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2012 COPH Student Award Winners

From left to right: Veenu Minhas; COPH Student Association President Janelle Jacobson; Austin Person; Anh Nguyen; Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Leslie Elliott; Dean Ayman El-Mohandes; Bettye Apenteng; Maha Farid; Tao Li; and Leah Frerichs.

Student Highlight- 2012 College of Public Health Student Award Winners

2012 Carruth J. Wagner, MD, Scholarship in Public Health
Bettye Appiah Apenteng

Doctoral student in Health Services Research, Administration, and Policy

Ms. Apenteng is a third-year PhD student. She received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, in neurobiology, with a second major in individualized studies, with an emphasis in public health. She has successfully passed her comprehensive exams and has begun work on her dissertation, focusing on organizational performance in the US hospice industry.

2012 Carruth J. Wagner, MD, Scholarship in Public Health
Maha Farid, MS

Doctoral student in Environmental Health, Occupational Health, and Toxicology

Ms. Farid finished medical school in Egypt in 2001 and earned a master’s degree in forensic medicine and toxicology in 2006. In 2008, she was awarded a scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt to pursue a PhD in toxicology. Ms. Farid joined the UNMC College of Public Health in 2008 and has worked in the pulmonary research lab under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Rennard since 2009. Her PhD project focuses on the effect of cigarette smoking on lung fibroblasts and how this contributes to smoke-induced lung diseases, specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

2012 Carruth J. Wagner, MD, Scholarship in Public Health
Leah Frerichs, MS

Doctoral student in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research

Ms. Frerichs is a second-year PhD student. She is originally from a small town in northwest Iowa. She received her bachelor of science degree in community health education from Iowa State University and her MS degree in community and behavioral health from the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Before she began the PhD program at UNMC, she worked for approximately five years for the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board managing a cancer education and outreach program. Ms. Frerichs is currently focused on projects related to childhood obesity prevention using strategies such as youth advocacy and environmental design.

2012 Carruth J. Wagner, MD, Scholarship in Public Health
Tao Li, MD

Doctoral student in Health Services Research, Administration, and Policy

Dr. Li was born in China. He received his bachelor’s degree in engineering, with specialization in transportation and logistics. He then received his MD degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, specializing in cardio-thoracic surgery. Dr. Li hopes to combine what he learned in medical school about taking care of one patient at a time with the broader horizon of public health, to help build a health care system of efficiency and equity. He has interest in health services research on health economics, health policy, cardiopulmonary disease, and cancer prevention.

2012 Carruth J. Wagner, MD, Scholarship in Public Health
Veenu Minhas, PhD

Master of Public Health student in Epidemiology

Dr. Minhas has a PhD in virology and has been working in the field of viral epidemiology for the past eight years. She has been involved in an epidemiological study to investigate the incidence and transmission of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus in Zambia, Africa. This virus causes Kaposi’s sarcoma and lymphomas in immunosuppressed people, especially in HIV+ patients. Dr. Minhas’s two trips to Zambia sparked her interest in public health, and upon graduation, she wants to remain engaged in infectious disease epidemiology research.

2012 Chancellor Robert D. Sparks, MD, Pre-professional/Undergraduate Student Scholarship in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Hollan Pile

University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Arts and Sciences

Ms. Pile was born and raised in Norfolk, Nebraska, and has attended UNO since 2009. Currently, she is studying community health education to further her pursuit of becoming a registered nurse. She was recently initiated into the health education honorary, Eta Sigma Gamma.

2012 Chancellor Robert D. Sparks, MD, Public Health Student Research Award
Austin Person

MD/MPH student in Community Health Education

Austin hails from right here in Omaha, Nebraska. When he left for college in 2003, he did not have the slightest idea what he would do with his life. It was during his four years at North Park University in Chicago (located in the third most diverse ZIP code in the country) and through interning on the city’s southside that Austin developed great interests in public health, social justice, and community development.

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