Back to Meet the Grads

Grace Nowicki

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Public Health
School of Public Health
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Further study provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to identify evidence-based techniques for disease prevention and promotion of health, both at home and from a global perspective.</p>\r\n<h3>Areas of Emphasis</h3>\r\n<p>In addition to the core requirements for the major, students also focus their education by selecting an area of emphasis.</p>\r\n<p>In the <strong>Public Health Sciences area of emphasis</strong>, students learn to recognize how environmental and occupational factors impact the health status of individuals and populations and to apply skills in biostatistical and epidemiologic methods in public health practice and research.</p>\r\n<p>In the <strong>Community and Population Health area of emphasis</strong>, students learn to recognize how social and behavioral factors impact the health status of individuals and populations and to identify appropriate theories, methods, strategies and policies to address the public health needs of communities and populations. This also prepares students to sit for the Community Health Education Certification (CHES) exam.</p>\r\n<p>The<strong class=\"u-wvu-blue\"> Patient Navigation area of emphasis</strong> p<span>repares students to become members of healthcare teams that help individuals overcome barriers to quality care, including access, literacy, transportation and more. 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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Expense","residentAmount":525.0,"nonResidentAmount":775.0,"type":874},{"Key":"443a39a7-e1e5-438b-9eaf-34d0b8dcf674","Id":0,"Name":"Personal Expense ($850/$850)","IsDraft":false,"ItemType":0,"DocumentTypeAlias":"tuitionAdditionalCosts","DocumentTypeId":6398,"TemplateId":0,"SortOrder":4,"UrlName":null,"WriterName":null,"CreatorName":null,"WriterId":0,"CreatorId":0,"Path":null,"CreateDate":"0001-01-01T00:00:00","UpdateDate":"0001-01-01T00:00:00","Version":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000","Level":0,"Url":"#","description":"Personal Expense","residentAmount":850.0,"nonResidentAmount":850.0,"type":874}]}],"possibleCareers":"Public health information officer\r\nHealth promotion specialist\r\nHealth research assistant\r\nEmergency preparedness specialist\r\nEnvironmental health technician\r\nPublic health program developer\r\nBehavioral health program coordinator\r\nHealth promotion social marketer\r\nHealth literacy specialist\r\nGlobal health worker\r\nPatient navigator\r\nCommunity 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 Courses\",\"url\":\"http://catalog.wvu.edu/undergraduate/schoolofpublichealth/publichealth/#majortext\"}]","RCText":"<p>Each student will have a Plan of Study (or course sequence) that he or she will develop with a faculty adviser, update every semester during the student’s advising appointment<span> </span>and follow to complete all degree requirements. 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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":"Scottdale, Pa.","mainContent":"<h2>What is public health?</h2>\r\n<p>I like to describe public health as “studying health in its fullest context.” Rather than just examining the biological characteristics of health, public health digs deeper into the social systems that influence health outcomes.</p>\r\n<h2>When did you know that you wanted to study public health?</h2>\r\n<p>A few weeks after I was born, I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis – a genetic, chronic illness that affects the lungs and digestive system. I have been lucky to be relatively healthy, but I have spent my fair share of time at the doctor’s office. This experience growing up initiated my admiration of healthcare workers, as well as my interest in the healthcare field. For a long time, I thought I wanted to go to medical school, so I could become a doctor and help people be healthy – just like my healthcare professionals have helped me over the years. I was not even aware that public health was an option until I came to WVU, but I quickly realized how much more I enjoyed the prevention side of public health over the treatment side of clinical healthcare.</p>\r\n<h2>Why did you choose WVU for your public health education?</h2>\r\n<p>When I visited WVU for the first time, I knew it was the school for me. I fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere. Plus, everyone was so kind and welcoming!</p>\r\n<h2>Have you had any particular members of the faculty or staff who made an impact on you while studying at WVU?