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Arnold School of Public Health


December graduate builds on military experience and Arnold School education to pursue career in disaster relief

December 16, 2016

Originally from Greenville, S.C., Robert Green spent four years as a preventive medicine specialist with the U.S. Army before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina. “In the Army, we did a lot of public health work domestically as well as globally,” says Green, who chose USC both to be a Gamecock and because of the Arnold School’s reputation. “I knew a degree in public health would give me the knowledge necessary to help a huge population.”

Though stationed at Port Folk, La., Green was deployed to Iraq to support Operation New Dawn. He worked closely with health and safety professionals, investigating accidents, injuries and illnesses. Green also managed hazardous waste storage and disposal and monitored public health conditions through environmental sampling and testing.

Through implementing various programs, guidelines and regulations, he was responsible for the health and wellness of more than 30,000 people. For his efforts, he received the Army Commendation Medal (Operation New Dawn) and the Good Conduct Medal for exceptional performance in the Army.

In the Army, we did a lot of public health work domestically as well as globally. I knew a degree in public health would give me the knowledge necessary to help a huge population.

-Robert Green, December Graduate (B.A. in Public Health)

Even after ending his service in the Army, Green continued supporting the military by serving as a liaison between USC students and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In this role, he provides expertise on the educational benefits for veterans and dependents of veterans while attending USC.

At the same time, Green also volunteered more than 100 hours with the Red Cross during disasters such as the 2015 flood in Columbia and Hurricane Matthew. A little more than half of those hours comprised Green’s senior capstone project to complete his bachelor’s degree.

During his capstone project, Green spent 24 hours volunteering for a shelter at Barnwell Elementary School and another 30 at the Central South Carolina Red Cross Chapter office in Columbia, helping with disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Matthew. These experiences helped confirm the career path that Green was already pursuing: disaster relief.

You need to have a passion for public health. It’s also important to absorb all the information that you can because public health is a broad field of study.

-Robert Green, December Graduate (B.A. in Public Health) 

The December graduate has already been accepted into the Master of Public Administration in Emergency Management program at Clemson University. Long term, his goals include working for FEMA as a disaster relief specialist and convincing the government to increase spending related to preventive public health measures.

He also has some advice for prospective students who are considering careers in public health. “You need to have a passion for public health,” Green says. “It’s also important to absorb all the information that you can because public health is a broad field of study.”