FER Student Spotlight: Audrey Bowen

Name: Audrey L Bowen

Major and Concentration: Environmental Technology and Management.  Minors: Biological Science, Environmental Toxicology, Environmental Science

Year: Senior (May graduation)

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

What led you to select your major at NC State?  

The course catalogue which provided a wide range of hands-on and field work labs. I knew I wanted something in the environmental field, but the course catalogue, high graduating job percentage, and high starting salaries guided me to ETM.

What has been your favorite course at NC State?

Physics with Professor Keith Warren. He was so energetic and made physics so fun that I would call my mom to talk about what I learned after class.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of the classroom?  

Lift weights. I have always been into sports since I am a pretty competitive person, and lifting weights is a great outlet for that.

Tell us about a hands-on experience you had at NC State and how this experience will prepare you for a future in graduate school?  

Terrie Litzenberger’s ET 201 water quality course. She required us to keep a field notebook and an updated list of field equipment used for water quality testing. Having this list later proved very advantageous when applying to Master of Science and Public Health Programs because one major component of the field is water quality. Knowing how to use these instruments gave me a huge advantage and distinguished me from other applicants.

What do you intend to study in Graduate school? Why?  

I will be pursuing a MSPH in Occupational Health/Industrial Hygiene. After a few years of being an Occupational Health and Safety/Industrial Hygiene Intern, my enthusiasm and passion for this field has only grown. The field is so elastic in career options, from the possibility of working at NASA to being Wake Med Hospital’s Director of Health and Safety, there is never monotony. As a woman in this male dominated career, it is important to receive all of the education I can get. Knowledge is power!

How did you prepare to apply to Graduate school?  

I started researching graduate schools a year before I needed to apply. After picking my top school, I arranged a visit with three of the professors who I shared interests with (road trip to Baltimore..). Making any type of online or in-person connection with professors will help your admission chances. The next obstacle to overcome was the GRE. I took the GRE for the first time about 8 months before I could apply to graduate school. I ended up taking it two more times and enrolled in a Kaplan prep course which helped me achieve very high scores. The applications for my program opened in August and I had everything submitted by September, always submit early.

What institution did you choose? What influenced your decision?  

I was accepted 4/4 at Tulane, Emory, Brown, and Johns Hopkins, but Johns Hopkins was always my first choice since they are number one in the country for my field. My program is called MSPH in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering with a track in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. When deciding between schools I considered country and world rank, courses offered, supporting agencies (ex: NIOSH), current/previous research, and matching interests with professors. Meeting with JHS professors and touring the facility solidified my choice of Hopkins.

Do you have any advice for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a higher level of education?

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Do thorough research about the programs and try to physically meet professors.
  3. Complete internships/make connections with professors because good letters of recommendation are imperative.
  4. Go into detail on your resume and elaborate on relevant experience.
  5. Show enthusiasm through your writing/actions.