WSPHA Scholarship Recipients

WSPHA is committed to making our Annual Conference as accessible as possible by providing scholarships to those in need of financial assistance to attend. Our scholarship recipients are students, special health workers, entry-level professionals and professionals with limited resources from across the state.



"Attending and participating WASPHA conference  gave me an opportunity to explore knowledge on public health issues and as a student it build my career because I got an opportunity to interact with other students and professors from other university. I’m so grateful for their input that they gave for my poster presentation. Above all I’m so indebted to the WASPHA scholarship that enabled me to attend and participate in this conference. I can’t thank you enough for the great privilege that I got from you."
-REBECCA NALUNKUUMA, Eastern Washington University



 "Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA) conference is a great venue to meet public health professionals who are doing incredible work in the field. As a future professional, it is essential to know what other people are working on in different parts of Washington state. I attended the conference last year and the information I received provided insights on how the field is different in the real world compared to an academic setting. In addition, networking is essential in the field of public health. Since I will be graduating in December, it would be in my best interest to network with the public health professionals as I enter the workforce."

-DILLI GAUTAM, Eastern Washington University



 "I am a community planner with the National Park Service and through our community assistance program I support outdoor recreation and conservation projects across Washington. Not a traditional WSPHA member or conference attendee! Trained as a landscape, I appreciate the impact of the built and natural environments on health and have worked to integrate public health considerations in projects and to open the conversation about health with partners and the community. My training on public health topics has been on the job and includes the good fortune to have public health professionals among colleagues on a number of community projects. This scholarship provides me a rare and more immersive learning environment about public health practice and an opportunity to meet practitioners across the state. Thank you for the scholarship!"
- ALEXANDRA STONE, National Parks Service



"As a recent public health graduate, it is important that I am able to make connections and network with public health practitioners around the state. This scholarship is giving me the opportunity to make professional connections, learn about what is happening in my state, and explore new areas of interest. Public health is important to ensure that our population is healthy and future generations can continue to live longer, happier, healthier lives."
- NYKA OSTEEN, University of Washington



"Being a scholar recipient for the Washington State Public Health Association (WSPHA) is an absolute honor and privilege. Thanks to the committee and member donations, this scholarship provides me with the opportunity to develop and network as a new public health professional. I look forward to seeing collaboration, education, and motivation being practiced at this signature event. By removing the barrier of limited resources, I too can build my professional foundation and learn how to mobilize a generation of public health advocates. It is evident that public health impacts our lives every day. It is inspiring to be a part of a growing profession where our work is about investing in ourselves and each other. Public health is important because it addresses all sectors of our population’s health and well-being. It focuses on preventative care and advocates for individuals who experience systematically greater health obstacles. Because of this, I am excited to learn about Washington State’s public health and the direction we aim to improve our profession."
- DILLON VAN RENSBURG, Sea Mar Community Health Center



"This scholarship is significant because it gives me the opportunity to present important research that is relevant to various communities. As a woman of color public health is extremely important because I am able to address the various health disparities and further alleviate barriers that are affecting marginalized communities."
- CHARITY AKHIDENOR, University of Washington Bothell





“As a Masters of Public Health candidate just a few months away from graduation, a scholarship to WSPHA meant a lot to me. Many of the sessions I attended were very relevant to the research I am doing to graduate. This provided me with a lot of ideas and resources through experts in the field. I had the opportunity to learn about many of the awesome projects going on across our state and network with people who share many of my same interests and values. I continue to be amazed by all of the great work organizations around the state are doing. It is an even greater honor to see these organizations present on their successes. I look forward to working in the public health field and visiting WSPHA again! Next time, maybe I will have the opportunity to present on my successes in public health!”
—MORGAN O’DELL, Eastern Washignton University




“As a relatively new public health professional, the WSPHA Conference greatly expanded my network and knowledge of current public health practices being utilized across the state. Moreover, I will be able to take back this information to my agency and agency partners to work more collaboratively and more efficiently. As an added bonus, I got to meet new colleagues, build new connections, and see old friends. Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to attend this year’s conference or have had the opportunity to feel refreshed and inspired to move forward in the field of public health. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, and for continuing to allow students and emerging professionals to engage in a truly unique experience.”
—JOLYN HULL, Community Choice Health & Education Institute




“As a young professional I am constantly seeking opportunities to develop my understanding, knowledge, and personal philosophy in regards to Public Health. The individuals I met, the sessions I watched, and the passion for Public Health shared between all attending the conference has made such an impression on me. I had the chance to meet with other young professionals at the poster session, discuss how to incorporate lessons learned from presentations, and brainstorm what areas of public health can be better served at the social hour. I walked away from this conference with invaluable experiences, meaningful connections, and respect for the commitment that the members of the WSPHA dedicate to their communities. Thank you WSPHA for the chance to attend the conference. It would not have been possible without your support.”
—SARAH BRAUNEIS, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance




“The Washington State Public Health Association conference provided me with opportunities to connect with my peers, learn about innovative approaches to public health, and discover evidence-based and other best practices that equipped me with actionable strategies to use in my daily work. The conference also provided me with the opportunity to present my research in a professional setting. I made valuable contacts and attended diverse presentations that will be essential to my professional growth. I am so grateful and I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to attend the Washington State Public Health Association conference!”
—APRIL GUNDERSON, Eastern Washington University






“Being a WSPHA scholarship recipient was a complete blessing. I have been trying to go to conferences for years but I couldn’t afford to spend even the student rates. Thanks to this scholarship, I was able to meet many incredible new people and listen to some extraordinary talks. Everyone that contributed to the scholarship fund has my sincerest gratitude!”
—BRANDON SNAILER, University of Washington







“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the WSPHA annual conference. The presentations and plenary speakers gave me valuable insights into how research can support culturally-relevant health programs that share power and resources with underserved communities in a meaningful way. This scholarship is a wonderful resource for students and low-income people to network, share their expertise, learn, and advance their public health endeavors.”
—ORLY STAMPFER, University of Washington






“It was so great to see what people are doing in the field of public health, a field that I have just started studying. I was so inspired by their passion and intellect for the work they are involved in every day. People were so welcoming to me. I often sat at a table by myself, but later struck up conversation with those at sitting at my table with me. It felt like I was in a great community that respects respects each other. ”
—JESSICA FERRO, University of Washington School of Public Health





“Receiving the WSPHA 2017 scholarship shaped my understanding and awareness of the interconnected efforts happening in Washington to improve community health. I was able to hear and learn from inspirational community health advocates, workers, leaders, representatives, and students. During the conference, I had copious opportunities to meet presenters and attendees, and ask them questions about their interests, projects and experiences. The conference helped me connect with community leaders and health organizations that inspire me, and who I hope to oneday work alongside. ”
—KELSE KWAISER, WA State Board of Health






“Receiving a scholarship to attend WSPHA meant I could connect with public health leaders engaged in similar work. Those I spoke with when I presented my thesis shared their nuanced understandings as public health researchers and practitioners experiencing the issues I focus on in my research. Attending the conference allowed me to connect in person with public health leaders from all over Washington with whom I had previously worked remotely but had not had the opportunity to meet in person. I also connected with other public health leaders in Washington whom I admire tremendously. The conference exceeded all my expectations and was a fantastic experience for my development as an aspiring public health scholar. ”
—MIA T. VOGEL, University of Washington





Kelly Cronic

“The Washington State Public Health Association’s Annual Conference did not only allow me to experience presenting my research in a professional setting for the first time, but it also gave me the opportunity to learn more about the intriguing and current public health issues of today from experts in the field…. Providing knowledge and questions that maybe the presenter has not considered yet. And that is exactly what I received. I fully believe that all undergraduate students should experience attending a conference such as the WSPHA’s annual before moving on to the “real world” or continuing on to further pursue a higher education. I have developed a greater knowledge about the importance of collaboration, and I also specifically have widened my networking contacts. Thank you to WSPHA’s Scholarship Program!”
—KELLY CRONIC, Central Washington University





Herakles Li

“Students and young public health professionals are some of the people that benefit the most from attending conferences. It is at these events that we make connections and hear talks that are integral to our professional growth. It is also a time when we often lack the means to attend. This is a tragedy as attendance is not just to our benefit, but to that of the conference, because diversity and equity matters in our workplace as much as our work.  Scholarships represent an investment in equity. They help balance the scales for those who otherwise lack the means. They help increase the diversity of the voices present and represent an investment for the future of Public Health in Washington.” 
—HERAKLES LI, Public Health – Seattle & King County




Tatiana Kaehler

“The WSPHA conference greatly expanded my understanding of public health issues in our state by giving me the opportunity to present my work to a room full of public health experts, attend a diverse array of workshops and presentations, and meet professionals from a variety of areas in public health. These inspiring and informative learning opportunities would not have been possible had I not received a scholarship from WSPHA. By providing scholarships to students, entry-level professionals, and low-income individuals, WSPHA is removing a key barrier to growing public health’s aspiring future leaders.” 
—TATIANA KAEHLER, Public Health – Seattle & King County




Laura Tucker

“I am deeply grateful for the scholarship to attend the WSPHA conference this year…. I had been invited to co-present a climate change session with Marnie Boardman. Due to the draconian cuts to our CPG grants, there were no funds in our budget to attend. My boss agreed to cover my hotel and meals if I could get a scholarship. Your generosity allowed me to fully participate as a presenter and as an eager participant….The networking opportunities to learn, share and connect for future collaboration were extremely valuable! It was the proverbial ‘drink from a fire hose’ for me! So much to learn and share in three packed days. I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to attend this outstanding conference. I will continue to spread what I learned and gained far and wide.” 
—LAURA TUCKER, Jefferson County Public Health