Public Health Student Abby Vaquera

Public Health AGRADE Spotlight: Abby Vaquera

Public health student Abby Vaquera is a part of the Accelerated Graduate Enrollment (AGRADE) Program. AGRADE allows students to simultaneously enroll in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Vaquera is one of many students who will have both a bachelor’s and a master’s in just five years. Here is what she has to say about her experience with the program.  

Why did you choose Wayne State University?

I wholeheartedly love the city and the people. My grandpa would tell me stories about going here and loving the Detroit Institute of Arts “back in the day” (he was an art student), but he never ended up finishing his degree. He passed away in 2017 during my freshman finals week, so I feel like I’m getting to complete both of our dreams now.

What drew you to the AGRADE program?

My advisor talked to me about it as an option during my sophomore year. Felicia Frabis, one of my sorority sisters, is in the same program. She talked about the benefits of waiving the GRE, having a stable path, getting a master’s only one year after undergrad, and, of course, the price I’d save on tuition.

What is it like to take graduate courses as an undergrad student? 

I have taken four classes, all foundational M.P.H. courses. The only way to describe the experience is that it feels like I’m living like a Hannah-Montana life. Some of my friends are 21 (like me, in undergrad) and some of my friends are nearing their 30s and beyond. I get to be in Greek life and have held a vice president position for Alpha Gamma Delta. It's honestly an amazing and enriching experience.

What are your plans after graduation?

I have my classes all lined up to go full-time graduate student mode. This past year has been unexpected (I’m sure it is the same way for every student right now) so it has been hard to think of the future. I am expected to graduate again in winter ‘22. I work part-time as a student assistant for the Alumni/Donor Relations Team, so when I am no longer a student here, I hope to get a job in the public health field. I would love to work somewhere in my interests of minority maternal health or sex education.

What else should people know about the AGRADE Program in public health? 

This program has been amazing for me. I am so thankful I was able to be a part of it. I will be the first one in my family to receive a degree and this program has even propelled me to pursue my education further.