The magazine of the UW School of Public Health

Leading With Public Health: An Undergraduate Perspective

Organizations such as the Association of Schools of Public Health are just beginning to track enrollment in undergraduate public health programs. Specific national enrollment numbers are not available but early reports indicate that there is a rising interest in undergraduate public health degrees and that a significant trend is underway. For example, at the University of Washington, the number of students in the undergraduate public health major has doubled within the past year.

To provide a glimpse into what is motivating this increase, four recent public health undergraduate students at the University of Washington share their thoughts.


Marta GalanMarta Galan: I have chosen to embrace the mission of public health. For me, the mission of public health is to promote health to all communities so that all individuals can reach their highest potential. Looking at the public health problems of today, I have an urgency to become equipped to effectively address health inequities. In my future work as a public health professional, I hope to become a voice advocating for underserved and marginalized populations.

Marta Galan graduated with a BS in Public Health in Autumn 2012.


Nicole RoverNicole Rover: I am interested in working in public health because I want to do my part to ensure the health of all citizens. Public health uses a multidisciplinary approach to improving the health of communities, and I am excited to be part of this interconnected system. I plan to use a full range of my skills and interests in my work. For example, I hope to use my passion for dance to disseminate health education about the physical, mental, and social health benefits of exercise.

Nicole Rover will graduate with a BS in Public Health and a BA in Dance Studies in Spring 2013.


Marissa SimkoMarissa Simko: I view the study of prevention-based interventions as an essential first step toward improving health and quality of life for populations. The interdisciplinary nature of public health facilitates a wide range of perspectives within a diverse group of professionals. This is a strength. Collaboration can create beneficial solutions for society’s health problems. Combining a public health foundation with a nursing career, I hope to provide more holistic, comprehensive care to my patients and the population in general.

Marissa Simko will graduate with a BS in Public Health in Spring 2013.


Angela WilliamsAngela Williams: I originally planned to study Clinical Nutrition so that I could educate individuals how to reduce their risk of chronic health conditions. After several student internships, however, I realize that unequal access to healthy, affordable foods prevents many people from acquiring the very foods they have been told to consume. This realization has prompted me to pursue a degree in public health policy. In my future work, I hope to reduce health disparities by increasing access to healthy foods.

Angela Williams graduated with a BS in Public Health in Autumn 2012.