News & Announcements

CHS Delta Omega chapter welcomes 26 new members

April 26, 2024

Several of the new Delta Omega inductees gathered at Shakespeare’s Pizza this week for an in-person awards ceremony. Photo provided by Jenna Wintemberg

Delta Omega is a national honor society for public health that recognizes outstanding accomplishments in scholarship, research and practice. The Gamma Eta chapter at MU is one of 120 chapters in the U.S. today. 

This year, the local chapter of Delta Omega is inducting 26 new members: seven undergraduate public health students, one first-year MPH student (president-elect), 11 second-year MPH students, five MPH alumni, one honorary inductee and one faculty inductee.

The 2024 Gamma Eta inductees include:

Abbigael Follis
BHSPH Student
Odessa, Missouri

Abbigael Follis will graduate with her Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health with a certificate in biostatistics in May 2024. She will attend graduate school to obtain her occupational therapy doctorate upon graduation. Abbigael is currently researching drosophila and the potential carriers of autism, and she hopes to continue research throughout her career. Motivated by her own cancer diagnosis, Abbigael has a passion for public health and serving others.

Throughout her college career, Abbigael has been involved in numerous extracurricular activities. She is an active member of Chi Omega fraternity, where she has held multiple leadership positions. Abbigael is engaged with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, CHD Families Camp Systole and Mizzou Club Hockey. She is also a competitive cheerleader. Abbigael is excited to continue her education and looks forward to what the future holds. She hopes to make meaningful contributions to the field of public health throughout her career.

Ella Gambaro
BHSPH Student
St. Louis, Missouri

Throughout her undergraduate public health education, Ella Gambaro has advocated for healthcare equity by bridging gaps in communication and building trust within the healthcare system. Her internship with Family Physicians Inquiries Network has provided valuable insights into the process of health care research and publication practices. As a member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Ella has volunteered with various organizations throughout the city of Columbia.

Ella is from St. Louis and grew up on the Hill, with much of her family within walking distance from her home. She is pursuing dual graduate degrees in journalism and public health from Mizzou to further develop her communication skills and deepen her understanding of public health issues. She plans to use her ​​health communication and education skills to help overcome health literacy barriers and promote public health initiatives.

Emily Boyer
BHSPH Student
Carl Junction, Missouri

Emily will graduate from Mizzou with a Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health and a Bachelor of the Arts in Romance Languages with an emphasis in Spanish in May 2024. During her time at Mizzou, she has been involved with the Little Sisters of the Gold Rose (a non-Greek service sorority), Caring for Columbia (she served as executive director for the 2023-24 school year), and has worked as a resident advisor and as a Spanish tutor for three years. She also spent the past semester lobbying for student interests in the State Capitol as an ASUM student advocate.

After graduating, she hopes to stay at Mizzou and earn her master of public health. Her ultimate goal is to work in infectious disease control, and she hopes to be able to use her background in Spanish to ensure clear communication with as many people as possible.

Jackson Coleman
BHSPH Student
Columbia, Missouri

Jackson is a junior at the University of Missouri pursuing a Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health. He has a passion for public health and patient care and is currently working as a CNA in a long-term care facility.

His goal is to attend physician assistant school after graduation and practice medicine to benefit those most in need. In particular, Jackson wants to work with communities struggling with low income and limited access to health care infrastructure.

Laney Tvrdik
BHSPH Student
Wildwood, MO

Laney Tvrdik is a senior from Wildwood, Missouri. She is graduating this May with her Bachelor of Health Sciences in Public Health and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a certificate in Multicultural Studies. After graduation, she will be working as an educational leadership consultant across North America for her international fraternity, Alpha Phi.

During her time at Mizzou, she has enjoyed being involved in many organizations across campus, such as Homecoming Steering Committee, Office of Student Admissions Outreach, Mizzou Study Abroad, and the Panhellenic Association. She hopes to obtain her Master of Public Health or Health Administration and work to improve gender equality, gun safety and mental health for underserved populations. She would like to thank her family, her friends, her co-workers, her advisors and her professors for believing in and empowering her.

Robin Vanderbeck
BHSPH Student
St. Charles, Missouri

Robin Vanderbeck is a first-generation, third-year undergraduate student who will graduate in May 2024 with a Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health, a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, and certificates in Public Health and Gender as well as Multicultural Studies. She is a student research assistant who has presented at conferences while displaying award-winning posters.

