New Grad Receives Prestigious Public Health Award

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Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH is one of only three students in the country to receive the Vivian Drenckhahn Student Scholarship from the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). She’s the fourth Charger to receive the award, which is one of the highest honors the organization bestows on students.

May 28, 2024

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH with award.
Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH is the fourth Charger to receive the award.

As a Charger, Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH developed as a mental health researcher and an advocate. She’s passionate about helping to identify gaps in mental health providers’ knowledge and skills while also finding practical solutions to help improve the lives of those struggling with mental health challenges. For Mathew, her last semester as a Charger was particularly memorable: She received the prestigious Vivian Drenckhahn Student Scholarship from the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE).

Mathew was preparing to present her research when she found out she’d received the award. Initially, she says the news caught her by surprise. She describes it as a moment in which you “have to pinch yourself to believe it’s real.” But soon, she says, her astonishment gave way to gratitude, and she was excited.

“Being chosen for this award is incredibly validating,” said Mathew, a new graduate of the University’s Master of Public Health program. “It’s a testament to the impact and relevance of the research I’ve been dedicated to. This recognition shows that my voice matters and that my work is making a difference. It’s a powerful reminder of the importance of advocating for mental health awareness and the need for improved screening and care.”

Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH was recognized as part of SOPHE’s national convention.
Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH was recognized as part of SOPHE’s national convention.

Mathew is one of only three students in the country to receive this prestigious award, which she accepted as part of SOPHE’s national convention in St. Louis. She is the fourth Charger to receive this scholarship.

“This acknowledgment is profoundly meaningful, as it fuels my passion and dedication to continue pushing the boundaries of knowledge and innovation,” said Mathew. “This award is not just a personal achievement, it’s a validation of the collective effort and commitment of everyone involved in this crucial research.”

Mathew has presented her research across the country, including at the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s 46th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions, an academic conference held in San Francisco. She also attended the Connecticut Association of School-Based Health Centers annual conference, where she and her classmate Sanmit Jindal ’24 MPH gathered data for their research focused on the readiness to screen eating disorders and mental health disorders in adolescent populations through school-based health centers in Connecticut.

Mathew credits her experience as a fellow in the University’s WeEmbody Lab with helping her to develop as a researcher and as an advocate. The guidance she received – particularly from her mentor Alvin Tran, Sc.D., MPH – helped her build her skills while also developing a deep sense of responsibility, as well as a commitment to making a meaningful impact in her field and on society as a whole.

Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH (center) in St. Louis
Krupa Ann Mathew ’24 MPH (center) in St. Louis.

Director of the WeEmbody Lab, Dr. Tran says Mathew has demonstrated her dedication to serving others – both at the University and beyond. He says he is very proud of her commitment and of all she has accomplished as a Charger.

“The Vivian Drenckhahn Student Scholarship is one of the highest honors a student can receive from the Society for Public Health Education,” said Dr. Tran. “Krupa has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting inclusion across our campus and in the health education field.

“In addition to her outstanding achievement, Krupa is actively engaged in numerous research projects, including a study that aims to improve mental health screening and care at school-based health clinics across Connecticut,” he continued. “She is surely deserving of this recognition from one of the nation’s leading organizations of health educators.”

Mathew is grateful for the opportunities she’s had make a difference. As a member of the University’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) student ambassadors program, she connected with individuals who share her passion for public health as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. An advocate for health equity, she has found that her passions are closely connected.

While she says she feels honored to have received the award, Mathew remains focused on her mission to help foster a more equitable and inclusive society. She believes there’s much more work to be done, and she hopes to continue to be at the forefront of the push for change.

“My goal is to remain active, productive, and to continuously strive to learn and evolve,” she said. “As I continue on this journey, I hope to inspire others to join me in making a difference, because together, we can create a world where everyone’s voice is heard and where everyone belongs. Ultimately, my aim is to ensure that everyone receives fair and equal treatment, and that their voices are not just heard but valued.”

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