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Arnold School of Public Health


December graduate to promote health and economic policy changes through position with WREN

December 19, 2016

Megan Plassmeyer made the most of her tenure as an undergraduate student at UofSC. From her program of study to Carolina’s numerous student organizations, the public health major took advantage of what her university had to offer, and it paid off. Plassmeyer, a December graduate, has found a career path that fits her perfectly. It begins with a position as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN).

Plassmeyer had heard great things about USC’s Arnold School of Public Health when she was a high school student in Greenville, S.C. “Once I actually got to tour the campus, I was sold,” she says. “USC has always done a phenomenal job of making me feel at home.”

While school work should come first, college is the best opportunity you will ever have to define what you value and what you aspire to become.

-Megan Plassmeyer, December Graduate (B.A. in Public Health)

Although she was interested in public health when she first enrolled at Carolina, she wasn’t sure what her career would look like. However, Plassmeyer plunged into the undergraduate experience—connecting with faculty members and joining a variety of student organizations.

“It’s so important to involve yourself in as much as possible,” she says. “While school work should come first, college is the best opportunity you will ever have to define what you value and what you aspire to become.”

From ballroom dancing to student government, she has dabbled in many extracurricular activities. But the President’s List recipient (every semester) ended up immersing herself in the ones related to public health, advocacy, communication, and service.

I could call any of these people on any given day, and they’d be there in two hours with a baked good, emotional support, and a thousand suggestions on how I could further develop my career.

-Megan Plassmeyer, December Graduate (B.A. in Public Health)

“For me, I learned that I valued equality and have since taken positions and stances that enable me to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be healthy, happy, and safe,” says Plassmeyer. These positions included advocacy fellowships and communications internships with organizations such as Palmetto Foods SE and Tell Them, WREN’s grassroots advocacy program. On campus, she served as the Secretary of Health, Wellness, and Disabilities on USC’s Executive Cabinet, Campus Representative for Bedsider, and Campus Coordinator for It’s On Us.

“It’s On Us dealt with sexual assault prevention and bystander accountability, and it was the first time the national movement was brought to USC,” says Plassmeyer. “The campaign utilized multiple components and evidence-based practices, including an issue education session with organizational leaders, campus tabling, an athletic partnership, and a social media component.”

Building on her public health coursework, these practical experiences helped prepare Plassmeyer for her new role with WREN where she will manage partnerships across the state to mobilize WREN’s advocacy efforts and promote crucial health and economic policy changes. She points to support from mentors as another critical factor in her preparation, particularly Arnold School undergraduate advisors and instructors Charlotte Galloway and Christine Palmer, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Sara Corwin, and Tell Them supervisor Eme Crawford.

The best thing about public health is that it is limitless. There isn’t one outcome for your career, and you can really build whatever path suits you.

-Megan Plassmeyer, December Graduate (B.A. in Public Health)

“I could call any of these people on any given day, and they’d be there in two hours with a baked good, emotional support, and a thousand suggestions on how I could further develop my career,” she says.

But the perks of a career in public health do not end there. “The best thing about public health is that it is limitless,” Plassmeyer says. “There isn’t one outcome for your career, and you can really build whatever path suits you. For me, I ended up developing an interest in health policy work and communications, with a particular desire to impact marginalized communities.”

Long term, she would like to stay in communications-based positions throughout her career. “I’m a people person, and nothing is more rewarding to me than hearing the stories of your community and being able to help those people establish greater health outcomes for themselves and their families,” says Plassmeyer. “What can I say?  I’m just the average public health student who’s ready to change the world.”