Engaging communities one listening session at a time

First-generation graduate student Ashley Estwin is already making an impact thanks to hands-on learning experiences offered at Mizzou. Now, the College of Health Sciences graduate is ready to apply new skills in the workforce and create change in her community.

Dec. 11, 2023 
Contact: Deidra Ashley, ashleyde@missouri.edu
Ashley Estwin grew up in Fresno, California, and after completing her undergraduate degree on the West Coast, she moved with her family to central Missouri. Estwin’s sister finished her undergraduate program at the University of Missouri, so Estwin decided to tour MU’s campus as she began looking at options for graduate school herself. 

While visiting campus, she felt inspired by the lively culture and the enriching programs Mizzou has to offer. After enrolling in MU’s Master of Public Health program, Estwin’s curiosity, listening skills, and focus on community engagement quickly allowed her to make a real-world impact.  

Read on for a Q&A with Estwin about her Mizzou experience. 

How did you take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities on campus? 

I took advantage of hands-on learning opportunities by asking for them — a skill I learned from my mom. I appreciate the investment and support I received from the Mizzou faculty, especially Department Chair Brian Houston, who advised me during my work on the state health assessment project. I got to travel across the state and conduct listening sessions with my colleagues to collect health care data from Missourians and learn about their unique health care needs. We are now using that information to create a comprehensive report that will better inform future health care funding decisions at the state level.  

What's your favorite place on campus? 

My favorite place on campus is Faurot Field because I have so many great memories at football games cheering on the Tigers with my fellow classmates. I have so much pride in our team, and it feels great to support them with others who have the same fierce spirit. 

What’s your favorite Mizzou memory?  

My favorite Mizzou memory is the 2023 Homecoming football game. As a former cheerleader, I enjoyed watching the Mizzou cheerleaders perform. It was also exciting to see Mizzou alumni so engaged.  

Why are you proud to be a Tiger? 

I am proud to be a Tiger because of the strong sense of community and spirit that permeates campus life. Being a Tiger means being part of a legacy of innovation and leadership in an inspiring environment. I am thankful Mizzou faculty has been so committed to my development, and the opportunities for personal and professional growth here at MU have shaped me into a more confident and capable individual.  

What’s next for you after graduation? 

After graduation, I plan to continue working in public health. I will also be exploring new ways to get involved in law and policy work, as that is the core of public health impact.  

Story written by Brian Consiglio

Meet more winter 2023 graduates

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