Kathy Luangrath, HS ’20

Health Studies alum Kathy Luangrath shared a little about her UWB experience and what she’s been doing since graduating from the Health Studies program.

Tell us about yourself and what led you to UW Bothell:

Hi! My name is Kathy, and I am a First-Gen Laotian. Prior to UWB, I was dual-enrolled as a running start student at Everett Community College and the Lake Stevens High School. During my studies at EvCC, I had planned on pursuing nursing. However, due to several circumstances and changes in career goals, I realized I was more interested in public health and community-centered health. After graduation, I decided to apply to multiple public health programs but was compelled to enroll at UW Bothell due to the intimate campus and proximity to home. When I am not working, I am always with my family traveling as much as possible, and taking walks with our two dachshund mixes.

How did your experience in your coursework help you find your career path or area of focus?

With the Health Studies program very versatile, I could construct my schedule to meet my passions rooted in environmental, societal, and systemic barriers to an individual’s well-being and health. Specifically, courses such as Fieldwork, Social Determinants of Health, and Global Health helped me kickstart my interests, leading me to build an interest in both social work and public health. I am most proud of my fieldwork project, where I collaborated with the Rainier Valley Midwifery Clinic on an expandable resource list and a research project with Dr.Early and colleague Hannah Berg. Since then, I have carried on and applied much of what I learned to my current position at the Snohomish Health District.

Where has life taken you since graduation, and what are your future plans?

Since graduation, I have been working along the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Snohomish Health District, serving the community. It has been a rollercoaster of a ride. Nevertheless, it has been gratifying to help work towards a healthier Snohomish County by using health promotion and disease prevention methods taught within the Health Studies program. I hope to further progress my career and educational pathway into bridging my love for public health and social work in the future.

Was there a faculty, staff or student service that had a positive impact on your success?

Dr.Early and Dr.Kenworthy helped get me to where I am today! The support, compassion, and guidance they have passed on during and after my time at UWB is something that I am forever grateful for. I have been able to partake in enriching discussions, a research project, and so much more with their support!

What else would you like to share?

Take time to explore different aspects of the Health Studies program! The Health Studies program is very interdisciplinary with many classes to choose from. Many students attending have varying goals of career paths ranging from individuals wanting to continue into the medical field, health administration, epidemiology, community work, and so on. I was able to explore the many fields that I took an interest in and gain insight into areas that I would never imagine myself learning about. I would also recommend getting to know your professors. They can help guide and support you throughout these years! If I could come back to the UWB, I would go in a heartbeat!