Marianna Cota

August 2023 – Graduate
Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona
Jacksonville, NC

Scholarship: Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund and Grace Wall Barreda Memorial Fellowship
School: University of Iowa  
Degree: Public Health – Community and Behavioral Health  
GPA: 3.78

Community Service


  • Imagine Grinnell – community tree planting
  • Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary – wildlife rehabilitation


  • Grow: Johnson County – community-focused food education, production, and distribution
  • UI Strike Force – volunteer service to local public health departments and organizations


Marianna is a second-year graduate student from Jacksonville, North Carolina, pursuing a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Community & Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa. She completed her baccalaureate from Grinnell College this past spring, 2022, and majored in Biology with honors. She earned a four-year scholarship to Grinnell College as a QuestBridge scholar. The program connects high-achieving, low-income high school students with top academic institutions across the U.S.

While at Grinnell College, Marianna was a wildlife rehabilitation intern at Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary in Hubert, NC, where she had volunteered for several years. She also conducted a summer 2021 Mentored Advanced Project researching the environmental and public health benefits of trees, green spaces, and natural landscapes on the Grinnell College campus. Moreover, she has served three years as a student assistant to the Grinnell Science Project after participating in the pre-orientation program for underrepresented and marginalized students in STEM during her first year of college. Marianna is actively involved in the One Health Student Group executive board at the University of Iowa. She is also committed to serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member of Iowa’s Community Food Security (CFS) VISTA Project.

She is to graduate from her MPH program in August 2023. Marianna intends to engage in transformative public health efforts for a more equitable and sustainable world. Using interdisciplinary and systems thinking approaches, she seeks to uplift multi-sectoral public health efforts that support the health and well-being of Native peoples in a culturally salient and holistic manner throughout her career. As a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, she hopes to work directly with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s Health Department upon completing her MPH degree requirements.

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