Elon students present at American Public Health Association annual conference

Lumen Scholar Nazaneen Shokri participated in a panel with doctoral students around disparities in healthcare for Middle Eastern North African women. Alex Campbell '24 and Morgan Rende '24 presented research on young adults' views of access to reproductive health. The public health studies majors connected with graduate programs and found belonging in the field.

Elon students Alex Campbell ’24, Morgan Rende ’24 and Nazaneen Shokri ’24 presented their research at the American Public Health Association’s annual conference in Atlanta in November.

The conference, held Nov. 12-15, is the largest in the public health field, attracting thousands of professionals, scholars and graduate students to share information and resources around current health issues. Mentored by Assistant Professor of Public Health Studies Yanica Faustin, Campbell, Rende and Shokri each were accepted to present after submitting abstracts of their research.

A female student speaking from a podium beside a panel of other speakers
Nazaneen Shokri ’24 presents her Lumen Prize research around discrimination and preterm births among Middle Eastern North African women at the American Public Health Association Conference in Atlanta.

Shokri, a Lumen Scholar from Newton, Massachusetts, gave an oral presentation about her research examining how discrimination influences preterm births among Middle Eastern North African women. Campbell, a public health studies major from Apex, North Carolina, and Rende, a public health studies major from South Lyon, Michigan, presented a poster about young adults’ perspectives on access to reproductive health following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning a constitutional right to abortion. Kristin Z. Black, assistant professor at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, co-mentored Campbell and Rende’s project with Faustin.

The conference allowed the Elon students to network with professionals and they were often the only undergraduates in the room, Faustin said.

Shokri was included on a panel with doctoral students presenting their dissertations. She said the experience confirmed her desire to pursue a medical degree to become an obstetrician after earning a master’s degree in maternal and child health. It also connected her to a community of fellow Middle Easterners in the public health field.

“The highlight of this enriching experience was the meaningful connections I made with fellow attendees,” Shokri said. “Given the focus of my research on Arab populations, and as a Middle Eastern individual, establishing connections with researchers who not only share my background but also resonate with the same cultural nuances was a deeply rewarding aspect of the event.”

Assistant Professor Yanica Faustin, left, Morgan Rende, Alex Campbell and University of North Carolina Assistant Professor Kristin Z. Black at the APHA conference.

Campbell and Rende said being able to converse with professionals underscored the relevance of their major. Campbell plans to attend graduate school after Elon and discussed those plans with faculty and students from a number of programs. Through those meetings, she identified an additional program opportunity she is now pursuing.

Faustin encouraged her students to present because she wanted them to gain feedback from professionals and to grow their networks before they graduate from Elon in the spring.

“It shows them what is possible in the field, pushes them to gain new skills and see what they are capable of, and provides them the chance to network and expand their horizons,” Faustin said.