The award is the premiere award given by the PHS, and she is the first-ever MSSU student to recieve such honors.
The award was in recognition of the Commission Officer Student Extern Training Program (COSTEP) work she did in Tucson, Ariz. area with the Indian Health Service. COSTEP is a summer internship program that is only open to Environmental Health students enrolled in an accredited EH Program, such as the one offered by MSSU. Missouri Southern has one of only 31 accredited programs in the nation and the only accredited program in Missouri.
As part of her internship duties, she maintained numerous environmental health standards for the Tohono O'odham Reservation, including ensuring water quality/ safety, providing education, and helping prevent the spread of disease.
Balkhi identified structural problems in one of the homes on the Reservation and personally contributed documentation to officials detailing the damage and requesting repair assistance. The home is now reported to be undergoing repairs.
Balkhi, who was also a member of the women's volleyball team at MSSU, received an undergraduate degree in Environmental Health with minors in Biology and Chemistry on Saturday, December 15th.