Taking chances is part of our Rebel identity.
Public health major Nelsha Athauda forged her own path at UNLV by looking for these opportunities to push herself—even when it came to something as simple as registering for a class.
On a whim, she signed up for a physical activity course that led to one of her favorite college moments. With a group of fellow students, she embarked on a two-day canoeing trip in the Black Canyon that inspired her to specialize in environmental health as she goes on for her master’s degree.
My original post-graduation plan was to immediately begin working on a master's degree in public health, with a concentration in environmental health, at Emory University. Due to the uncertainty of universities across the world being able to hold in-person classes in fall, I may instead opt to defer for a year. During this transitional year, I plan to volunteer as much as I can to support the Las Vegas community and to continue working on some of my research projects, as soon as it is safe to do so.
I have so many great memories at UNLV: dissecting a Nurse shark, harvesting a 1.5 foot long zucchini from the campus community garden, using an x-ray fluorescence gun to test the lead content of plastics.
The opportunities at UNLV are endless because the faculty members truly want to see students succeed and grow. Professors want to hear your thoughts and ideas, they want to help you apply for research grants and summer training programs. The mentorship of my professors encouraged me to get involved in research, pursue leadership roles, and apply for graduate school.
Saying ’So Long'
While I'm glad to graduate from UNLV, I'm sad to leave. I had a great four years on this campus and enjoyed being a student of the School of Public Health very much.
Graduates, this wasn't how our last semester was supposed to go. We were supposed to be spending this time together, presenting our culminating projects, and hunkering down in Lied library to prepare for finals. Instead, we had to endure an overnight transition to online education while many of us lost our jobs and worried after the health of our friends and family. However, during this time of global panic and insecurity, students across all disciplines have been pushing the boundaries of innovation. Problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and creativity in research, the skills we learned at UNLV are needed more than ever. When we graduate this month, we will be working together to create solutions that will have tangible and long-lasting effects on society. Please take a moment to reflect on your personal growth these last few years and take pride in your truly incredible accomplishments.