Kent State’s New College of Public Health Graduates Its First Class

The new College of Public Health at Kent State University celebrated its first graduating class of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health (B.S.P.H.) program on Saturday, May 7.

Thomas Brewer, associate dean of Kent State’s College of Public Health, said the new college and the undergraduate program is a great example of higher education responding directly to the needs of potential employers. “The Association of Schools of Public Health estimates that 250,000 public health workers will be needed by 2020,” Brewer said. “These five graduating seniors will be the first in the state to enter the job market with a bachelor’s degree that gives them all the tools to make an immediate impact in the field of public health.”

The B.S.P.H. program offers a variety of concentrations, including a new pre-med track for students who plan to attend medical school. “A public health education is an excellent foundation for a career in medicine, particularly for those interested in a primary care specialty,” explained Ken Slenkovich, assistant dean of the College of Public Health at Kent State.

Students also can study health care administration, environmental health and health promotion. The College of Public Health plans to offer the B.S.P.H. program totally online, making this degree a good option for anyone interested in a health career.

Anna Lelli is one of the inaugural graduates from the college and is passionate about reducing health disparities and promoting healthy lifestyles. She did an internship at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and plans to enter the college’s Master of Public Health program. She advises students to get involved. “You have unlimited possibilities with a public health degree, and the field is always expanding,” she said.

Jhaakira Jacobs also will be graduating. She chose public health because of the opportunities to work for government agencies, hospitals and non-profits. She is enjoying her internship with the American Red Cross. “I get to teach in elementary schools about fire and home safety and health,” Jacobs said.

Elizabeth James received the first College of Public Health Academic Achievement award and will be pursuing the Master of Public Health degree. She said, “Honestly, it was so refreshing to be surrounded by staff and students who were as equally excited about public health as I was. My advisor, my teachers, everyone were so helpful and really made me feel welcome. All of the teachers were motivated and excited to teach, and it just really provided a good learning experience.”

The College of Public Health at Kent State is growing rapidly. The college already has more than 250 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs, but this weekend, the college will stop its steady pace for a moment to congratulate its first five graduates.

“Graduation of these students is a historic milestone for our College of Public Health at Kent State, and we are grateful to them for selecting our program,” said Mark James, founding dean of the college. “These graduating seniors will be looked upon as public health leaders and as role models for many other students to come.”

For more information about Kent State’s College of Public Health, visit or call 330-672-6500.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Ken Slenkovich,, 330-672-6504
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 1:23pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 1:54pm
College of Public Health