Alumni Features News

Ovation event recognizes impact

The college held its first “Ovation” event May 1 to recognize an outstanding alumnus, preceptor and supporter and to show appreciation for the many people who support its students.

L to R: Kelley Kaiser, Dean Tammy Bray, Miao Zhao and Charlene McGee at Ovation

The college held its first “Ovation” event May 1 to recognize an outstanding alumnus, preceptor and supporter and to show appreciation for the many people who support its students.

About 300 guests heard from the three recipients, as well as three students who introduced them, during the hour-and-a-half-program, which included a reception and lunch.

Those recognized were alumnae Kelley Kaiser, ’93, ’99; Miao Zhao, ’10; and Charlene McGee, ’04.

Kelley Kaiser received the Supporter Impact Award. Kelley is CEO of Samaritan Health Plans, where she has worked for the past 20 years. The main focus of her career at SHP is looking at health policy and how the system takes care of the most vulnerable members of society. She says her role has allowed her to work in all areas of health care, from birth to death, and stay involved with health policy. Kelley has also served on the Corvallis Chamber and was president of the board in 2006 and 2007. She was involved in helping to set up the Benton Community Health Center, and in 2008 her Rotary Club nominated her as the Junior First Citizen for Celebrate Corvallis. She is currently serving on the CPPHS Community Advisory Council.

“I have been fortunate that I have been successful in my career, and I attribute much of that success to the foundation that I received at Oregon State University as both an undergrad and a graduate student,” she says. “Being involved with the College of Public Health and Human Sciences has allowed me to give back to students and the community as a whole, which is a key part of building the foundation of understanding as we transform the health care delivery system in our country.”

Miao Zhao received the Preceptor Impact Award. Miao is director of operations for Albany-Huatulco Sisters Cities, where she promotes cultural exchange and mobilizes resources for health and education. Miao serves as the Linn County representative and liaison for the InterCommunity Health Network CCO’s Community Advisory Council and volunteers extensively in her community and at OSU. Miao has worked with the undergrad public health internship program since 2011 and with MPH students since 2012. She has also worked with public health faculty on class evaluation projects and an impact assessment tool and questionnaires for needs assessment. In addition, she’s edited electronic nutrition education modules and participated in fundraising.

“My life – and I’m guessing many of yours – has been indelibly shaped by mentors,” Miao says. “People willing and able to share their time, their talents and their treasure. Their investments and love have shaped my life in more ways than I can easily mention. By all accounts, I’m standing here today receiving this award because they took the time to encourage, admonish and guide me. All of us represent countless stories of the meaningful investments teachers, parents, mentors, friends and strangers have made, shaping the course of our lives. It is truly an honor to participate in the lives of our interns. Their brightness and noble intent inspires our work.”

Charlene McGee received the Alumni Impact Award. Charlene is deputy refugee health coordinator for the Multnomah County Health Department and has served the department as the African American Sexual Health Equity Program & HIV/HEP C health educator. Charlene volunteers extensively in her community and church and stays connected to OSU through her involvement with the Alumni Association’s committee on inclusion and diversity. Read more about Charlene here.

“My pearls of wisdom: Be unafraid and peel off the layer of fear holding you back. Step into your purpose with a sense of courage, humility and grace. Balance your decisions with head and heart. Be fearless – take calculated risk and relentlessly pursue your dreams. Claim your purpose with power and truth. Challenge the narrative and don’t accept the status quo. While we have made multiple strides – so many disparities and injustices remain. Be a bridge to justice, reconciliation and healing. Through it all – have some fun and create memories. Live. Love. Laugh. Remember, failures and doubts are part of the equation to success.”

If you would like to nominate someone for next year’s event, please do so here.

All photos from the event can be viewed here.