Public Health Graduate Marking End, Beginning of UToledo Chapters

December 13, 2022 | Graduate News, News, Student Success, UToday, Alumni, Health and Human Services
By Kirk Baird

Dec. 17 marks the end to a major milestone in Emilee Tancak’s life: The 21-year-old from Parma, Ohio will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in public health.

One month later, she will embark on the next great milestone: pursuing a master’s degree in public health at UToledo.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: UToledo recognizes the Class of 2022 with a series of stories featuring students receiving their degrees at fall commencement.

“I knew I wanted to pursue a master’s in public health because it is crucial for the public health field,” Tancak said. “I was also given advice by faculty at UToledo that staying at UToledo for your MPH has several advantages: familiarity and connection with the professors and university.

“College has allowed me to understand that there are still plenty of things to learn, which is why I want to continue my education at UToledo.”

A career in public health is a natural fit for Tancak. She’s always had a nurturing and empathetic personality, she said, and the desire to help others.

“As I got older, I knew I wanted to help people with their health and wellness,” she said. “When I discovered the field of public health, it aligned with my qualities, morals and goals as a person.”

Dr. Tavis Glassman, a professor of health education and public health in the Department of Population Health, who is one of Tancak’s professors, echoed her innate connections to the profession and its importance: “the gift of helping people to live longer, healthier, happier lives.”

“Given the events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t think of a more important degree to obtain than in Public Health, and I can’t imagine a better-equipped student than Emilee. We need intelligent, dedicated workers with people skills; Emilee has these traits and more. Emilee is going to make a big difference in the community which she chooses to serve.”


Tancak said the pandemic presented early challenges during her time as a Rocket.

“I had one real semester of college before having to move back home due to COVID-19,” she said. “The hardest thing for me was not being able to enjoy the true college experience of being on campus.”

But she countered that once she was back on campus.

She was a highly involved student in high school and wanted to continue that at UToledo including joining Eta Sigma Gamma, a professional organization that, she said, was the perfect fit for her major. In fact, she served as Eta Sigma Gamma’s president for 1 1/2 years.

“During my presidency, I grew immensely as a leader, and wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my public health friends and faculty advisors through Eta Sigma Gamma.”

Another opportunity as a UToledo student was completing her required senior field experience at the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio, where she served as an intern through the summer and continues to work as a part-time employee until she begins her graduate assistantship position in January.

As Tancak prepares for her next chapter as a Rocket, she reflected on her first chapter and what it’s meant to her personally and professionally.

“I have always loved school and learning, so college was always exciting to me,” she said. “I have grown immensely as a person by attending college, and I think UToledo has really taught me real-world applications along with my education. College has allowed me to face challenges, create opportunities for myself, and given me the confidence I need to succeed.”

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