Karina Wilson recognized for contributions to UF Public Health Student Association

Karina Wilson holding certificate
Karina Wilson

Karina Wilson, M.P.H., the applied practice experience and outreach coordinator at the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions Master of Public Health program, was named a finalist for the Advisor of the Year Award presented by UF Student Activities and Involvement.

The award recognizes the outstanding contributions of an advisor to one of UF’s more than 900 student organizations. Wilson was recognized for her efforts to revitalize the Public Health Student Association, working alongside its executive board. The organization languished during the pandemic and its status as an official student organization with UF Student Activities and Involvement had expired, said Cydney Parmar, M.P.H. student and PHSA treasurer.

“There was a lot of brainstorming that went on behind the scenes between Karina and I to see what we could do to bring PHSA back as a core opportunity for M.P.H. students. It really showed how much commitment she had,” Parmar said.

Wilson, a 2021 UF M.P.H. alumna and former member of PHSA, drew upon her own experiences to help restore the sense of community that PHSA brings to M.P.H. students. She started by reviewing the old constitution, working closely with UF Student Activities and Involvement, communicating with prior executive board members about their experiences and consulting with the organization’s current executive board.

group of five people posing for group photo
Public Health Student Association at the Student Activities and Involvement Award Ceremony at the Reitz Union on April 20, 2023. From left to right, Cydney Parmar (Treasurer), Vincent Mei (Secretary), Karina Wilson (Advisor), Vanessa Rodriguez (Historian), and Brenda Maynor (Vice President).

“Her ability to organize our e-board and give us clear directions while we were fumbling with what to do with essentially a brand new organization helped us stabilize while we got a groove,” Parmar said. “She was able to do this without ever overstepping, ensuring she was just helping us with our roles, not taking them over.”

Wilson shares the credit for PHSA’s revitalization with its executive board.

“The executive board for PHSA has great enthusiasm and energy that galvanized our current student body,” she said. “I am very grateful to work with such energized and optimistic students who value warm fellowship, volunteering, and professional development. I look forward to seeing future cohorts build upon the secure foundation that the current executive board is building today.”