during a unique time in our history. What has been both good and bad about studying public health during a pandemic and completing your college degree during this time?</span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">Studying public health during a pandemic gave me such a unique perspective. Living through a pandemic is not something most people will experience. By choosing to study Public Health, it gave a real-world example of just how important public health is to society. Every aspect, from educating the public to creating a vaccine, was vital to making sure we had the highest survival rates as possible. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">Tell us about your field placement and capstone experience.</span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">This past semester I had the privilege of working with the <a data-udi=\"umb://document/2658ff47e0164b3c8603a1a313b798f3\" href=\"http://publichealth.wvu.edu/prc/\" title=\"West Virginia Prevention Research Center\">West Virginia Prevention Research Center.</a> I worked on two different teams: a COVID Team and the Health Equity Action Team (HEAT). The COVID Team had a focus on discovering how COVID impacted over 900 pediatric patients based in West Virginia with chronic illnesses. The HEAT Team focused on how minoritized populations receive healthcare and how improvements can be made. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">With the COVID Team I was tasked with labeling ICD-10 codes in Excel and seeing how the chronic conditions impacted their well-visits. The semester was spent going into the ICD-10 code website, seeing what medical condition the code stood for, and labeling it under the patient in excel. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">The HEAT Team met bi-weekly and was leading up to having focus groups with minoritized people in West Virginia. A lot of my work with them was helping to create questions to ask the focus groups, so that the questions remained insightful, but also respectful. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">What are your plans following graduation? What is your ultimate career goal? </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">After graduation I plan on taking a gap year to have a job in the public health field. After getting some experience in the field, it is my hope to go back to school to get my master's degree in epidemiology. </span></p>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">Ultimately, I hope to work for a company that has a focus on either disease prevention or cancer prevention. I also hope to be able to spend my 20s traveling with whatever job I end up in. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2>What would you tell prospective students about WVU and the School of Public Health?</h2>\r\n<p>Be open to talking to everyone, whether it's the people who are in your classes, someone you pass in the hall or your professors. The faculty in the School of Public Health will be your greatest advocates, besides yourself. They can open doors for you that you never even knew existed.</p>\r\n<p>Make sure to get involved in clubs like <a data-udi=\"umb://document/9c710f362a66456e9305a63a8035bc7d\" href=\"http://publichealth.wvu.edu/saph/\" title=\"Student Association\">SAPH</a>. It is a great way to talk to your peers, as well as students further along in the program. You never know what connections you will make, so be as open as possible to meeting new people, as scary as it can be. Everyone here wants to see you succeed.</p>\r\n<h2>What advice would you give to your freshman self?</h2>\r\n<p>Get involved as early as possible!! I was late to the game by transferring here my sophomore year, so it is important to attend as many networking events and clubs as possible.</p>\r\n<p>Also, make sure to take downtime for just yourself. It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of schoolwork, so take the time to maintain your mental health. Read a good book for fun, discover new music, and go for a hike on one of the many trails around Morgantown.</p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">What will you always remember from your time at WVU?</span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">I will always remember the little moments with my friends. Whether it was just spending a day at Decker’s Creek swimming around on a hot day, driving around in my friend’s jeep with the windows down blasting music, or eating really good food at tailgates before a football game. It really is the little moments that add up. </span></p>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">One of the best moments was after WVU beat Texas this past season. It was my last football game as a student, so it was a very bittersweet moment. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2>What do you plan to do upon completion of your degree?</h2>\r\n<p>Upon completion of my bachelor's degree, I plan on attending graduate school to receive my Master of Public Health. Though I am still narrowing down what field I want to work in, right now I am looking towards breast cancer research, infectious diseases/epidemiology and health advocacy/policy (with a tie to social determinants of health).</p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">What do you think is the best tradition at WVU?</span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">The best tradition at WVU is without a doubt singing “Take Me Home Country Roads” at the end of a football game. There is no greater feeling than putting your arms around your friends and singing Country Roads amongst 60,000 people at Milan Puskar Stadium after WVU wins. (Though the whole tradition of game day overall is incredible. Going from the different tailgates to cheering on WVU during the game and singing Country Roads afterwards. The best feeling is Morgantown during game day.) </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">Why should someone choose WVU to study public health?</span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">The WVU School of Public Health (SPH) is one of the greatest schools to study at because of the faculty and staff. They are some of the most caring and professional people you could ever meet. Every single one of them is there to listen and wants to see you succeed. If you are having trouble in any class or even just in your personal life, each one of them is always there to listen and help as much as possible. The WVU SPH is like a little family who all have one common goal. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span data-contrast=\"auto\">What are you looking forward to most after graduation?</span><span data-ccp-props=\"{}\"> </span></h2>\r\n<p><span data-contrast=\"auto\">I am looking forward to many things after graduation. Since I am moving home for the next year, I am really looking forward to home cooked meals. I am also looking forward to a change of pace. I am hoping by taking a gap year it will allow me to slow down a bit since I have been nonstop the past four years. The main thing I look forward to is traveling for a bit (hopefully). I am hoping to go abroad and see the world as much as I can. </span><span data-ccp-props=\"{&quot;335559685&quot;:720}\"> </span></p>"}
Back to Meet the Grads

Grace Atkinson

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health
School of Public Health

Public health means advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves.

