Angela Collins

Angela Collins Profile Picture
Public Health

Mentor / Lab:
Shauna Stapleton

Specific Research Area / Project:
Humanitarian Healthcare

Undergraduate Institution:
Purdue University

Research Profile:

Hello! My name is Angela Collins, and I am a current Master of Public Health (MPH) student of Purdue's Public Health Graduate Program. I am currently completing my public health practicum through service as an educator within the poorest barrio of Granada, Nicaragua, called Pantanal.

In Granada, there is a substantial need for health education. The community lacks trained public health professionals and has limited knowledge of hygiene, sanitation, and other health practices. Many common diseases (bacterial diarrhea, Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and malaria) could be partially mitigated or prevented with education. Under the guidance of healthcare professionals, I am currently working to develop and implement a sustainable, culturally sensitive health education curriculum within a bilingual school of a low-income barrio. I am also educating the parents of the students on important health topics and practices. I am deeply honored to serve in Granada this summer.

In March 2019, I began working with the team in Granada and a diverse group of mentors to understand the needs of the school and community. I have grown in my abilities to communicate effectively across different countries, between English in Spanish, and among a large team. In conducting initial research, I was surprised by pre-existing beliefs among the people. For example, many mothers believe that sickness originates when their babies are too cold; thus, many women dress their babies in excessive layers, resulting in hyperthermia. In developing the health curriculum, it has been crucial to first understand and address misguided health beliefs. Since arriving in Granada on June 5 and conducting field-research, I have further adjusted the initial curriculum. I am teaching the purpose and process of hand-hygiene, dental-hygiene, healthy diet, and exercise to students of low-income families – families who do not have running water or money to buy soap, toothbrushes, or healthy foods. This has presented a major challenge in reinforcing health behaviors amidst barriers to practice. My time among the community has also deepened my compassion and further opened my eyes to inequalities within the provision of healthcare. I am thankful to be serving among the Granada community this summer and ever grateful to Purdue's Public Health Graduate Program for their support in such endeavors!

More information about the school (Granada Christian Education Center) can be found at

Also, here is the link to the video of one of the lessons I taught on hand-washing:

About Me:

Learning for the purpose of giving back is a passion of mine, as I have been extremely privileged to receive a high-quality education while also being taught the responsibility that comes with privilege. As made famous by the popular Marvel comic series “Spider-Man,” the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” holds a lot of truth in today’s modern world. Interestingly, this truth finds its origins more than 2000 years ago through the life and teachings of Jesus. As documented in Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” This ancient teaching has been a treasured truth and a powerful driving force in my life.

My vision is to utilize the knowledge and abilities I have been entrusted with as part of a non-profit organization which is seeking to implement sustainable healthcare clinics in the world’s most impoverished regions. To achieve this, I am in the process of applying to medical school with an ambition of merging the unique disciplines of humanitarian engineering and public health with my future studies of medicine. My hope is that the Master of Public Health is equipping me for leadership in a non-profit medical organization in ways that medical school will not. I believe this program is preparing me to care more effectively for the overall health of the communities in which I serve, to work more efficiently with healthcare officials to develop and improve sustainable healthcare systems and medical policy, and to better aid in humanitarian initiatives, such as nutrition and food security, disease prevention, sanitation, and access to basic hygiene resources. Overall, I desire to care for the health of communities from a holistic perspective, and I believe that Purdue’s MPH program is equipping me with the tools to accomplish this and more.

My passion to serve developing communities was first sparked during a high school missions trip to the Dominican Republic. I was alarmed by their lack of access to basic human rights (such as clean water, education, and healthcare), and the grim reality of their circumstances was solidified when a local woman pleaded with me to take her baby girl back to the states so that she could have a better life. Following this experience, I vowed to do my part to help mitigate the injustice of poverty, and my desire to fight for my newfound family brought me back to the Los Alcarrizos community every summer for the next four years. Upon entering college, this desire drove me to design and implement Purdue’s first Humanitarian Engineering major. Within this specialized plan of study, I learned about the world's most pressing humanitarian needs and studied the history and efficacy of humanitarian aid practices. The rigor of Purdue engineering equipped me to persist in iterative problem-solving, while my fascination with the medical and relational components of my projects affirmed my desire to problem-solve as a physician. However, my broad exposure to sustainable humanitarian development affirmed the necessity of understanding and applying public health principles to medical service in developing communities - which led me to Purdue's MPH Program. Through my public health classes this past year, I have learned the importance of using health behavior theory to improve patient compliance, assessing social determinants of health to decrease barriers to care, and understanding the power of preventive medicine and healthcare policy. The MPH program is a blessing, and I look forward to continuing my studies this upcoming year.


