Caroline Elisabeth 2022 – Duane Reznechek Scholarship recipient

Where are you from originally?
I am from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Where are you going to school, what is your major, and how do you intend to use your major?
I will be attending Boston University School of Public Health, where I will be majoring in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, as well as Health Policy and Law. With my Master of Public Health, I intend to work toward creating policies that equitably address major health gaps.

Tell us a little bit about your family and friends growing up, and any positive effect that they had on your willingness to work hard.
I was fortunate to have parents who were able to put me in positions where I could pursue any interests I had growing up. I relished the ability to try many different activities and interest areas. When I stumbled upon something I loved, I was able to fully commit to that activity. Keeping that attitude through undergrad led me to find the field of public health, one I didn’t know existed before college. I am incredibly lucky to be able to pursue the field I am passionate about and that knowledge makes me work harder to create positive impacts.

When was it that you realized that only you could be responsible for your future, and in what ways did you take control of your life after that?
When I graduated undergrad in 2020, I was thrust into a disorienting world with little idea of how to navigate it. No one around me knew how to help me find my first post-college job during a pandemic or how to become a fully financially independent working adult in a foreign country. I took on the challenge of becoming fully financially literate as well as understanding how to manage my visa, insurance, and savings because there was no one else who was going to do it for me.

Do you have any mentors who inspire you to work hard and chase your dreams today? If so, who, and what do they mean to you?
My high school hockey coach Sara has become a lifelong mentor and friend. Since I was 15 years old, she has held me to high standards and been a cheerleader every step of the way. I am continually impressed by her accomplishments in hockey and academia, but her morals and care for those around her are what I want to live up to most. I love having her on my side and I will always hold her as an inspiration for how I conduct myself.

Are there any causes that you feel strongly about, that you would like to give back to someday, or that you’ve been able to help out so far?
I care deeply about ensuring that traditionally neglected communities (specifically incarcerated people and people experiencing homelessness) have access to comprehensive healthcare. I hope to do work that impacts the accessibility of healthcare, whether that means working directly with grassroots programming or working at a larger scale, impacting health policy.

What keeps you motivated through long weeks of work and study?
By making sure I have a balance of fulfilling activities and social engagements separate from work and study, I allow myself to stay invigorated and avoid burnout.

Why do you think it’s important for today’s undergraduates to have a clear understanding of debt and finances?
The financial decisions you make in your late teens and twenties can be some of the most impactful on your financial health in the future. Regardless of your financial background, having a thorough financial literacy will allow you to have more control over what would otherwise feel daunting and unmanageable.