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Arnold School of Public Health


Tiara Rosemond wins Dissertation Award from the Southern Regional Education Board

July 29, 2015 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Tiara Rosemond, a doctoral candidate in the Arnold School’s Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB), has won a Dissertation Award from the Southern Regional Education Board. The Board awards only two of these prestigious honors each year as a component of their Doctoral Scholars Program, which aims to increase the number of minority students who earn doctorates and choose careers as faculty at colleges and university. Created in 1993, the program has assisted more than 1,200 scholars at 94 institutions in 31 states over the last two decades.

In an effort to provide holistic support, the program provides multiple layers of assistance, including career counseling and advocacy, networking connections, financial stipends, research funding, and continued early career support. Rosemond’s Dissertation Award offers a $20,000 stipend, university-covered tuition and fees, a $500 research allowance and professional development support as well as covering expenses associated with attending the annual Compact for Faculty Diversity Institute on Teaching and Mentoring.  

Originally from the northeast, Rosemond completed high school in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., and attended the University of South Carolina for her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, with a minor in HPEB. “I first chose USC because I felt Jesus leading me to Columbia and the University, and I stayed because of the awesome faculty and staff, strong public health program and mentorship I’ve received,” she says. After completing her undergraduate program, Rosemond earned a Master of Public Health degree from the Arnold School in 2010 and stayed on as a full-time staff member and research assistant in HPEB.

In 2012, she enrolled in HPEB’s doctoral program with research interests in food-related parenting behaviors, child nutrition and obesity, particularly for low-income families. “I want to use my God-given talents and abilities to help improve the health and well-being of children and strengthen families,” says Rosemond. Eventually, she’d like to become a faculty member at a research institution. “I really enjoy research and look forward to becoming a mentor for future public health professionals,” she says.

Christine Blake, an associate professor in HPEB, has already modeled an ideal mentor-mentee relationship for her, which Rosemond considers to be a vital component of professional development. “I have worked closely with Dr. Blake since 2009, and she has been there for me through so many ups and downs in my academic career,” she says. “I appreciate her breadth of knowledge, wisdom, insight, and her confidence in me; she has pushed me to believe in myself and my abilities as a researcher.”

And Rosemond already has some advice for her own future mentees. “Hold on to your passion or research dreams, but allow them to grow and develop as you mature and develop into a public health professional or researcher,” she says. “I’ve always had a desire to help children, but the way I envisioned that happening was completely different from the way it is actually playing out.”

Rosemond’s ever-evolving path has led her to some unexpected, but welcome, experiences. As a Health Educator at Palmetto Health, she serves on six elementary school wellness committees, an opportunity that has helped her promote positive environmental-level changes to improve the health of children in Richland County School District One. She also participates in University service projects and has served as a peer reviewer for two academic journals. Her participation in research projects at the Arnold School have led to multiple publications and presentations.

The aspiring scholar has also helped with course development and guest lectured along with being invited to give over 50 community presentations on nutrition and physical activity. Rosemond hopes to use her Dissertation Award to help her not only complete her dissertation but to expand upon her teaching experience in preparation for a career as faculty member as well.