Public Health Buckeyes: Ben Akoa

Meet fourth-year BSPH student Ben Akoa

July 7, 2020
Ben Akoa headshot

Each month, the College of Public Health is putting a spotlight on one of its students. For July's feature, meet Ben Akoa, a fourth-year undergraduate student in public health with a specialization in public health sociology. An active member of the student body, Akoa participates in multiple student organizations, including the Public Health Student Advisory Committee and Buckeyes 4 Public Health. After graduating, he hopes to pursue a Master of Health Administration.

Why did you choose public health?

I chose public health because it’s a field in which I can help people of many different backgrounds and areas of life, while actually seeing the results of what I’m doing. Public health is such an evolving and broad field, and there are so many ways that you can use a public health degree to better the lives of others.

How has participating in student organizations enriched your time at Ohio State?

Mostly by allowing me to meet people from different parts of the college. People have discovered public health in so many different ways — whether on purpose or by accident. I think what these organizations have done the best is allow me to make friends that I know I’ll have for a long time, while also allowing me to expand my public health knowledge.

What has your undergraduate research experience been like?

My sophomore year I became a research assistant at the Tzagournis Medical Research Facility. While I was there, I learned how to apply a lot of the skills I had gained in chemistry and biology classes. The most important lesson that I learned from my research experience is that in the lab even the smallest job or task is vital for everyone to succeed, even if what you’re doing seems pointless at times.

What advice would you give incoming students?

My advice would be to get involved with activities and organizations on campus. You can learn so much from people and make so many friends while also doing something that you enjoy. Going to office hours with professors is also something I would recommend. It may seem scary to go to by yourself but at the end of the day, your professors always want to help you in any way that they can.

How do you see your education shaping your future?

I plan on hopefully going to graduate school to pursue my MHA. I think what makes public health so great is that I feel ready to go down many different career paths. I feel very comfortable with the knowledge I have and will have from the program to tackle a career in public health and be successful. I also know that after I graduate, I can still email and talk to the many professors and advisors in the college for career advice.

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About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College's divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 19th among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 7-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Evaluation Studies (HOPES) and Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP).