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Arnold School of Public Health


May graduate leaves UofSC with fellowship at Lexington Medical Center in hand and a lifelong passion for public health

April 13, 2018 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Hope Woolf knew that she wanted to attend an in-state university where she would succeed academically and professionally. “Ever since I took my first campus tour, I saw the support, inside and outside of the classroom, that students were offered,” says Woolf, who would become a University Ambassador and a supplemental instructor with the Student Success Center. “USC's numerous degree-granting programs juxtaposed with our emphasis on quality of education, and I knew this school would allow me to open many doors and push boundaries without limits.”

When Woolf began her freshman year at Carolina, she envisioned using her public health degree as a foundation for a career in dentistry. It was her experiences in the classroom that made her realize she was already in the right field.

I recommend public health to everyone I know. This field is so multifaceted and there are so, so many jobs out there that relate to public health.

-Hope Woolf, May public health graduate

“After beginning to take my major-specific courses, my eyes were opened to the influence of the built environments in communities, current health inequities and the prevalence of public health everywhere,” Woolf says of her epiphany, which shifted her interests from illness treatment to disease prevention. “I knew this was the right field for me and felt like this major offered me endless opportunities.”

Those opportunities have included a summer as a health strategies intern with the American Heart Association outside Washington D.C., where she helped organize and implement culturally appropriate initiatives (e.g., advocating for stronger public health policies and better education) throughout communities in the greater Washington region. As a selected member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, Woolf participates in the national health professional honor society’s weekly meetings, which provide clinical experience, fellowship, philanthropy, and hands-on work on campus and in the greater Columbia community

Within the Arnold School, Woolf is one of the undergraduate members on the Arnold School’s Dean’s Student Advisory Council and the community outreach member for the Public Health Society. In these roles, she represents her peers and promotes important volunteer opportunities and public health topics, such as supporting The Water Project, a charity that provides clean and reliable water in sub-Saharan African and hygiene kits to homeless shelters in Columbia.

Public health promotes the health of people and their communities while also aiming to prevent illness from occurring. If that sounds like something that appeals to you, then dive right in! There is something in the field of public health for everyone, everywhere.

-Hope Woolf, May public health graduate

Woolf also joined the Built Environment and Community Health Laboratory (BEACH Lab) as an undergraduate research assistant. Under the mentorship of health promotion, education, and behavior graduate assistant Sarah King and associate professor and BEACH Lab director Andrew Kaczynski, Woolf researched dietary behavior differences of children with minority and low-socioeconomic backgrounds. She plans to present her findings at 2018 Discover USC and work with her mentors to publish a paper on the project.

“Dr. Kaczynski and his course on Health Problems in a Changing Society ignited my passion for the public health field,” Woolf says. “This course opened my eyes to the impact of one’s built environment, and now my public health interests are focused on expanding accessibility in low-income areas and minority health inequities.”

The Dean’s List recipient also found a mentor in her advisor, clinical associate professor Kara Montgomery. “She knew every answer to my endless list of questions and gave me amazing advice, resources and support thought out my college career,” Woolf says.

Next up for Woolf’s career is a one-year Practice Administrator Fellowship with Lexington Medical Center. The curriculum-based training program provides hands-on experience through rotations with physician practices, community medical centers and support departments. Long term, she plans to return to school to earn a master of public health degree and perhaps a Ph.D.

“I recommend public health to everyone I know. This field is so multifaceted and there are so, so many jobs out there that relate to public health,” says Woolf. “Public health promotes the health of people and their communities while also aiming to prevent illness from occurring. If that sounds like something that appeals to you, then dive right in! There is something in the field of public health for everyone, everywhere."


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