Public health graduate finds balance in her final semester


KENNESAW, Ga. (May 19, 2020)For thousands of Kennesaw State students each semester, graduation represents a defining moment. It is an opportunity to reflect on their entire educational journey – the mentors they found, the friendships they made and the opportunities they seized. In recognition of that, we are spotlighting students who are completing their final semesters at KSU. Honors student Adrianna Jackson of Columbus, Georgia, who earned a degree in public health education from the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services and graduated with the Honors Research Scholar designation, shares in her own words her journey at KSU.

Adrianna Jackson

I fell into public health education. My original major when I came to KSU was nursing, but I ended up switching to public health. A close friend of mine was engaged in the public health program and I was always fascinated with her coursework as well as the work of public health professionals. Once I changed my major to public health, I never looked back! I absolutely love engaging in public health work and would have it no other way.

Balancing my final semester of courses along with my internship and two capstone projects has been challenging to say the least. Not only do I have to balance my academic priorities, I am also a wife, and I balance working two part-time jobs. Thankfully, I am one of those people who thrives under pressure; otherwise this semester would surely be the death of me. This final semester has definitely pushed me to manage my time effectively and use all resources possible to make sure that I do not miss any assignments or deadlines. A majority of my success this semester I would attribute to the support of my family and friends, I truly would not have made it through this semester without them.

Thankfully with the shift to remote learning, I did not have many accommodations to make. Prior to the university transitioning from in-person classes, I was able to complete the focus groups necessary for my Honors capstone project. From there I made a plan to continue my research through the formulation and distribution of an online survey. One of the major accommodations that I had to make was to eliminate the in-person workshops I planned to implement after analyzing the data from the survey.

The impact that the shift to remote learning had on my internship and seminar course I found to be a bit more challenging. However, my internship site supervisor proved to be extremely flexible in allowing me to have autonomy over the remote tasks to be sure that I am completing the necessary requirements. With that being said, I have embarked on hours of data entry, virtual trainings, and online webinars.

My professors played a very integral role in helping me manage my capstones. Dr. Jane Petrillo and Dr. Mari-Amanda Dyal both made themselves readily available for any questions or concerns that I had. Both professors stayed in constant contact with me via email, and Dr. Dyal even went out of her way to have FaceTime meetings with me. Both Dr. Dyal and Dr. Petrillo were hands-on from the onset of these projects and ultimately made sure that I had everything I needed to be successful.

For my Honors capstone project, I was required to work with faculty in my major on a project that captures the culmination of my academic course load and my own interests and goals. Because much of my major comprises research elements, I decided to complete a research capstone project examining how college students, specifically those at KSU, engage in self-care activities.

For my public health capstone project, I was required to complete a 400-hour public health internship as well as the coursework assigned for the seminar portion of the course. I am currently interning at SisterLove Inc. as a Health Education and Prevention Intern, where I complete a variety of duties as they are assigned.

Ultimately my capstone projects provide me with an opportunity to showcase all the knowledge I have gained in my public health undergrad career. From these projects, I hope to gain valuable knowledge and experience to help propel me in my public health career. Despite the challenges they bring, I know that in the end they will place me at a far greater professional advantage.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit