Photo by Joe A. Mendoza/CSU Photography
Not only has Keelan Kenny carried a heavy academic load during her time at CSU, she has been engaged in lots of activities outside the classroom as well, often playing a leadership role.
She has double-majored in biomedical sciences and environmental public health, with a minor in Spanish. Kenny is also pursuing a certificate in Spanish for Animal and Care Fields, and she has been a member of the Honors Program as well as a resident assistant. She interned for the City of Vancouver through the National Environmental Public Health Internship Program in 2020, and in 2021, she interned with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to work on a mandatory national reporting system for 136 animal diseases.
Kenny co-founded the CSU Sustainability Club in Fall 2018 and is a Students Empowering & Engaging in Dialogue (SEED) Peer Educator. She was an officer in the Environmental Public Health Student Association and was a lead peer mentor for the Honors Program. She was recently awarded a Fullbright scholarship to pursue a One Health MSc through the Royal Veterinary College in London.
In their own words
Q. What experiences in your life or at CSU have required you to demonstrate courage?
Working as a Resident Assistant (RA) and as a Students Engaging in and Encouraging Dialogue (SEED) Peer Educator have challenged me to demonstrate courage. As an RA, an essential part of your role is to be an advocate for your students. Advocacy requires the courage to speak up for your needs and the needs of others. This can be a vulnerable and daunting task. In the SEED role, courage once again took the form of being vulnerable about both my privileged and marginalized identities. For me, these experiences modeled that courage and vulnerability are often inextricably intertwined. Coming to this understanding has been crucial to my personal development throughout my time at CSU.
Q. What was the most rewarding part of your CSU experience?
The most rewarding part of my CSU experience is the connections I have made. From having the enormous privilege to mentor over 100 first-year Honors students to making life-long friends in the form of both teachers and peers, I have able been to foster both inter- and intrapersonal skills.
Q. What is your advice to incoming students at CSU?
Take the time to do the things that you love and be present in those experiences. I came into CSU as a very type-A student, and while I am still that person to some extent, one of the most valuable things I have learned during college is that it is absolutely OK to make time in your day for things such as reading a non-school-related book, getting lunch with a friend, or playing frisbee on the intramural fields. In fact, this time will make you a productive and well-rounded student.
Q. Can you tell us a bit more about your two internships and what you got out of them?
In the National Environmental Public Health Internship Program, I facilitated the creation of an algal bloom reporting system between local veterinary clinics and the health department. Helping to create this system allowed me to serve as a liaison between the community and the local government. I really enjoyed this internship as I learned how essential it is to contextualize health initiatives to the needs of a given community and find ways to empower local health care professionals to take action towards solving public health issues faced by their community.
My USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service internship informed the transition from a voluntary to a mandatory national reporting system for 136 animal diseases. I specifically assisted in the mapping of relevant stakeholders and disease reporting processes to understand cross-sector interactions and gaps in current reporting systems. It was through this internship that my passion for One Health was solidified.
Q. What are your plans after earning your MSc in One Health?
Upon completion of my graduate studies, I hope to use my education to advocate for communities that have been systematically disadvantaged. I plan to work as a local public health official to gain hands-on experience in a rural and/or underserved community. In this ground-level role, I want to contribute to disease surveillance, prevention, treatment and funding programs.