University of Nebraska Medical Center

Aja Kneip Pelster

Student Highlight – Aja Kneip Pelster

Hometown: Omaha

Degree program/concentration – Ph.D. Student, Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research

What brought you to the field of public health? After graduating from UNL, I joined the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan. Because of my brief background in athletic training and lifeguarding in high school, the recruiter suggested public health. It wasn’t long after leaving for Uzbekistan that I realized my passion for the field.

What do you like most about the College of Public Health (COPH)? I enjoy the relationships with instructors and staff at the COPH, who have allowed me to grow and learn outside of the classroom. These individuals and experiences have helped me develop a CV that stands out when it comes to hiring.

What are your career goals after graduation? I was recently hired at the UNO School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation as a member of the public health faculty. I am looking forward to a semester filled with teaching and research with the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative (MSHRC) while also finishing up my studies in the COPH.

Three things people may not know about me: Not many people know that I am an avid knitter, reader, and fly-fisherman. I am currently working on lace shawls and reading the book Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Each year I travel to the Snake River in Valentine with Casting for Recovery Nebraska. This organization assists breast cancer survivors by teaching them how to fly-fish, relax and rehabilitate. This year there will be two retreats in October, and I am excited as I begin my new role as a retreat leader.

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