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School of Public Health News September 11, 2023

Wenqian He, Sandeep Chowdary Vejandla, and Kalea Jones.Three students have been selected for the prestigious Dean’s Excellence in Research Doctoral Fellowship, established in 2022 by Paul Erwin, M.D., DrPH, dean of the UAB School of Public Health. The new, fully funded scholarships began in fall 2023 and were created to recruit, retain and graduate public health doctoral students of high distinction from UAB. One scholarship per academic department in the School of Public Health is available to award each year for any PhD or DrPH concentration. The scholarship includes up to four years of tuition, insurance and a stipend.

“We are committed to supporting students on their academic journeys,” said Paul Erwin, M.D., DrPH, “and one way to show this commitment is through the creation of this fully funded doctoral scholarship. We believe it will ensure that the UAB School of Public Health remains competitive among our top-ranked peers, retains the best talent possible and removes barriers that may otherwise prevent students from choosing our doctoral programs.”

This year’s recipients include Kalea Jones, Department of Health Behavior; Sandeep Chowdary Vejandla, Department of Biostatistics; and Wenqian He, Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Under the scholarship, each recipient maintains research and teaching responsibilities while working with a School of Public Health faculty mentor and advisor with expertise aligned with the fellow’s research interests. While enrolled, students participate in research activities and over a period of three successive course offerings (of the same course), the student progresses from Teaching Assistant to Co-Instructor to teaching the course. In addition to regular classes and meetings, the cohort will also meet with Dean Erwin monthly to discuss research and coursework.

Kalea Jones (Health Behavior), a native of Birmingham, AL received a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders and a Master of Science in Speech Pathology from the University of Alabama before completing a Master of Public Health from UAB. Sandeep Chowdary Vejandla (Biostatistics), a native of India, received a Master of Science in Mathematics and PhD in Applied Mathematics from UAB. Wenqian He (Environmental Health Sciences), a native of China, received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Zhengzhou University

The School of Public Health’s goal is to award five new scholarships each year until it reaches a “steady state” of 20 fully funded scholarships. All students who apply in any of the School of Public Health’s PhD or DrPH programs will be considered for these scholarships, with the departments selecting the recipients based on the strength of application and highest potential for success. Learn more by visiting the School of Public Health’s Scholarship page.

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