Giovanna Komst ’24 enters public health industry prepared to lead

Giovanna Komst at softball game
Giovanna (Gia) Komst ’24 prepares for a play in a Bullets softball game during the Spring 2024 semester (Photo courtesy David Sinclair Photography).

Giovanna (Gia) Komst ’24 of Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, has discovered how A Consequential Education at Gettysburg College bends the boundaries of what’s impossible and empowers students to achieve more than they can believe about themselves.

Komst, an international and global studies major with a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, has garnered numerous academic and athletic honors, including for the Bullets softball and track and field teams. In 2023, she was tabbed the Centennial Conference’s (CC) Player of the Year in softball, named to the All-CC First Team, and earned Academic All-Centennial honors. Fresh off the win to claim their sixth CC title, Komst, an outfielder, and her fellow Bullets softball teammates advanced to the 2024 NCAA Division III softball tournament.

For Komst, these achievements wouldn’t be possible without the support of her Gettysburg community. Through the Gettysburg Approach, Komst has acquired a breadth and depth of knowledge and honed enduring skills, such as leadership and teamwork, that have prepared her well for graduate studies after Gettysburg. Komst graduates summa cum laude, and she was awarded the Linnaean Award, recognizing her leadership and involvement at Gettysburg during the past four years.

She will attend the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine to obtain a master’s degree in public health. While attending graduate school, Komst will serve as the deputy director of The Center for Baby and Adult Hygiene Products (BAHP) through The Business Council 90A’s association management.

Read more about Komst and discover how her Gettysburg experience has supported her personal and professional growth.

Why did you decide to attend Gettysburg?

I knew if I attended Gettysburg, I would be able to partake in various areas of campus. Beyond academics, I was able to play two sports, go abroad, and hold various leadership positions. Additionally, Gettysburg has a renowned alumni network, and the overall college support system was something I could not find anywhere else. Whether I needed professor support, administrative help, or services from the Counseling and Wellness Center, everyone was quick and willing to help however they could.

Not only does the name Gettysburg hold prestige, but also the alumni and staff are always offering to lend a helping hand.

What is the value of an education in the liberal arts and sciences at Gettysburg College?

As someone who came to Gettysburg completely unsure of what I wanted to major in and unsure of what career I wanted after graduation, I was able to take classes in various departments to find what best fit my interests. Moreover, I was able to take classes throughout all departments to fulfill my major requirements, which allowed me to take a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, something highly valued in the public health field. This curriculum fulfilled my expectations as a student because I never had to say no to something I found beneficial. My teachers, advisors, and the College supported me in taking any class I wanted.

What co-curricular experiences did you participate in? How did they help you grow personally and professionally?

Giovanna Komst rides atop a camel
Giovanna (Gia) Komst ’24 rides atop a camel during a study abroad experience in Amman, Jordan.

I’ve been a community advisor for Residential Education, vice president for the Class of 2024, and president of Sigma Iota Rho. I studied abroad in Amman, Jordan, and have participated in the Eisenhower Institute’s Inside Washington program. I participated on the softball and track and field teams. These experiences all put me in a position to work together with diverse groups of people and find many of my friends on campus. Each role required significant dedication, helping me grow my time management skills and the ability to balance a hectic schedule. Additionally, each role required different skills, experiences, and ideas, allowing me to learn a lot about myself.

“As a Gettysburgian, you are capable of so much more than you believe, and your success extends beyond what you can imagine. Believe in yourself and trust the process.”
– Giovanna (Gia) Komst ’24

What are some of your favorite memories at Gettysburg?

Some of my favorite memories are winning the Centennial Conference Championship [in softball] my first year, going abroad to Jordan for a semester, [attending] Family Weekend during my senior year, helping with Move-In Day each year, and cheering on all the students during the First-Year Walk every year.

Who made the biggest impact on your Gettysburg experience?

Giovanna Komst sits in front of fountain
Giovanna (Gia) Komst ’24

Several people at Gettysburg played a significant role in who I am today. My advisor, Arabic Prof. Abdulkareem Said Ramadan, was most beneficial in guiding my path and convincing me to believe in myself and what I am capable of. He never failed to push me harder when he knew I could achieve more than I believed I could. Without him, I would have never gone abroad to Jordan or applied to various graduate programs.

All my coaches on my athletic teams—especially Assistant Coach John Grim on the track and field team and Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness Annette Hunt-Shepherd, have made me confident and ready for the next steps of my life. They always supported my goals and never told me I was not able to do something that would benefit me, even if it interfered with sports.

What does being a Gettysburgian mean to you?

Being a Gettysburgian means pushing yourself to expand beyond the academic journey of Gettysburg and engage in co-curricular activities, meet people, and connect with professors and staff. It means pushing yourself through difficult times, knowing everyone at Gettysburg is supporting you and is there to catch you if you fall. As a Gettysburgian, you are capable of so much more than you believe, and your success extends beyond what you can imagine. Believe in yourself and trust the process.

Explore academic, leadership, and personal development opportunities available to Gettysburgians like Gia Komst ’24.

By Michael Vyskocil
Photos courtesy Gia Komst ’24
Posted: 05/16/24