Public Health Program


Featured Staff

Lisa Osteraas was the recipient of the 2014-2015 Nancy Keil Service Excellence award.

This past fall, Lisa was the recipient of the 2014-2015 Nancy Keil Service Excellence award, which recognizes sustained excellence and initiative in providing technical or administrative support and service and for consistently approaching one’s responsibilities with a professionalism that demonstrates dedication to the welfare of students and others that leads by example.

If you have ever had questions about the public health major/minor or mapping out classes efficiently, you have likely met Lisa Osteraas (or at least received an email from her). From coordinating pre-registration to helping ambitious students fit that extra major or minor into an already dense courseload, Lisa’s knowledge and talent is truly amazing.

As Public Health’s advising coordinator, Lisa advises students, coordinates pre-registration, manages the petition to graduate process, is a liaison for the registrar’s office, and oversees the progress of public health majors and minors to ensure students are on the right track to graduate in a timely manner. This is not, however, the first position Lisa has held at Santa Clara University. Lisa has worked at SCU for the past 15 years. Prior to working as an advisor, Lisa served as the office manager for the Communication Department, the office coordinator/transcript analysts/transfer student advocate in the Drahmann Advising Center, and as the executive assistant to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Lisa recalls that the high point in her professional career occurred when she initially started at SCU in the Communication Department. This was her first experience in higher education and realized she had finally found her professional niche. During her time in the Drahmann Center, Lisa further confirmed that her passion was with working with students, especially transfer students. She takes great pride in the programs she created and the students she interacted with while serving as SCU’s transcript analyst and transfer student advocate. As the Public Health advising coordinator for the past two and half years, Lisa has really enjoyed working with our students and faculty, watching the program evolve, and learning about the field of public health.

This spring, Lisa will be graduating with a Master of Arts in Counseling Education from San Jose State University. After working in the Drahmann Center with transfer students, Lisa realized she truly wanted to make a difference in the lives of first-generation transfer college students. “Oftentimes they don’t have the financial support to start out at a 4 year university, especially one like Santa Clara University,” Lisa noted. “A community college provides a really awesome opportunity for them, and many people don’t appreciate the education it can offer.” In the future Lisa hopes to further help students effectively navigate the transfer process so they are able to get the most out of their education.

Lisa acknowledges that it was difficult to go back to school as an older student, but definitely believes it has made her a better advisor. She finds joy in helping students who didn’t think achieving a four-year degree was even a possibility. Lisa’s husband happens to be a first-generation college student who graduated from SCU at the age of 43. She recalls the immense pride his parents felt during his graduation. These two people had worked very hard all of their lives, and “to see the fruit of all their labors result in their son’s college graduation was really special.” Lisa hopes that she can bring these same feelings into the hearts of other families by helping empower students to achieve their dreams of graduating from college.

Valeriote Goldman Symposium: Public Health & Social Justice