Public health student switched from biology to public health to get out of the lab

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Kira Frever

Public health student switched from biology to public health to get out of the lab

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Meet Health Hero Kira Frever

Kira Frever is the lead peer advisor in the college’s Office of Student Success and is from Woodinville, Wash.

She was selected because of her outstanding service to the college, Chi Omega Sorority, the Waste Watchers Sustainability Club, and the Student Public Health Association.

Kira also was the sole undergraduate representative serving on the CPHHS curriculum committee.

She is committed to addressing gaps in health equity, hopes to teach and conduct research, and work in maternal health.

What inspired you to study public health?

I was a biology major entering OSU and quickly realized that I didn’t want to do research in a lab all day, I wanted to interact with people.

I took the time to look at OSU’s scheduler and wrote down every class that sounded interesting to take. The common theme was CPHHS and specifically public health.

I met with an advisor, took H100 and immediately fell in love with the study of public health, especially health promotion and health behavior.

I love studying public health, because I love getting to work with underrepresented groups, solving health and social issues, addressing the social determinants of health, emphasizing preventive medicine and improving community health.

After that, I added sustainability as my second major a year later to please the environmentalist within me.

I enjoy the intersection of sustainability and public health, especially the connection between social justice issues and health outcomes.

Tell us about your time at Oregon State. Is there someone or something who/that has helped you succeed? 

One person that made a big impact on my time here was my H376 and H476 instructor Ashley Vaughn.

Ashley inspired me to pursue my interests in the field of HPHB and was always taking the time to chat with me about my life. She made an effort to send different resources or topics to look into after class.

Ashley has helped me realize my goals of becoming a changing force in the field and ideally one day a public health professor, too.

Kira Frever
Kira leading a campus tour as part of her peer advisor role.

My supervisors at my job in the college’s Office of Student Success, Devon and Allison, have also helped me significantly. Even though I just started working here less than a year ago, they both have shown me how to be a better leader.

Devon has shown me how far kind words and a smile can go, and Allison never fails to make me laugh. They have nominated me for different committees to advance my career aspirations and are always reminding me how much they see and appreciate my hard work.

What challenges have you overcome along your academic journey?

My first term at OSU, I struggled in math and chemistry. I’ve always praised myself for my high GPA, but I was not doing great in these classes.

It was really hard for me to feel like I was constantly failing. It was also hard to motivate myself to do my homework because I felt helpless and already knew these subjects weren’t what I wanted to continue. I had to step out of my comfort zone, swallow my pride and ask for help.

I started going to the Mole Hole, Math Center and office hours. I saw my grades start to slowly improve and was proud that my hard work was producing the results I wanted.

I struggled again spring term of my junior year taking H476. It was a four-credit writing intensive course that required a lot of time and prep. It was very overwhelming to manage my social life, my other classes and campus involvement on top of this course.

I had to learn how to adjust my schedule, plan ahead to reduce stress, and stay proactive and productive. It was tough, but I pushed through, got help when I needed and was successful!

Do you participate in any campus or community clubs or organizations?

Yes! I was a member, director of diversity equity and inclusion, and president for Chi Omega Sorority within my first two to three years at OSU.

Currently, I am the logistic officer/treasurer for Waste Watchers Sustainability Club and lead peer advisor for the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

I also serve on the CPHHS curriculum committee and am a member of the Student Public Health Association.

What are your post-college dreams?

Right now, I want to take some time off and travel to Europe for a few weeks.

Afterward, I hope to work as either a community health worker or health educator in Portland.

After working for a few years, I hope to go back to school to continue studying public health — either with a master of public health or a master of maternal health degree.

With my master’s, I hope to work in the field of maternal health, working with underrepresented groups and trying to close the health inequity gap, as well as teach at the university level for a bit and maybe get a PhD researching maternal health outcomes.

What message do you have for your peers or future students?

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and explore.

Whether that is in academics and you take classes that fascinate you, in clubs, organizations or jobs – go meet new people and make friends, or explore Corvallis as a town and a community!

There is so much out there and so many people to meet.

Be bold and reap the benefits.