  • The Steven C. Beering Scholarship:
  • I have been incredibly blessed to be awarded the Beering Scholarship, Purdue’s most prestigious scholarship. It funds one undergraduate degree, one graduate degree, and one doctoral/professional degree. This scholarship has humbled me and taught me the responsibility that comes with privilege. I have been entrusted with much, and it is my responsibility to steward my blessings well through service to others. Just as this scholarship provided me with opportunity of a greater future, I desire to provide hope and opportunity of greater health as a physician.
  • Purdue Public Health Graduate Program Travel Grant:
  • I have also been privileged to receive this year's MPH Travel Grant, which has helped to fund my service in Granada, Nicaragua this summer. I am ever grateful for the support of the MPH staff in helping to make my dream of service overseas a reality.


  • Project involvement:
  • Theory-Based Intervention on Adolescent Smoking Prevention and Cessation:
  • In Fall 2018 during Dr. Yumary Ruiz's HK 57601 Theory of Fundamental Health Behavior course, I engaged in a semester-long project in which I worked in a team to complete an in-depth literature review of adolescent smoking risk and protective factors, and health behavior theories which has been applied to adolescent smoking prevention and cessation. I also applied knowledge from a literature review and further research to design a theory-based intervention for high school smoking cessation.
  • Statistical Analysis Final Project: Quantitative Methods of Public Health:
  • In Fall 2018 during Dr. Robert Duncan's HK 51000 Introduction to Quantitative Methods of Public Health course, I used SPSS and worked with Logistic Regression and Multiple Linear Regression models to compile and analyze survey data to predict the key identity characteristics that influence if people drink alcohol and how much they drink.
  • Global Design: Chlorination App for Slow Sand Filters:
  • My senior year, I worked with a Global Design Team to engineer an Android app with Bluetooth connection which uses ABTS (a chemical reagent) and an Arduino sensor to measure light frequencies and determine chlorine levels of treated water samples in developing countries.
  • Undergraduate Research in Dr. Kari L. Clase’s Biotechnology Lab:
  • My sophomore year I conducted research in Dr. Clase’s biotechnology lab, which seeks to advance the field of bacteriophage research and phage genomics. Her research team exposed me to key practices and experiments within the lab and taught me how to keep a detailed research journal. Throughout the semester, I successfully isolated a novel mycobacteriophage specific to Mycobacterium Smegmatis from a local soil sample. I then utilized these findings to isolate, purify, restrict, and analyze the genomic DNA of the phage, which is documented on the Bacteriophage Database in association with Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). This research affirmed my love of hands-on work within medicine.


  • Presentation of Research at Indiana Public Health Association (IPHA) Annual Conference 2019:
  • My team and I recently presented our Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD) Education and Awareness Intervention at IPHA’s poster session. This project was completed as part of Dr. Andrea DeMaria's course, HK 67500:Design and Analysis of Public Health Intervention. At the poster session, we received positive feedback and were able to present to several of the IPHA board members and distinguished public health officials. Our project included the design, implementation, and evaluation of a theory-based recruitment campaign to aid the launch of a new Mother-to-Mother Connection Support Group within the Labor and Delivery Unit of IU Health Arnett. The intervention resulted in increased awareness, knowledge, and self-efficacy regarding PMAD and available resources.


