Graduate student Montray Smith presents posters at pair of international conferences

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“Being a student never stops,” said USF College of Public Health graduate student Montray Smith.  “I was still doing homework in one of my classes while I was in the Netherlands.  I was on vacation, and I had the class PowerPoints and the textbook spread all over the hotel room, and I had to use the hotel computer for Internet service.”

A master of public health candidate enrolled in the Public Health Practice program, Smith’s public health passion is manifest in a pair of poster presentations at international conferences this spring and summer.

COPH grad student Montray Smith presented a poster in Cape Town, South Africa, in April.

COPH grad student Montray Smith presented a poster in Cape Town, South Africa, in April.

She presented “Coordination of Transportation to Special Needs Shelters in an EOC Level II Activation During a Tropical Storm” at the 19th World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine in Cape Town, South Africa, in April.  She also has been chosen to present “Duval County Special Needs Coordination during EOC Activation during Tropical Storm Andrea” at Sigma Theta Tau International’s 26th International Nursing Research Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July.

Smith is no stranger to graduate school or international health endeavors.  A registered nurse for the past 24 years, she already holds a master of science in nursing from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, as well as USF COPH graduate certificates in disaster management and humanitarian assistance from the Department of Global Health.  She has been a nursing instructor for 12 years.

Her nursing experience includes adult medical/surgical, intensive care, post-trauma and disaster relief/disaster management.  As a member of the North-East Florida Disaster Medical Assistance Team since 2002 and a member of the U.S. Disaster Medical System, she has been deployed on numerous national and international medical missions.

A growing interest in public health drew the Jacksonville native southwest to Tampa, USF and COPH.  She said she particularly was drawn to the flexibility of online graduate studies in disaster management/humanitarian assistance and public health practice, and she especially liked the concept of using public health principles in disaster management and relief.

“The program is convenient and affordable,” she said.  “It is an excellent program, and I am very grateful to be a student at USF.  We have some truly great faculty, staff and students, and I am grateful to be a part of the Bulls family.”

Evidently, the student who said that “being a student never stops” meant it in more ways than one.

“I will be pursuing a doctorate in nursing,” she said, “and continuing to do my work in disaster management and humanitarian assistance.”


Story by David Brothers, College of Public Health.