Alum Abby Frescoln Pursuing Her Path In Public Health

Abby Frescoln, who graduated in May 2024, discovered her calling within the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State. After changing her major from biology to kinesiology and health, she discovered her perfect career path.

“There were so many paths I could choose within kinesiology, and I thought no matter what I changed throughout my undergrad, having a basis in kinesiology would still benefit me,” Frescoln explained.  

In September 2021, Frescoln became involved in undergraduate research to enhance her application for physical therapy programs. Frescoln contacted faculty members who specialized in cardiovascular research within the Kinesiology department. Although they were not accepting new research assistants then, they encouraged her to contact them again in six months. While communicating with faculty, she contacted Dr. Wesley Lefferts, who had arrived at Iowa State a year prior and had a pilot study in the works. 

“I joined at a great time that I could start right at the beginning of the study all the way through,” she said. “Now, I’m a co-author on the manuscript published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.” 

By working in the lab, Frescoln discovered the path she wanted to take. She transitioned from physical therapy to community and public health. 

“I went in as a pre-physical therapy student. I changed to community and public health because I was interested in the preventative things we were looking at, such as preventative health rather than treatment,” she said.  

With this in mind, Frescoln is pursuing her Master’s in Public Health this fall at the University of Iowa. She also plans to pursue her doctorate to research public health, specifically cancer and cardiovascular outcomes. 

Frescoln is satisfied with what she’s learned in her undergraduate experience at Iowa State.

“I think the curriculum is well set up,” she said. “I have experience from human diseases to exercise and physiology to anatomy.”

“The foundation and skills I learned, like everything you learn in undergraduate, is a transferable skill,” she stated. “For example learning, how to study correctly, time management, making sure you’re going to classes, all of that got me into a rhythm and prepared me for my master’s program.”  

When reflecting on her undergraduate experience, Frescoln emphasized the importance of experience.  

“I would say to get hands-on experience, no matter what it is,” she explained. “Whether it’s doing research or maybe being a TA for a class you enjoy, getting close to a professor is important.”  

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