Master of Public Health student, Kristy Kontowsky, has always felt a sense of belonging at Michigan State University. As she thought about continuing her education after her undergraduate experience at MSU, she knew that she wanted to stay in the Spartan community. 

Now finishing up her second semester in the program, Kontowsky reflects on how she became interested in public health and shares why she loves being a Spartan in this Q&A. 

Michigan continues to struggle to protect residents from tobacco products' harmful effects.

As a typical overachiever, receiving any grade lower than an “A” has always been terrifying. However, Michigan recently did just that. Across three out of five domains, Michigan failed the American Lung Association Tobacco Control Report Card.[1]

As soon as she stepped foot on MSU's campus, Lauryn Allen knew she was meant to be a Spartan. Her passion for helping underserved groups and using research to understand social determinants of health inspired her to continue her education at MSU and pursue her Master of Public Health. Following a successful summer internship, she currently works as a graduate research assistant for a study focusing on cervical cancer prevention. 

Read more about Lauryn in this Q&A. 

After graduating from MSU with her bachelor’s degree in microbiology, Lillian Jensen took some time away from starting her career to serve as a medical caregiver for her ailing grandmother. During this time she began to experience flaws in the health care system firsthand. 

“I witnessed flaws in the health care system which directly lowered her quality of life. She had many medical specialists, but my grandmother experienced very little continuity of care. I was frustrated by the sense that I could see her whole medical picture better than her doctors could,” she said.

Studying public health reinforced Donovan Dennis' decision to apply for medical school in hopes of becoming a physician. Inspired by the work of advocates and public health professionals in Flint during the water crisis, he sought out Michigan State University's unique MD and MPH programs. Connecting with community members and fellow students and professors fuels his motivation for becoming a future doctor. 

Learn more about Donovan's journey as a dual enrolled MPH/MD student in this Q&A. 

Michigan State University is excited to congratulate Vorice Patterson as the second recipient of the Flint Spartan Master of Public Health Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming Master of Public Health student.

Patterson has demonstrated a commitment to implementing the knowledge obtained by completing the Master of Public Health program.

Viviana Quintino-Zavala finds joy in contributing to public health initiatives as a leader within her community in Kent County, Michigan. Her desire to promote health equity in underserved communities inspired her to pursue a career in public health. As she enters the final semester of her degree, Viviana reflects on working in public health and what motivates her.

Learn more about Viviana's experience as an MPH student in this Q&A. 

In the past year, gun violence has become the leading cause of death in children, surpassing motor vehicle accidents. Though school shootings often gain widespread media attention due to their horrific and tragic nature, they account for only a minority of gun-related deaths in the country. Homicides and suicides are the leading cause of gun-related injuries and deaths, with unintentional injuries and deaths being a smaller proportion.

Kendra Shannon

As the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted Black Americans and shed a light on the importance of public health, Kendra Shannon knew she had to act. Her commitment to creating lasting change in society led her to pursue her Master of Public Health.

Learn more about what inspires her in this Q&A. 

Tamara Jordan, Online Master of Public Health Michigan State University

Tamara Jordan, DO, MLS (ASCP), has overcome numerous adversities in her life to get to the point where she is today. Her path was anything but straightforward. Jordan and her two siblings grew up in a single-parent home in Flint, Mich. During her senior year in high school, she was a victim of a gunshot wound to the abdomen—an experience that would lead her to pursue a medical career. During her freshman year at Michigan State University, she became pregnant; as a single parent, she attended school full-time while holding a full-time job.

Katlin Harwood-Schelb

Michigan State University is excited to congratulate Katlin Harwood-Schelb as the inaugural recipient of the Flint Spartan Master of Public Health Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to an incoming Master of Public Health student who lives or works in the Greater Flint community and has demonstrated a commitment to implementing the knowledge obtained by completing the Master of Public Health program. 

Pavneet Banga, MSU MPH Student

For an entire decade, Pavneet Banga, MD, contemplated going back to school. Everyday life, family, and multiple relocation opportunities stalled her studies. She kept thinking, “will that gap time be an obstacle to my success?” One conversation later, she was ready to pursue her public health interest in epidemics and pandemics.

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune."
– Ruth Bader Ginsburg