"My time at WVU has been one pleasant surprise after the other. Everyone has been so pleasant to me. Going from dorms to apartments, going to football games, volleyball games, basketball games – it connects you to such a big community, it’s amazing. I like how much of a home it has become to me and I’ve found so many friends here."
Area of Emphasis: Public Health Science
Hometown: Charlestown, WV
When did you know that you wanted to study public health?
I never really found public health, it found me. I knew I wanted to help people and I thought nursing was the most realistic way for me to do that. Then when I had my first shadowing experience in nursing, I knew it wasn't how I wanted to do my part for my community. I wanted to prevent people from getting to that place. Finding out what I didn't want to do let public health find me when I was ready; I didn't know what it was or how much I would love it until it was time.
Tell us about your field placement experience.
My experience was with WVU Extension. I was involved in the resilience and recovery task force which included working on a project to reduce stigma about substance abuse. They are setting the foundation with research that can start the conversation about what we need. Unfortunately, my experience was cut short because of the coronavirus, but working in public health, we understand the need more than anyone for prevention and quarantine.
What are some activities have you been involved in at WVU?
My time at WVU has been one pleasant surprise after the other. Everyone has been so pleasant to me. Going from dorms to apartments, going to football games, volleyball games, basketball games – it connects you to such a big community, it’s amazing. I like how much of a home it has become to me and I’ve found so many friends here.
I have had so many opportunities through the band. Throughout my four years, I’ve been in the color guard. I’ve been a rank leader for two years, which means I teach the pre-game and I create my own routines to be performed at halftime. It has given me leadership and communications skills so I can further myself after I graduate, and it has also given me a home to return to.
What do you want to do after graduation?
Thankfully, I have been accepted to continue my education here at WVU. I will focus on occupational and environmental health where prevention is a prime factor in daily life. Every single person deserves a safe and healthy environment to work in. I wish to specialize in this area to keep the future generations, and myself, the best we can be so we can do what we do best and help the community.
What advice would you give to your freshman self?
Don’t get too overwhelmed by the future. Just take it one day at a time.
Why should someone choose WVU to study public health?
The connections. We really are a community who is proud of each other and proud to be here. We make sure everyone’s where they thrive and has a place they can be themselves. Coming here, this has become a home where my heart swells thinking of how much I love this place. My friends, my experience, my professors who offer so much encouragement and being a Public Health ambassador has put me in a position everyone should feel in their life.
What will you always remember from your time at WVU?
My ultimate favorite memory from being at WVU, and something that will stay with me forever, is when the entire band enters the “Simple Gifts” circle and we all run out as the color guard. Taking that moment to stand in the circle and look at the stands around you – cheering for you, everyone loves WVU – just the amount of pride you feel, and then running out of the circle and everyone’s screaming, your flags are going. I will never forget that feeling.
What’s your favorite thing about WVU?
Throughout my years here at WVU, I like how much of a home it’s become to me and how comfortable I am here. Through organizations like being in the color guard in the WVU Marching Band, I’ve found so many friends.
What are you looking forward to most after graduation?
Being able to look back at my time here and know I did the right thing. Being so sure of something will be a nice reminder when things get tough in the future.
Who has been one of your biggest supporters during your college journey?
The biggest support I’ve received throughout my time in the School of Public Health is from my mom. Being a first-generation student, she’s been continuously pushing me to finish my education and take advantage of the opportunities she never had. There were times I wanted to quit because all of this was new, but she continued to push me to try my best and now I’m going to graduate.
Being a first-generation student has been kind of a rollercoaster for me. Going through that experience and learning how to do everything was hard, but the fact that my family was so proud of me for being a first-generation student and getting through it was worth it!