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Like Father, Like Daughter(s) by Steve Hawks


Like her father (and two sisters) before her—Jenna LinLi Hawks is pursuing an education and career in public health—starting at Utah State University Moab.Jenna LinLi Hawks promoting science education at the USU Science Fair in Moab.(Photo credit: Steve Hawks)

Jenna started taking concurrent enrollment courses through USU Moab while attending Grand County High School. Not that she had a choice as her father Steve, the former Dean of USU Moab, and now a full-time faculty member in health promotion at the growing USU Moab campus, wouldn’t have it any other way. He has spent the last 13 years deeply engaged with the outreach mission of USU and never misses a chance to encourage fellow Moabites to send their children to USU Moab and take advantage of the great education– and great cost-savings– that can be had through a local USU Moab experience.

“If it’s good enough for your kids, it’s good enough for mine,” Steve often tells others, and more than one of his children has taken advantage of USU Moab to further their education.Jenna LinLi Hawks performing water quality testing for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).(Photo Credit: Steve Hawks)

Jenna was slated to attend USU in Logan this fall, but changed her mind and decided to attend USU Moab due to all of the disruptions posed by COVID-19. It was close to home, safe, inexpensive, and offered all of the courses she needed to pursue her major in health education and promotion. Things got even better when USU Extension offered her a position as a Health and Wellness Prevention Coordinator for Grand County.

“I am so excited to be working in public health!” she said. “Working with a strong USU Wellness team to enhance the health of people in my hometown is a dream job.”

Jenna’s oldest sister, Josiah Lynn, also started at USU and then earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Josiah now works as a Data Manager for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Her next oldest sister Jessica earned a PhD in public health at San Diego State University and is an Intensive Care Coordinator at the San Diego Center for Children.

“I’m proud of my sisters, and I’m glad to join them (and my Dad) as a public health professional,” said Jenna. “I’m excited to be able to continue my education through USU Moab while living at home and gaining professional experience at the same time!”

As a student at USU Moab, Jenna has had a chance to get a taste of college life as a participant on the student fee board, and a member of USU Moab’s First Year Student Focus Group. Her favorite course at USU Moab is Human Anatomy, taught in person by local instructor Dr. Terry Dial.

“He’s a fantastic anatomist, and an even better teacher,” Steve says.
In a year that has caused many to change their plans and maybe question some decisions, Jenna is confident she is in the right place for her.

“I don’t regret my decision to stay here and go to USU Moab,” she said. “I love the program I’m in and I’m excited to be following in the family footsteps of a career in public health!”

To learn more about USU Moab and all it has to offer, visit

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