Student Spotlight: Onyeka Okeke

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April 28, 2017

My name is Onyeka Okeke, and I am from Marietta, Georgia. I graduate in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Behavior.

I chose to obtain my degree in public health because it brought together my passions for public service, healthcare, and science. From a young age, I knew I wanted to have an impact on the healthcare field and found public health to be a fulfilling way of doing so. I also admired the fact that, through public health, I would have the ability to positively influence the health of multiple communities.

Health and Wellness was the first public health course that I took at UGA, and I remember genuinely looking forward to going to class every day. I knew then that public health was a field that I wanted to explore even deeper. From that point on I sought out courses, campus organizations, and internships which shaped my objective to one-day become a healthcare executive. Healthcare management proved to be an excellent blend of several of my interests and strengths— public health, leadership, management, analytics, and law. In my career, I hope to influence healthcare decisions that reduce disparities in access to comprehensive, cost-effective, and quality healthcare services, specifically for those in underserved communities. Thankfully, I have had excellent professors and mentors at UGA who have invested in me and helped me towards achieving my goals.

One of the campus organizations I have enjoyed the most is being a board member of the University Health Center’s Student Health Advisory Committee (S.H.A.C.). I had the unique opportunity to work with a diverse team of students to develop health initiatives and campaigns and meet with key stakeholders to discuss how the University Health Center can provide health services that address the health needs of the student population. I also directed and filmed a short series of videos to promote the services provided by the University Health Center. I can certainly say that my time as a member of S.H.A.C. helped me grow as both an advocate for my community and a future healthcare leader.

During my time at UGA, I also had the wonderful opportunity of holding internships at the University of Michigan Health System, Emory Healthcare, and Piedmont Athens Regional. Each of these internships further exposed me to the nuances of our healthcare system and reinforced my desire to pursue a career in healthcare management.

Being inducted into the Blue Key National Honor Society has been one of my biggest accomplishments while at UGA. Blue Key recognizes men and women of outstanding character and ability who have achieved distinction for their leadership abilities as well as recognition for scholarship and service. To know that the dean and faculty members of the College of Public Health found me worthy of such an honor was an incredible feeling. During my freshmen year, I remember being told, “Don’t ask how the University of Georgia will change you, ask yourself how will YOU change the University of Georgia?”  I am glad to know that I have left my mark on an institution that has provided me with an abundance of opportunities and poured so much into me.

After graduation, I will attend Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, where I will be a Master’s degree candidate in the Health Administration program. While at Johns Hopkins University, I look forward to using my public health background to serve and impact the local Baltimore community. In the future, I also look forward to exploring my interest in law by pursuing a law degree. Overall, I hope that I can continue to inspire other women and minorities to achieve their highest academic and professional endeavors. I am thankful to the University of Georgia and to the College of Public Health for all the opportunities that they have afforded me.