</h2>\r\n<p>There are many wonderful faculty and staff members at WVU, but there have been a few in particular that have made a lasting impact on me. Dr. <a href=\"https://directory.hsc.wvu.edu/Profile/28898\">Lesley Cottrell</a> has served as my amazing research mentor since my sophomore year, during my time in the <a href=\"https://undergraduateresearch.wvu.edu/research-opportunities/wvu-opportunities/research-apprenticeship-programs\">Research Apprenticeship Program</a>, as well as in the <a href=\"https://www.honors.wvu.edu/academics/honors-excel-program\">Honors EXCEL</a> program. My academic advisor, <a data-udi=\"umb://document/e926870192904b7abad0be8100c47de9\" href=\"http://publichealth.wvu.edu/who-we-are/faculty-and-staff-profiles/sarah-opatz/\" title=\"Sarah Opatz\">Sarah Opatz</a>, has been an incredible guide during my undergraduate studies. Dr. <a data-udi=\"umb://document/44b1ac07675a4b7995d63f939bccc13f\" href=\"http://publichealth.wvu.edu/who-we-are/faculty-and-staff-profiles/elizabeth-claydon/\" title=\"Elizabeth Claydon\">Elizabeth Claydon</a> and Dr. <a data-udi=\"umb://document/16f35b0152c94497ab6ef963d8e0555f\" href=\"http://publichealth.wvu.edu/who-we-are/faculty-and-staff-profiles/steve-davis/\" title=\"Steve Davis\">Steve Davis</a> are two phenomenal professors in the WVU School of Public Health, and I am so grateful to them for their expertise and support.</p>\r\n<h2>When is a moment you realized <span>public health was the right fit for you?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I first realized that public health was the right fit for me when I started taking my public health courses. I was immediately intrigued by the biopsychosocial model of health – which not only takes into account biological factors, but also psychological and social factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes.</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>During my time at WVU, I was able to partake in the Research Apprenticeship Program, which gave me a strong foundation of research skills and knowledge. I was also able to present my research at various symposiums and conferences, such as the Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol, the <a href=\"https://health.wvu.edu/research-and-graduate-education/events/van-liere-research-conference/\">Van Liere Research Conference</a> and the <a href=\"https://undergraduateresearch.wvu.edu/present-and-publish/presentation-opportunities/undergraduate-spring-symposium\">WVU Undergraduate Spring Research Symposium</a>.</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>There have certainly been some ups and downs to completing my undergraduate degree in the midst of a pandemic. Of course, not having any in-person classes during my senior year was kind of a bummer, but one positive impact was that it led to great class discussions and what felt like experiential learning! It is undeniably different to learn about a pandemic in class, versus experiencing it firsthand.<span> </span></p>\r\n<h2><span>Tell us about your field placement experience.</span></h2>\r\n<p>My field placement was with Community Education Group (CEG), which is a small, not-for-profit organization. I worked on a number of projects during my internship, including an interview video series, a prospect list of potential funders, and multiple research memorandums on topics such as cancer among African Americans, access barriers faced by people with disabilities, and access obstacles encountered by rural West Virginians. I learned a lot about the various underserved groups that CEG focuses on, as well as the functioning of a non-profit organization. After my internship ended, I was offered a part-time position!</p>\r\n<h2>What do you want to do after graduation?</h2>\r\n<p>I will be attending a Master of Public Health in Health Policy program at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in the fall. My ultimate career goal is still up in the air, but I hope to be working in the health policy sector, advocating for the health and rights of marginalized communities.</p>\r\n<h2>What would you tell prospective students about WVU and the School of Public Health?</h2>\r\n<p>WVU has an awesome, fun and lively campus, and the School of Public Health has a lot of great classes, professors and opportunities!</p>\r\n<h2>What advice would you give to your freshman self?</h2>\r\n<p>I would tell my freshman self to relax and enjoy the ride. Too often, we find ourselves looking ahead and worrying about what is to come, rather than just appreciating the present.</p>\r\n<h2>What will you always remember from your time at WVU?</h2>\r\n<p>I will always remember how kind and helpful the professors and faculty were, and how much fun I had with the amazing people I met!</p>\r\n<h2>What do you think is the best tradition at WVU?</h2>\r\n<p>My favorite tradition at WVU is singing Country Roads with my fellow Mountaineers!</p>\r\n<h2>Why should someone choose WVU to study public health?</h2>\r\n<p>The WVU School of Public Health has relatively small class sizes, which allows you to connect with your classmates and professors, a lot of great opportunities to get involved in research, and amazing professors who really care about their students and want to see them succeed!</p>\r\n<h2><span>What are you looking forward to most after graduation?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I am most looking forward to starting my graduate program in the fall! However, I will always miss and cherish my time at WVU.</p>\r\n<h2><span>Is there something people would be surprised to learn about you?</span></h2>\r\n<p>I love the outdoors! There is just something about fresh air and scenic nature views that makes me feel at peace.</p>"}

I will always remember how kind and helpful the professors and faculty were, and how much fun I had with the amazing people I met!

