“Receiving a scholarship goes beyond having financial aid,” said Malinee Neelamegam, doctoral student at USF’s College of Public Health. “It inspires me to work harder and to strive for excellence.”
Neelamegam is the most recent recipient of the American Association of University Women International Fellowship. The AAUW International Fellowship allows Neelamegam to continue pursuing her doctoral degree in public health and continue to connect with and empower women through graduate studies and community projects, both in the United States and around the world.
The best part is that this award allows Neelamegam the opportunity to continue pursuing her passion: neuro-epidemiology.
“The field of epidemiology allows me to marry my passion for the science of epidemiology with the ability to influence change that will positively impact population health, specifically in the elderly,” she said.
Originally from Malaysia, Neelamegam came to USF as a Fulbright Scholar to pursue her Master of Public Health. She decided to stay at USF for her doctoral studies because she wanted to pursue her PhD in epidemiology with a focus on neuro-epidemiology and aging.
She said what first got her interested in public health is its ability to impact health status on a population level that transcends geographical borders. Her advisors, Drs. Amy Borenstein and James Mortimer, experts in aging and neuro-epidemiology, respectively, have also played a big role in inspiring her pursuit of neuro-epidemiology.
Currently, Neelamegam remains a full-time doctoral student and a part-time graduate teaching assistant. She is also a member of both the Public Health Student Organization and the Florida Public Health Association.
During her time in the COPH, she has met people from all walks of life and different parts of the world.
“I have been enriched,” she said on the lifelong friendships she has made.
Actually, one of those friendships is with her husband, Sharad Malavade. Malavade is a recent doctoral graduate in the Department of Global Health, and the two met through COPH.
“We’re both public health nerds!” Neelamegam said. “It’s always fun brainstorming and debating about public health issues.”
Neelamegam said she thinks the best part of USF’s COPH is that it produces global public health leaders, and it’s clear that Neelamegam is on her way to becoming one of those leaders herself.
In 2015 so far, along with the AAUW International Fellowship, Neelamegam has also been a recipient of COPH’s Student Honorary Awards for Research and Practice and the Lee Leavengood Senior Program Endowed Scholarship.
Neelamegam said that she is very thankful for the scholarships she’s received.
She said, “I find it gratifying to be able to impact health status at a population level.”
And with her new AAUW International Fellowship, Neelamegam will be able to continue doing just that.
Story by AnnaMarie Koehler-Shepley, College of Public Health. Photos courtesy of Malinee Neelamegam.