She is currently working on the PANDEMIC project with the University of Missouri’s School of Medicine, in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She plans to continue enriching her love of public health by pursuing a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in health promotion and policy at Mizzou. She would like to acknowledge her parents, partner, professors and mentors who have encouraged her and helped her throughout her educational career.

Samantha VanEssendelft
BHSPH Student
Columbia, Missouri

Samantha VanEssendelft will graduate in May 2024 with a Bachelor of Health Science in Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Throughout her time at Mizzou, she has grown to love the city of Columbia and all the local nonprofits have to offer, which is why she is thrilled to stay in Columbia and continue her education.

Bailee Van Deren
MPH Student
Columbia, Missouri

Bailee Van Deren is a second-year MPH student graduating in May 2024. She is currently an epidemiology and communicable diseases intern at the Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. As an intern, she has created reports over current STI rates and trends in Boone County along with a brief covering information about chronic diseases in Boone County and their impact on health.

She hopes to continue her career in epidemiology or research after she graduates to make use of both her MPH and BS in Biology. She is driven to identify health disparities and work to reduce those disparities. Outside of public health, you can find Bailee reading fantasy novels, crocheting, playing and coaching rugby or doing scent-work competitions with her dog Ollie.

Brittany Hengst
MPH Student
York, Pennsylvania

Brittany is a Master of Public Health student with an emphasis in Veterinary Public Health. She received her Honors Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with Distinction and minors in Biology and Wildlife Conservation from the University of Delaware. She then graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Brittany currently works as a small-animal emergency veterinarian. She has educated pet owners about zoonotic diseases, which prompted her interest in public health. In addition to the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases, she is also interested in One Health. Her goal is to combine her veterinary background with her training in public health to focus on mitigating emerging zoonotic diseases. She would like to acknowledge her family, friends and colleagues for their support as she continues to pursue her goals.

Debbie Bennett
MPH Student
Weston, Missouri

Debbie Bennett works as a nutrition and health specialist for University of Missouri Extension, serving Atchison, Holt and Nodaway counties in the northwest corner of Missouri. Debbie teaches evidence-based community education classes such as A Matter of Balance; Stay Strong, Stay Healthy; Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention; Walk with Ease; Chronic Disease Self-Management and Cooking Matters. Debbie also works to implement Policy, Systems and Environment (PSE) interventions in the counties she serves.

Her past PSE work includes implementing an Eat Smart in Parks grant and a worksite wellness grant in Holt County. She has also worked with a health care provider to offer referrals to the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy exercise program in Holt County. Most recently, she has worked with other nutrition and health specialists to provide training to childcare providers to increase the amount of physical activity for children in their care.

Eliza Adil (formerly Peters)
MPH Student
Oxford, Michigan

Eliza is recognized by the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners with more than 13 years of experience as a leader in electrophysiology and cardiac rhythm management. She contributes to future development in her field through instruction, mentorship and course development for entry-level cardiac engineers through advanced cardiac electrophysiology specialists. Eliza hopes to close the disparity gap by using AI in the medical field.

Emma Wilson
MPH Student
Lake St. Louis, Missouri

Emma Wilson completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri in December 2021. She stayed at Mizzou for her Master of Public Health, with plans to complete the program in December 2024.

In January 2022, Emma entered the field and began working for PreventEd as a prevention educator; she has spent the last two years in St. Louis area schools educating students of all ages. She has also taken over as the program manager for a peer-taught cannabis prevention program known as “It’s Complicated.”

Through a cluster randomized control trial, this program yielded significant results on measures related to composite cannabis knowledge and perception of risk with infrequent use. Emma is working and hoping to grow the sample size by implementing the program in high schools across the St. Louis region, Missouri and nationwide.

Grace Adams
MPH Student
Chicago, Illinois

Grace Johnson Adams, MNM, is a second-year Master of Public Health student at the University of Missouri who expects to graduate in summer 2024 with an epidemiology certificate. Throughout her career, she has worked in communications and found a passion in her current role, focusing on environmental health public information and outreach at the Chicago Department of Public Health.

In her time at Mizzou, Grace joined the MPH Graduate Student Association (MPHGSA) as social media chair and later as vice president. Being involved in MPHGSA gave her the opportunity to work with her peers and advocate for other online students.

Grace earned her Bachelor of Arts from Illinois State University and her Master of Nonprofit Management from DePaul University. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband and dog.