What is public health?

I like to describe public health as “studying health in its fullest context.” Rather than just examining the biological characteristics of health, public health digs deeper into the social systems that influence health outcomes.

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

A few weeks after I was born, I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis – a genetic, chronic illness that affects the lungs and digestive system. I have been lucky to be relatively healthy, but I have spent my fair share of time at the doctor’s office. This experience growing up initiated my admiration of healthcare workers, as well as my interest in the healthcare field. For a long time, I thought I wanted to go to medical school, so I could become a doctor and help people be healthy – just like my healthcare professionals have helped me over the years. I was not even aware that public health was an option until I came to WVU, but I quickly realized how much more I enjoyed the prevention side of public health over the treatment side of clinical healthcare.

Why did you choose WVU for your public health education?

When I visited WVU for the first time, I knew it was the school for me. I fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere. Plus, everyone was so kind and welcoming!

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

There are many wonderful faculty and staff members at WVU, but there have been a few in particular that have made a lasting impact on me. Dr. Lesley Cottrell has served as my amazing research mentor since my sophomore year, during my time in the Research Apprenticeship Program, as well as in the Honors EXCEL program. My academic advisor, Sarah Opatz, has been an incredible guide during my undergraduate studies. Dr. Elizabeth Claydon and Dr. Steve Davis are two phenomenal professors in the WVU School of Public Health, and I am so grateful to them for their expertise and support.

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

I first realized that public health was the right fit for me when I started taking my public health courses. I was immediately intrigued by the biopsychosocial model of health – which not only takes into account biological factors, but also psychological and social factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes.

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

During my time at WVU, I was able to partake in the Research Apprenticeship Program, which gave me a strong foundation of research skills and knowledge. I was also able to present my research at various symposiums and conferences, such as the Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol, the Van Liere Research Conference and the WVU Undergraduate Spring Research Symposium.

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?

There have certainly been some ups and downs to completing my undergraduate degree in the midst of a pandemic. Of course, not having any in-person classes during my senior year was kind of a bummer, but one positive impact was that it led to great class discussions and what felt like experiential learning! It is undeniably different to learn about a pandemic in class, versus experiencing it firsthand. 

Tell us about your field placement experience.

My field placement was with Community Education Group (CEG), which is a small, not-for-profit organization. I worked on a number of projects during my internship, including an interview video series, a prospect list of potential funders, and multiple research memorandums on topics such as cancer among African Americans, access barriers faced by people with disabilities, and access obstacles encountered by rural West Virginians. I learned a lot about the various underserved groups that CEG focuses on, as well as the functioning of a non-profit organization. After my internship ended, I was offered a part-time position!

What do you want to do after graduation?

I will be attending a Master of Public Health in Health Policy program at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in the fall. My ultimate career goal is still up in the air, but I hope to be working in the health policy sector, advocating for the health and rights of marginalized communities.

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

WVU has an awesome, fun and lively campus, and the School of Public Health has a lot of great classes, professors and opportunities!

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

I would tell my freshman self to relax and enjoy the ride. Too often, we find ourselves looking ahead and worrying about what is to come, rather than just appreciating the present.

What will you always remember from your time at WVU?

I will always remember how kind and helpful the professors and faculty were, and how much fun I had with the amazing people I met!

What do you think is the best tradition at WVU?

My favorite tradition at WVU is singing Country Roads with my fellow Mountaineers!

Why should someone choose WVU to study public health?

The WVU School of Public Health has relatively small class sizes, which allows you to connect with your classmates and professors, a lot of great opportunities to get involved in research, and amazing professors who really care about their students and want to see them succeed!

What are you looking forward to most after graduation?

I am most looking forward to starting my graduate program in the fall! However, I will always miss and cherish my time at WVU.

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

I love the outdoors! There is just something about fresh air and scenic nature views that makes me feel at peace.

Let’s go.