University is often where people find their passion and that is no exception for Amanda Stevens. Stevens has a great passion for health and in particular women’s health. She originally came to Western for its nursing program, but soon found that community health education was her true passion after finding it frustrating the amount of women’s health issues that get swept under the rug. She is a strong supporter that a healthy community is one of respect and well-rounded education that provides the health care that people need to thrive.
During her time at WOU, Stevens has been extremely active in the community doing two internships, one at Polk County Public Health and another at Planned Parenthood. Stevens went on to say that the two internships were vastly different. She went on to explain that while the internship at Polk County Public Health gave her the skills for doing research and performing the administrative side of healthcare, working at planned parenthood gave her the legislative side of healthcare. However, she wouldn’t have given up either experience and saw value in both. In addition to the internships, Stevens also worked at both Abby’s house and as part of The Research Institute (TRI) here on campus.
Stevens went on to explain that working at the Abby’s House gave her the opportunity to use and develop a lot of the skills she would need for the future. It also created a way in which Stevens felt like she could contribute to the campus community that she loved dearly. She even said that Abby’s House activities helped her connect to WOU in ways she could not otherwise.
TRI was also another avenue for Stevens to work with her skills on an administrative level. It gave her experience in computing systems and a variety of statistical software that is used to evaluate data in healthcare settings. In addition to her work both on and off campus, Stevens was also involved in the Community and Family Health club for two years serving as President this last year. She also held the Co-President position of the WOU Gerontology Student Association.
Stevens can’t say that she has done this alone, she says that her number one supporter was her dad. Throughout her time at college he has been there every step of the way to lend her the support she really needed. In addition to her dad she mentioned Dr. Cancel-Tirado to be her mentor in her studies and helped her down her academic career.
During Stevens’ years at WOU she has found that her connections were just as important as her grades. She went on to say that some of the most useful lessons she learned during her time at school was through her volunteering, internships, and relationships with university professors and staff. Stevens urges current students to not be afraid to get involved around campus or in causes that you truly care about because it can give you so much more than just skills.
Stevens, while excited to graduate, is sad to leave Western behind. She says that her time here at WOU was well spent and she doesn’t think she could have gotten the same experiences anywhere else. She also said that a comment made by a parent during her tour around campus, going to WOU was like, “getting a private university education experience at the public cost,” really stuck with her and held true making her proud of WOU.
Starting next fall Stevens will be starting her master’s program at Oregon State University for public health. Along with her master’s program she will also be working as a graduate assistant at the Survivor Advocacy and Resource Center at OSU. Congratulations Amanda Stevens, Class of 2016!