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Meet the 2019 NEHA/AAS Scholarship Recipients

Date posted: Monday, May 20, 2019
Blog poster: Jonna Ashley

For over 23 years, NEHA and the American Academy of Sanitarians (AAS) have partnered to offer scholarships to deserving environmental health students. The purpose of the NEHA/AAS Scholarship Program is to encourage students to make an early commitment to a career in environmental health as well as to inspire past and present graduates to pursue postgraduate studies in environmental health sciences. NEHA is pleased to announce the following 2019 scholarship recipients:

Graduate Scholarship Recipient: Tristin Christopher

Tristin is enrolled in Oregon State University's Professional Science Master's Degree Program in Environmental Science, where she is focusing on water resources and plans to graduate in 2021. She is an REHS/RS (EHS-1) working for the Eau Claire City-County Health Department and manages the City Rental Registry Program enforcing all housing and occupancy codes. Before pursuing a master's degree, Tristin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a BS in Environmental Public Health and worked for the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Program inspecting restaurants, recreation areas, and retail food establishments. She investigated foodborne and waterborne illnesses and reviewed plans for health-related issues.

Tristin's overall goal is to obtain a leadership or management role at the Eau Claire City-County Health Department and continue supporting and growing her knowledge base in their environmental health division. Tristin has been involved in the health department's Lyme Disease Research Program, inspected wells and food processing facilities, and performed water sampling as it relates to disease prevention. As a student, she has made presentations at the Minnesota Environmental Health Association and the Wisconsin Environmental Health Association's conferences. Her letters of recommendation note that she exhibits leadership and initiative in her work and is an independent thinker.

Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient: Grant Ruppert

Grant is a NEHA member who is attending Central Michigan University pursuing his BS degree in Environmental Health and Safety with a minor in Community Health and expects to graduate in December 2019.

This summer, Grant will participate in NEHA's National Environmental Public Health Internship Program in Van Wert, Ohio. After graduation, he wants to work in a local health department and eventually move into air and water quality and remediation activities. He also plans to obtain an MS degree in environmental health. Grant desires to provide services to his community, especially "at-risk" communities, and wants to involve himself in professional organizations in order to stay current on environmental health issues. His preferred career path has always been environmental health, and he is constantly exploring ways in which human health can be improved by addressing environmental and social factors. Grant is excelling in his studies at CMU maintaining a high GPA and is in the top 5% of his class. He has shown an interest in a variety of facility inspections including those associated with hospitals. As noted in a letter of reference from one of his professors, he has assumed a leadership position and set the standard for students in one course. Grant has, on his own, taken FEMA courses, and become Serv-Safe Certified and hazardous materials trained.

Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient: Alicia Reitz

Alicia attends Western Carolina University majoring in Environmental Health after transferring from Clemson University and is expected to graduate in December 2019.

She wants to pursue a career in environmental health focused on ways that the health of the environment affects human health while promoting sustainability, particularly focusing on environmental issues. Alicia aspires to work in underserved communities to improve public health infrastructure and prevent disease. Alicia is passionate about reducing the number of preventable diseases and health concerns due to the degradation of vital natural resources such as air, water, and the atmosphere. She feels that the study of environmental health provides her with the best tools to accomplish these goals. Alicia consistently meets and exceeds class expectations with her creative ideas and solutions to environmental health issues. Her academic acumen is exemplified by her superior GPA and technical leadership in environmental health programs.

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