Kristy Garceau
MPH Student
Des Plaines, Illinois

Kristy is a Master of Public Health student emphasizing in Health Promotion and Policy. She received her BA in communications from Eastern Illinois University and is the director of development and community outreach at the Center of Concern, a nonprofit social service agency.

Community is central to her personal and professional efforts. Kristy is one of the founding members of SPEAK Des Plaines, a local-focused advocacy group. She also serves on the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners for Des Plaines.

For an internship project, Kristy is coordinating a community strengths and needs assessment in Des Plaines with a goal of informing local decision-makers. Mizzou’s Dr. Mansoo Yu is providing mentorship as her preceptor; Kristy also works as a research assistant with MU’s Dr. Zachary Massey. Kristy thanks her family, especially Art, Lily, Mom, and Dad for their love and support. She also thanks Drs. Massey and Yu for sharing their knowledge and experience.

Sydney Fobbus
MPH Student
Auburn, Alabama

Sydney is from Fort Payne, Alabama. She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Auburn University in 2020. Alongside her studies, she worked as the equipment manager for the Auburn University Women’s Gymnastics team and coached gymnastics at a local gymnasium. Sydney works as a veterinary assistant at a mixed animal practice to gain experience in public health.

She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Veterinary Public Health at the University of Missouri. With aspirations to attend veterinary school, Sydney envisions herself as a dedicated small-animal veterinarian in a rural setting upon graduation.

Ugonna Kanu
MPH Student
Columbia, Missouri

Ugonna Kanu, a devoted full-time graduate student in Public Health, manages her academic pursuits while caring for her two children, aged 5 and 2, with another due in June. Alongside her studies, she serves as a graduate research assistant at the Mizzou Department of Public Health and interns as a community health worker at Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services.

Despite her demanding schedule, Ugonna holds leadership roles in several student associations, including president of Mizzou 2, secretary of AGPSA, vice-president of Mizzou Reuse, Public Health GPC representative, and MU THRIVE ambassador, where she demonstrates exceptional leadership and creativity in executing impactful projects.

She has received prestigious awards including the Mizzou 18 recipient class of 2024, the CHS Dean’s Award for outstanding student research, and being selected as a member of the Gamma Eta chapter of Delta Omega class of 2024. Upon graduation, she will continue her academic prospects by pursuing a Ph.D. in Health and Rehabilitation Science at Mizzou this fall. She is mostly grateful to her spouse, Joel Ihemadu, for his unwavering support throughout her academic journey.

Alexandra Burk
MPH Student
Ballwin, Missouri

Alli earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and exercise physiology at Mizzou before she joined the Peace Corps as a health educator in Ethiopia from 2014-2016. Her time in Ethiopia transformed her perspective on global health, and she learned that being open to new experiences, cultural humility and not taking oneself too seriously are essential when working with different communities as an “outsider.”

Since returning home to St. Louis, Alli has been a nutritionist for low-income women, infants and children (WIC). When she is not engulfed in public health matters, Alli spends her time outdoors with her daughter, practices yoga and Pilates, travels abroad with her friends and family, and likes to get creative in the kitchen making vegetarian dishes. Alli’s main goal after graduation is to work with organizations that focus on improving health and wellness outcomes for women and children domestically and globally.

Emma Wickland, MPH, CHES
Alumni Inductee
Washington, D.C.

Emma Wickland is a research associate with the National Cancer Policy Forum at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Operating within the Board on Health Care Services as a member of the NCPF staff team, Emma and her colleagues aim to help shape the direction of health care through activities pertaining to organization, financing, effectiveness, workforce, and delivery of health care with clinicians, researchers, experts, patients and patient advocates.

Prior to joining the National Academies, Emma worked for the University of Missouri Health Care system in clinical research and patient care roles, the Missouri Immunization Coalition as an intern, and the MU Department of Public Health. She holds undergraduate degrees in sociology and public health, a graduate certificate in epidemiology, and a Master of Public Health in health promotion and policy from Mizzou. Emma is grateful for the support of her family, friends, partner, and Mizzou village.

Evgeniia Belobrovkina, MPH
Alumni Inductee
Columbia, Missouri

Evgeniia Belobrovkina is a doctoral candidate at the Missouri School of Journalism, where her focus is strategic health communication. She also has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public health. Within strategic health communication, Evgeniia’s primary interest is public service advertisements (PSAs) against domestic violence, specifically, using PSAs to promote pertinent healthy social norms. Evgeniia has conducted theoretical, empirical, and methodological studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

She has received several awards from the American Academy of Advertising and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication for her top student papers as well as the 2024 AAA Doctoral Dissertation Award for her dissertation proposal devoted to exploring the views of cultural competence of strategic communication practitioners who participated in developing domestic violence PSAs. Evgeniia plans to continue her professional path both in academia and in the industry through helping organizations create more impactful health-related PSAs.

