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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

West Virginia: Student Puts Passion to Work through Research and Advocacy

West Virginia University School of Public Health student Ms. Brittany Smith is following her passion. And that path recently led her to Capitol Hill.


Earlier this month, Ms. Smith traveled to Washington, DC for the Save the Children Action Network’s 17th Annual Advocacy Summit, which brought together nearly 300 voices from across the United States to speak up for children.


Save the Children Action Network’s Advocacy Summit provides an opportunity for attendees to participate in trainings, hear from experts and meet with elected officials to discuss the importance of investing in early childhood education in the U.S. and protecting children living in conflict zones around the world.


“One of the highlights of the conference was speaking with Senator Manchin about a bill that would provide more funding for high-quality early education,” said Ms. Smith. “Early childhood education is a protective factor that reduces the chance of substance use later in life, as well as many other negative outcomes. It is a great investment for a state like West Virginia.”


A native of a rural coalmining community in the heart of Appalachia, Ms. Smith enrolled in the undergraduate public health program at WVU to make a difference in her home state.


While at the School of Public Health, Smith has had the opportunity focus her research on childhood adversity and trauma. One project focuses on exploring Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in women who use substances and the ACEs score in their children.


Ms. Smith plans to earn her PhD in public health sciences and become an early adversity researcher who develops interventions for children whose parents misuse substances. Ms. Smith also intends to return to Capitol Hill to attend the Advocacy Summit in the future.


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