What does public health mean to you?

Public health means advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves. It also means that we are able to shape the face of healthcare in order to provide the best possible experiences for people who may be in a health crisis. Public health workers are the first line of prevention and education to the public.

Why did you choose to study public health at WVU?

WVU gives so many opportunities to meet people who are just as passionate about public health as you are. It connects everyone with different backgrounds to a common goal: help as many people as possible. It is always interesting to hear what area in public health my fellow peers want to enter after their time at WVU.

Have you had any professors who have made an impact on you while at WVU?

Dr. Dr. Emily Zier (Health Policy), Dr. Danielle Davidov (Social Determinants of Health), and Mohini Chatterji (Epidemiology) have all had significant impacts on my studies at WVU. All these professors are so passionate about their work. They really want to listen to what you have to say, too. 

There is no greater feeling than feeling like you’re being heard, especially on a campus this large. If you have the chance to study under them and take their courses, I highly recommend it. They are some of the best professors I have ever had here at WVU.  

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

The best experiences here at WVU came from just saying 'yes' to spontaneous things. Whether it was saying yes to going to Arden for the day or just driving around town with friends, each experience ended up being more fun than I could imagine.  

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

Studying public health during a pandemic gave me such a unique perspective. Living through a pandemic is not something most people will experience. By choosing to study Public Health, it gave a real-world example of just how important public health is to society. Every aspect, from educating the public to creating a vaccine, was vital to making sure we had the highest survival rates as possible.  

Tell us about your field placement and capstone experience. 

This past semester I had the privilege of working with the West Virginia Prevention Research Center. I worked on two different teams: a COVID Team and the Health Equity Action Team (HEAT). The COVID Team had a focus on discovering how COVID impacted over 900 pediatric patients based in West Virginia with chronic illnesses. The HEAT Team focused on how minoritized populations receive healthcare and how improvements can be made.  

With the COVID Team I was tasked with labeling ICD-10 codes in Excel and seeing how the chronic conditions impacted their well-visits. The semester was spent going into the ICD-10 code website, seeing what medical condition the code stood for, and labeling it under the patient in excel.  

The HEAT Team met bi-weekly and was leading up to having focus groups with minoritized people in West Virginia. A lot of my work with them was helping to create questions to ask the focus groups, so that the questions remained insightful, but also respectful.  

What are your plans following graduation? What is your ultimate career goal?  

After graduation I plan on taking a gap year to have a job in the public health field. After getting some experience in the field, it is my hope to go back to school to get my master's degree in epidemiology.

Ultimately, I hope to work for a company that has a focus on either disease prevention or cancer prevention. I also hope to be able to spend my 20s traveling with whatever job I end up in.  

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

Be open to talking to everyone, whether it's the people who are in your classes, someone you pass in the hall or your professors. The faculty in the School of Public Health will be your greatest advocates, besides yourself. They can open doors for you that you never even knew existed.

Make sure to get involved in clubs like SAPH. It is a great way to talk to your peers, as well as students further along in the program. You never know what connections you will make, so be as open as possible to meeting new people, as scary as it can be. Everyone here wants to see you succeed.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

Get involved as early as possible!! I was late to the game by transferring here my sophomore year, so it is important to attend as many networking events and clubs as possible.

Also, make sure to take downtime for just yourself. It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of schoolwork, so take the time to maintain your mental health. Read a good book for fun, discover new music, and go for a hike on one of the many trails around Morgantown.

What will you always remember from your time at WVU? 

I will always remember the little moments with my friends. Whether it was just spending a day at Decker’s Creek swimming around on a hot day, driving around in my friend’s jeep with the windows down blasting music, or eating really good food at tailgates before a football game. It really is the little moments that add up.

One of the best moments was after WVU beat Texas this past season. It was my last football game as a student, so it was a very bittersweet moment.  

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

Upon completion of my bachelor's degree, I plan on attending graduate school to receive my Master of Public Health. Though I am still narrowing down what field I want to work in, right now I am looking towards breast cancer research, infectious diseases/epidemiology and health advocacy/policy (with a tie to social determinants of health).

What do you think is the best tradition at WVU? 

The best tradition at WVU is without a doubt singing “Take Me Home Country Roads” at the end of a football game. There is no greater feeling than putting your arms around your friends and singing Country Roads amongst 60,000 people at Milan Puskar Stadium after WVU wins. (Though the whole tradition of game day overall is incredible. Going from the different tailgates to cheering on WVU during the game and singing Country Roads afterwards. The best feeling is Morgantown during game day.)  

Why should someone choose WVU to study public health? 

The WVU School of Public Health (SPH) is one of the greatest schools to study at because of the faculty and staff. They are some of the most caring and professional people you could ever meet. Every single one of them is there to listen and wants to see you succeed. If you are having trouble in any class or even just in your personal life, each one of them is always there to listen and help as much as possible. The WVU SPH is like a little family who all have one common goal.  

What are you looking forward to most after graduation? 

I am looking forward to many things after graduation. Since I am moving home for the next year, I am really looking forward to home cooked meals. I am also looking forward to a change of pace. I am hoping by taking a gap year it will allow me to slow down a bit since I have been nonstop the past four years. The main thing I look forward to is traveling for a bit (hopefully). I am hoping to go abroad and see the world as much as I can.  

Let’s go.