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College Celebrates the First Graduates of Three Programs

2 May 2013 | 8:12 am By:

The College of Charleston Class of 2013 will include the first graduates of three programs: both the B.A. and B.S. in public health and the B.S. in exercise science. All three programs have been incredibly popular and have grown more quickly than anticipated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10-year job projections anticipate a 23.8% growth in health-related job openings.

“These first graduates went above and beyond to major in public health,” says Jen Kopfman, a communication professor and director of the B.A. in public health program. “The major was approved just six months ago, so the students have taken very intense course loads in the past two semesters. Many students even delayed their graduation by a year so they could complete the new major.”

“I was previously a health promotion major, but the aspects of public health that were not covered in that curriculum were too important to pass up,” explains Chandler Davis, a B.S. in public health graduate. “My favorite part about the major was finding a field that I felt that I could make a difference in individual and population health in multiple different settings on local, state, or federal level.”

“I was unclear about my major when I started at the College, although I knew I wanted a people-oriented profession,” explains Katie Hurt, one of two 2013 graduates with a B.A. in public health. “After experiencing an unfortunate dog bite to my face which required two plastic surgeries I became especially interested in a career that involved medicine. Public health is a degree that fits me because I would love to work assisting others whether it is a non-profit organization or in some health related research field.”

Public health is an interdisciplinary degree, offered as both a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science. Students who graduate with either public health degree might pursue advanced degrees, such as a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) or attend medical/nursing school. Students with a B.A. in public health may work in governmental health organizations at the local, state, or national levels, non-profit health organizations, or hospital systems. Students who earn a B.S. in public health may pursue careers in environmental health. 2013 graduate Alyssa Hydar, who also earned her associate’s degree as a physical therapy assistant, has accepted a position in that field.

“Physical therapy is my passion, and I have been blessed to know that I was born to help others,” says Hydar, a B.S. in public health graduate. “This degree is interdisciplinary, meaning the field is broad and opportunities for growth and development are limitless. I was exposed to courses that I may never have taken, like health policy, environmental studies, and ethics. These classes were all essential in shaping me as a growing professional in the field of public health.”

The exercise science major gives students a broad background in exercise science, including numerous opportunities for hands-on experience in the field. Most majors continue their studies in graduate or professional school.

“Exercise science allowed me to take classes, such as ‘therapeutic exercise’ and ‘motor development and learning,’ that would prepare me to attend an occupational therapy graduate program,” explains Margaret Hayes, one of the first exercise science graduates. “The best part about the exercise science major was that not only were my professors experts in their fields, but that they genuinely wanted their students to be experts as well. Dr. William Barfield invited me to participate in research for him, which enabled me to present at the South Eastern American College of Sports Medicine (SEACSM) Annual Conference.”

“It was dozens of professors working together to make these majors possible,” says Susan Balinsky, health and human performance professor and director of the B.S. in public health. “I credit Dr. Deborah Miller with really keeping things moving to make sure the B.S. in public health was available for students.”

For more information about the B.S. in exercise science, contact Bill Barfield at barfieldw@cofc.edu.

For more information about the B.A. in public health, contact Jen Kopfman at kopfmanj@cofc.edu.

For more information about the B.S. in public health, contact Sue Balinsky at balinskys@cofc.edu.

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