Q: What was your reaction to receiving the Sullivan Award?
A: At Oglethorpe, it’s one of the highest awards a student can receive, so when our provost announced my name, my jaw must have been somewhere beneath my feet. I was honored to be recognized for doing work that I try not to make a big fuss about—and that, honestly, I didn’t even know other people knew that I do. Receiving the award reinforces my passion to tackle issues I care about that affect people I care about.
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: My passion is rural health. [Growing up in Appalachia] exposed me to the difficulties of accessing quality healthcare in the U.S. Geographic and socioeconomic factors determine what level of healthcare a person will receive and, despite the incredible advances in modern medicine and public health, many people have poor access to care—and even when they have access, the care available in their community is limited.
Q: You plan to attend medical school in Fall 2021. What are your career plans?
A: After medical school, I’m interested in CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service program so I can gain boots-on-the-ground sensibilities and approach medicine from a public health perspective early on in my career. I think it’s imperative that physicians incorporate public health philosophy into their practice of medicine, and I want to set the tone for my career in medicine early on. Later in life, I would be interested in running for political office or perhaps working for a public health agency or NGO.