KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 9, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
As the coronavirus pandemic broke out last spring, Stephanie Wang, a Seven Lakes High School sophomore, researched and wrote a book to provide an elementary approach to understanding infectious disease outbreaks. Now published, she hopes her book will help the Katy community and beyond, to endure the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Katy junior, Stephanie Wang published her book to help people understand disease during the pandemic last month.
Katy High School Student Aims to Educate Public During Pandemic
Stephanie Wang, an incoming Seven Lakes High School junior, is an award-winning science student in the study of diseases.
“I began brainstorming ideas to spread public health literacy during spring break when the outbreak still had not propagated to such an extent,” says Wang. “After finding out that schools would be closed even after spring break, I knew I had to do something to help my family, friends, and community, and I felt that writing a book would be the best way to do so.”
Her book, Epidemiology Unmasked: An Introduction to Epidemiology in Public Health is now available, and she hopes it can help people better understand diseases and outbreaks.
“My book aims to promote the study of epidemiology in public health in a fun way accessible to all audiences,” says Wang. “After doing extensive research on the subject, I found a lack of introductory epidemiology textbooks on the market, as most are targeted toward more professional/mature audiences.”
A Passion for Public Health
Wang has been interested in public health since middle school and has competed in the Science Olympiad for four years. Through this program, she competed in the Disease Detectives event with a focus on epidemiology and public health. She is currently the team captain for the SLHS Science Olympiad team. (Pictured Left: Wang won 2nd place in Disease Detectives 2019 Science at the Olympiad National Tournament at Cornell University.)
A Concern of Public Knowledge
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many families and continues to impact the Katy community.
“I found that many people in my community, especially in the earlier stages of the pandemic, were unaware of the danger that their irresponsible actions could impose on the entire population,” explains Wang. “On the few occasions that I went out to a grocery store with my mom, I'd see that a good proportion of people in the stores were not wearing masks, gloves, etc., and ignoring social distancing recommendations.”
At the beginning of the crisis, Wang and her family watched the news and listened to experts. They grew concerned over confusing information and claims of misinformation.
“I realized that many citizens were unaware of fundamental epidemiological concepts like R naught, incubation period, and droplet spread, which are paramount to comprehending the importance of COVID-19 intervention measures like quarantine, social distancing, and wearing masks,” says Wang.
Wang wanted to understand why the community was reacting the way they were. “I found that concepts in epidemiology are rarely covered in traditional school curriculums, thus contributing to the vulnerability, misconception, and unpreparedness of the population during a pandemic,” she says.
Disrupt the Spread Through Education
Wang says she wanted to create a book that was educational, yet fun to read at the same time.
“I wanted to make the process of learning about epidemiology in public health fun for everyone so that we can all help disrupt the spread of the pandemic and be more prepared for the next public health crisis,” says Wang.
After finishing her book, Wang had many professors and public health professionals review it. She followed their revisions and advice.
Professional Praise for Book
"Stephanie, great job on this book. I enjoyed reading it and I see you did lots of research into it and you were right to the point. It reads very nicely and clearly. You are set to become a successful epidemiologist!!" - Dr. Roy Chemaly, MD, Director of Infection Control, MD Anderson Cancer Center; Professor of Epidemiology, University of Texas School of Public Health.
"Brilliant, easy-to-read, and an amazing resource for every ambitious epidemiology student. The book serves a variety of purposes: a fun read for anyone, a textbook for gifted students, a scholarly guide for science competitions, among several others." - Dr. Yang Song, Professor of Physiology, China Medical University.
“After listening to the advice from these professionals, I felt a lot more confident that my book would provide the best experience for all readers and do the best job in accomplishing my goal of reviving the importance of learning epidemiology,” says Wang.
Proceeds to Support Health Care Workers
All of the proceeds that Wang earns from the book will go directly to support frontline COVID-19 health workers.
“Our brave healthcare heroes truly deserve so much, and I am just trying to help - one step at a time,” says Wang.
Free Public Health Classes
Wang is also offering free public health classes through her nonprofit organization, Kid Teach Kid. This platform allows mentors the opportunity to teach younger students.
“In providing these classes, my book will serve as a resource for enrolled students to better comprehend the course material and help spread the importance of public health literacy,” says Wang.
A Future of Public Health and Service
Wang will graduate from high school in 2022.
“I hope to pursue further studies in epidemiology and public health so that I can continue to serve the community with my knowledge,” says Wang.