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water bodies.

Upon graduation, she was awarded the 2015 inaugural Dennis and Mireille Gillings Pasteur Fellowship and is currently working at the Insitut Pasteur in Paris in the Department of Enteric Viruses conducting environmental and human surveillance for polioviruses and other enteroviruses in Madagascar. Dr. Polston has been fortunate to continue the type of work she enjoys. Over the past two years, her personal and professional goals as well as her research focus have merged, giving her the opportunity to continue her work in communities where she is using her knowledge, interpersonal, and creative skills to effectively tackle important public and environmental health issues. One of her goals is to educate and empower people, giving them the tools they need to improve their health and quality of life. Dr. Polston really wants to be a change agent in her community and the world. 




Conduct environmental and human surveillance


PhD - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Gillings School of Global Public Health


Conduct environmental and human surveillance

Waste Management Practice of Land

Analyze microbial Impact on Water Bodies


MSPH - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Gillings School of Global Public Health


Tuskegee University

Electrical Engineering, Physics

Dr. Patsy M. Polston is an environmental microbiologist with a focus in water research and a passion for creating healthy environments for underserved populations. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland but spent her undergraduate years at Tuskegee University where she completed her BS in electrical engineering and physics. Upon graduation, she worked as an engineer for Ford Motor Company. During such time, Dr. Polston realized she was passionate about preventive health and she entered a MSPH program in the Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.

During her tenure at Gillings, she was actively involved in the Gillings School community, holding numerous leadership positions from a two-term co-president of the Minority Student Caucus and Dean’s Council Student Representative to serving as the co-president of the Student Government.  Dr. Polston also reached outside of the School’s walls and involved herself in local community environmental justice issues and she volunteered globally on a summer project pertaining to water, sanitation, and hygiene in India. These experiences solidified her passion for community and environmental health; enabled her to realize the importance of collaborating with impacted communities; and confirmed her interest in conducting interdisciplinary research. Therefore, she decided to pursue her doctorate and became the first student in her department to merge the two sciences by minoring in Health Behavior. Dr. Polston successfully completed her PhD in 2015 where she investigated the controversial subject pertaining to the waste management practice of land applying biosolids by analyzing its potential microbial impact on nearby

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