  • I have passionately served with Campus Outreach (CO), a national college ministry, since becoming a Christian during my first semester at Purdue. CO is devoted to mentoring college students in leadership, character development, and faith with the vision of empowering leaders to live out their faith in service to others. I have served in various roles with CO, including leading bible studies, giving talks, mentoring groups of women, marketing, and serving administratively. In Summer 2017, I served as the women’s coordinator to lead a 10-week-long leadership and character development program for 100+ college students seeking to grow in their faith. Since August 2018 I have served as volunteer staff. My relationship with the Lord is the most important aspect of my life, and it drives my passions and vision every single day. I am ever grateful for the ways CO has empowered me in my faith, deepened my relationship with the Lord, and helped fuel my mission to serve others though healthcare.
  • Public Health Student Association:
  • This year, as a first-year MPH student, I was able to get involved with Purdue's Public Health Student Association. I have loved being a part of this group because it has provided an incredible community, and opportunities to grow as a professional and as a leader. I am excited to get more involved with PHSA this upcoming year!
  • EPICS:
  • EPICS is a service-learning design program which engages students in multidisciplinary teams to partner with local and global stakeholders to address pressing needs. I was privileged to serve on two teams. First, I worked alongside the family, teachers, doctors, and prosthetic technicians to target client needs and engineer a cost-effective, resizable 3D-printed prosthetic arm for a 4-year-old boy. Second, I worked with a team of 20 students, as well as researchers in Western Kenya, to design and construct a full-scale, modular Nandi kitchen for testing of ventilation designs that mitigate indoor air pollution to improve cardiovascular and pulmonary health.
  • Ayuda y Aprende:
  • Ayuda y Aprende is a Spanish service-learning program which provides students the opportunity to volunteer among the Spanish-speaking community in Lafayette. My freshman year, I volunteered weekly at Lafayette Urban Ministry’s new Immigration Clinic. I served as one of the main founders in establishing the program, and as a translator for legal immigrants with the purpose of helping the clients understand laws surrounding the naturalization process of U.S. citizenship. This experience grew my heart to serve Spanish-speaking communities, particularly to mitigate barriers to healthcare. This past year, I volunteered weekly at Mintonye Elementary School, which serves a majority population of low-income and minority families. I tutored three native Spanish-speaking students in their studies and encouraged them of their abilities and of the value of being bilingual.
  • BGR:
  • Boiler Gold Rush (BGR) is Purdue’s new-student orientation program, rated among the best in the country. Each year, BGR involves 6500+ new students and 500+ student volunteers. In 2015, I served as a Team Leader and received extensive training to lead 20 students during orientation week; I served as the students’ first friend and mentor on campus, answering their questions, calming their nerves, and empowering them of their ability as they began their college journey. In 2016, I was a Team Supervisor. I mentored and trained Team Leaders to lead new students, planned and ran events during BGR, solved conflicts, and encouraged teamwork, involvement, confidence, and appreciation of diversity.
  • Chi Omega:
  • As the Panhellenic Delegate of the Executive Board, I collaborated with other board members to lead 140 women. I served as a liaison between the Panhellenic government and Chi Omega Fraternity, consulted regularly with our national advisor, fostered positive relations among the Panhellenic community, and personally mentored 20+ Chi Omega members. I assisted the President in addressing conflict, directed and led weekly motivational talks to inspire women to get involved, and provided opportunities for career, character, and leadership development. This leadership grew me in the ability to care individually for each Chi Omega member, while also promoting the health of the house as a whole.
  • PUDM:
  • Purdue University Dance Marathon (PUDM) is an annual fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children. In 2014 I was a dancer, raising $1000 and standing for 18 hours in honor of the brave patients at Riley who can’t. In 2015 I served on the Morale Committee, raising $2500 and coordinating the morale dance. During PUDM I led 50 dancers, boosting morale and reminding them of the purpose of the night. In 2016, I served on Riley Relations, raising $1000 and developing relationships with the Riley kids. During PUDM, I hosted the Riley families and promoted interactions between the dancers and families. The hope and courage of the Riley families inspire me further in my passion to serve in medicine.
  • Purdue Service Spring Break:
  • During Spring Break of my sophomore year, I spent the week engaged in service work focused on women’s and children’s advocacy in relation to public health issues in St. Louis, MO. Throughout the week, our team served countless organizations in the St. Louis area, including a domestic violence shelter, homeless shelter, and crisis nursery. The night before each day’s service, we researched and discussed the organization, the needs of the community it served, and the broader health issues surrounding their service. Throughout the week, we also watched several documentaries on women and children’s health and kept a journal of findings and experiences as a platform for processing and reflection.

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