Madeline Novak, MPH, MLS(ASCP)
Alumni Inductee
Chicago, Illinois

Madeline Novak is an infection prevention practitioner at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She holds two degrees from the University of Missouri, a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Health Science in Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences with an emphasis in Clinical Laboratory Science.

Madeline began her career as a clinical microbiologist and found her true passion of understanding and improving health outcomes during her internship at the Chicago Department of Public Health Immunization Program. She led an analysis to understand how mumps disproportionately impacts communities of men who have sex with men, a study which was published by the CDC.

Madeline’s health care career is driven by a desire to continuously contribute to creating safer health care environments and health care communities through her work as an infection prevention practitioner. When not studying for her CIC, which she plans to sit for this year, Madeline enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors with her husband and dog.

Maegan Hahn, MPH, BSN, RN, BA, LSSGB
Alumni Inductee
Columbia, Missouri

Maegen graduated with her Master of Public Health from MU in spring 2020. She previously worked as a caseworker at Burrell Behavioral Health and as an RN at MU Health Care. Currently, she manages systemwide quality improvement projects for MU Health Care.

Maegan has a passion for wellness and making a positive difference in this world. Her desire is to continue growing her career in public health to increase the difference she can make. Her husband, their three kids, and two dogs are the cornerstone of her life. She looks forward to connecting with fellow public health advocates.

Nicholas Iszler, MPH, REHS
Alumni Inductee
Marshall, Michigan

Nicholas Iszler is a registered environmental health specialist and the noncommunity public water supply program coordinator for the Calhoun County Public Health Department in Calhoun County, Michigan. He also serves as the program lead for the health department’s vector-borne disease surveillance program.

Nicholas has worked in local public health for nearly seven years. In that time, he has worked in a variety of programs, including food safety, on-site wastewater and special projects; he also assisted during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has played a lead role in the onboarding of new inspection software and GIS programs for use in the environmental health workplace.

Nicholas graduated with his MPH in Veterinary Public Health with a graduate certificate in Epidemiology from Mizzou in fall 2023. He hopes to continue working to protect drinking water quality and prevent vector borne disease in Calhoun County, while also continuing to advance technology, efficiency and workforce development in the field of environmental health.

Nick Kohlberg, MPH
Honorary Inductee
Ballwin, Missouri

Nick Kohlberg received a Master of Public Health degree from Mizzou in 2015, with an emphasis in Health Promotion and Policy. He has worked as a public health emergency planner for the St. Charles County Department of Public Health since June 2015.

In his current position, Nick is responsible for maintaining emergency operations plans; developing exercises and training for staff and volunteers; and collaborating with community partners to ensure proper coordination before, during, and after disasters. He currently serves as the chair of the St. Louis Regional Healthcare Coalition and is a member of the Region C Incident Support Team.

Nick is a native of the St. Louis area and an avid fan of college football, basketball, the Cardinals and the Blues. His wife, Sabrina, is also a Mizzou graduate; they have three daughters who keep them on their toes.

Macey Shinn, BSN, RN
MPH Student, President-Elect
Eldon, Missouri

Macey Shinn, a first-year MPH student in the Health Promotion and Policy program, embarked on her journey in public health while serving as a registered nurse. Witnessing systemic issues within health care, she felt compelled to drive change, transitioning to public health nursing to ensure equitable access to high-quality health care services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Macey assumed a pivotal role as clinic manager at Miller County Health Center, leading a team of more than 20 investigators.

Currently serving as a nurse consultant for the Maternal Child Health Services Program at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Macey partners with 111 local public health agencies across the state to address maternal and child health issues. Driven by an unwavering dedication to learning and health equity, Macey is committed to making a lasting impact on public health in Missouri and beyond. Her focus remains steadfast on addressing disparities and improving health outcomes for all citizens.

Macey is being inducted as the president-elect, and she will serve as the Gamma Eta chapter president for the 2024-25 academic year.

Learn more

For more information on how you can get involved with the Gamma Eta chapter of Delta Omega, please visit