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Public Health donors help provide wild, wonderful experience

Public Health donors help provide wild, wonderful experience

Before the fall semester even started, a group of West Virginia University School of Public Health students were already off on their first adventure. Thanks to the generosity of two donors, four Master of Public Health students started their WVU experience in the great outdoors.

Offered through Adventure WV, incoming students Christine Cole, Caterina DeFazio, Charlotte Riggs and Joel Steadman traveled to the New River Gorge for a four-day outdoor orientation program that included rock climbing, whitewater rafting, camping and sightseeing. The overnight trip offers participants experiences and opportunities to learn about themselves, their classmates, WVU and West Virginia.

"Before being accepted into WVU's PhD in Public Health program, I had been away from West Virginia for more than 10 years. I was anxious about how I would readjust,” said DeFazio. “My trip leaders, as well as my trip mates, made me feel at ease. I was able to be myself and have a good time without the stress of classes. I am so happy I went on the trip and got to know each of them!"

Although the program usually includes a fee for transportation, food, lodging and activities, this year’s participants received help covering the costs through the generosity of Dr. Bipin Avashia, a retired occupational physician, and Mrs. Rita Avashia. In addition to giving the master’s program students a rewarding start to their WVU experience, the Avashias provide support for a scholarship in the School of Public Health.

“We wanted to support this team building and collaborating activity to get students to know each other and hopefully work together during their educational endeavors,” said Dr. Avashia.

Now armed with strong connections and team work and leadership skills, Christine, Caterina, Charlotte and Joel will be able to apply what they learned in the wild, wonderful outdoors to their studies and thrive during their time as a graduate student at WVU.




CONTACT: Nikky Luna
Director of Marketing and Communications
WVU School of Public Health