Senior Accepted into Summer Public Health Scholars Program at Columbia University

Stephanie Smith photo

An Eastern Kentucky University senior has been accepted into the Summer Public Health Scholars Program at Columbia University, the prestigious Ivy League institution in New York City.

Stephanie Smith, a public health major from Barbourville, will take field trips to various neighborhoods in and around The Big Apple to observe public health interventions and programs in operation. She will also attend lecture-based courses and work in small groups with teaching assistants to discuss practical applications of class studies.

Before heading to New York, she will attend a one-week orientation at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. Smith will spend the following nine weeks based at the Columbia University Medical Center. All expenses are covered by the program.

“I am most excited about gaining hands-on experience in the field of public health,” the 2009 Knox Central High School graduate said. “With our competitive job market now, this experience will set me apart from other potential employees. I will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most prestigious public health leaders and network with people who could open other doors for my career.”

Smith, the daughter of Darrell and Lynn Smith and granddaughter of Patty and Russell Smith, was recently named the Outstanding Senior in Community Health at Eastern. She maintains a 3.4 GPA in addition to her active role in the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, in which she has held several leadership positions. Smith also represented the Eta Sigma Gamma Honor Society on EKU’s Homecoming Court last fall.

“The ‘Eastern Experience’ has given me the opportunity to grow as a person,” Smith said. “I feel accomplished to have almost four years of undergraduate school under my belt. My family has always been so understanding and supportive of my experience while at EKU and … my drive for success has come from the desire to make them proud. I am so thankful to have had the chance to spend my college career at a university I love.”

Smith also credited faculty in the Department of Health Promotion and Administration for that growth.

“(They) have all made a huge impact on the success of my college career,” she said. “Laurie Larkin, Karen Hunter and Michelyn Bhandari have always provided me with encouragement and support to excel in public health. I could not be more thankful to have them as mentors.”

After the summer program, Smith plans to return to EKU to begin studies in the University’s Master’s of Public Health Program toward her goal of working with an international health agency.

For now, though, her heart and mind are on the upcoming summer in one of the world’s greatest cities, a place she has never visited.

“I am looking forward to experiencing what it is like to live in the city and in such a diverse part of our country,” Smith said. “I already have a countdown set, and I can’t wait to take full advantage of the amazing experiences I will have.”

Published on April 09, 2013