Don’t call Evena Miscarlen a super student. She’s simply a woman with a mission and a plan to get there.
“No matter what happens, put in 110%,” said Miscarlen, a junior majoring in public health. “I don’t care if I lose sleep as long as I’m honest with the work that I do.”
Initially, Evena didn’t think college was for her. Then a friend at Florida State University encouraged her to give it a try. Not one to back down from a challenge, she left the comfort of home in West Palm Beach and enrolled at Tallahassee Community College.
“I loved it!”
Two years later Evena graduated from the honors program with a 3.7 GPA.
“Public health is what I wanted to do,” said the Nassau, Bahamas native. “I want to do more than just heal a wound or treat the symptoms; I want to address the symptoms of life—from a community health standpoint.”
Evena had a good feeling about USF. It was the only school she applied to—a risky move these days. Luckily, the gamble paid off and she transferred to USF in the fall of 2012.
In Haiti, only the kids who could afford to pay went to school. Her parents weren’t included in this privileged group and dropped out in grade school. Unfortunately, her siblings didn’t fare much better. She is the second oldest of four children and the only one in school.
“Failure is not an option. I can’t go home,” said Miscarlen. “My parents have already told me they are going back to Haiti as soon as I graduate and get on my feet.”
Well, they should start packing because Evena’s public health career is off to a quick start.
Thanks to introductions made in two public health courses, Evena earned placements with the University Area Community Development Corporation (UAC) and USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.
As an executive aid to the CEO, Evena is intimately involved with programming that transforms the region just west of USF from “suitcase city” to simply the University Area Community. Additionally, she assists the Bryd Institute’s marketing director with initiatives that increase awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and available services.
“I’m just happy to be here,” said Miscarlen. “The experiences I’ve had thus far in my public health classes and these two opportunities are huge stepping stones! I am truly thankful that USF is part of my support system.”
Evena is on track to graduate next spring. Until then, she’s eyeing the presidency of the Undergraduate Public Health Student Association and researching graduate schools. Her ideal program combines a graduate degree in health policy with a juris doctor of law.
“Hello, Evena, this is the president of the United States of America. I invite you to serve as secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.”
For some, but with 110% input and Evena’s determination anything is possible.