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Public Health B.A.

Kianna Thomas came to the college knowing she wanted to prepare herself for work in the health professions. But she didn’t know what aspect she would focus on. So, she took “Introduction to Public Health” and discovered her passion. “I really connected with the subject matter in that class, right off the bat.”

“What I like about studying public health,” says Kianna, “is that it takes a holistic approach to health issues. In public health, you consider contextual factors regarding the issues. As opposed to strictly studying biology or chemistry, public health offers a broader view.”

In that initial class, students were required to do a video project. “We interviewed different people around Charleston asking them how they define public health, Kianna says. “It was really interesting because each of the student groups brought back different views. That’s when I realized that this is such a diverse field. And that means you can do so much with a degree in this area.”

To augment her studies, Kianna joined the College’s Women’s Health Research Team, and became part of a cadre of students who are attempting to start a campus program assisting students in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. “I wasn’t interested in research when I first came to the College,” she says, “but I realized that doing this would give me an opportunity to determine what direction I’d like to go in public health.”

Now, Kianna is planning for graduate school where she’ll combine her two majors – psychology and public health – to become a health psychologist. “I want to be a psychologist working with people who have chronic diseases such as diabetes or AIDS. Getting a background in public health will be pivotal for me. And it can be great preparation for so many fields, including biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental law or even marketing. I think a lot of people don’t realize the diversity of directions you can go with this major.”

This program prepares majors for many roles, from conducting research to working directly with people. Our faculty, drawn from an array of departments, has strong ties with Charleston-area health organizations, translating into internship opportunities and professional connections.

❱❱ We prepare students for careers in health education and promotion, epidemiology and biostatistics, health policy, health services administration, environmental health and more.

❱❱ Recent internships include working with nutrition counselors, AIDS awareness organizations, community wellness centers and Charleston Country Parks and Recreation.