August 3, 2017 | Erin Bluvas, email@example.com
Ross Lordo, UofSC’s 109th student body president, is pioneering his own unique path toward his health career. From his public health program of study and his volunteer activities to his creative research focus and his leadership roles in student government, he’s combining traditional and nontraditional components of the undergraduate experience to prepare for a career committed to improving health.
The senior and current student body president grew up as a Gamecock in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Lordo chose UofSC for its academics, culture and opportunities, and he has taken advantage of all three. “Whether it is on campus, in the City of Columbia, or anywhere around the world, students have the ability at the University of South Carolina to create a student experience that is unmatched,” he says.
Lordo chose the Arnold School’s bachelor of science in public health program because it combined many areas of interest for the aspiring physician. “The ability to complete the pre-med requirements within my field of study, while also learning about health on a community level was alluring,” Lordo says. “I will be forever grateful for the ability to have a macro understanding of health before embarking on a micro understanding in medical school.”
Whether it is on campus, in the City of Columbia, or anywhere around the world, students have the ability at the University of South Carolina to create a student experience that is unmatched.
-Ross Lordo, Student Body President, Public Health Major
During his first semester at Carolina, Lordo crossed paths with clinical associate professor Kara Montgomery in her University 101 class. “Dr. Montgomery has continued to be a faculty mentor of mine who has helped point me in the right direction when I often felt lost,” says Lordo, who co-taught a University 101 class with Montgomery this past year. “The compassion and dedication she shows her students is what we should all strive to emulate in our careers.”
He also found a mentor in associate dean for undergraduate student affairs Sara Corwin, who served as Lordo’s advisor. “She has always been so easily accessible and approachable and truly pushes you to make the most out of the experience here at the University of South Carolina,” he says. “I am so very appreciative for her guidance throughout this entire undergraduate journey!”
“I feel so fortunate to have had such incredible support from the Arnold School as soon as I came to campus,” Lordo adds. “I would like to thank the Arnold School of Public Health for not only giving me a tremendous education inside the classroom, but taking an interest in my well-being outside the classroom to push me to fulfill my greatest potential as a student at this university.”
Outside the Arnold School, Lordo gained valuable research experience and found yet another critical mentor in an unexpected place for a medical school-bound student: the School of Library and Information Science. Working alongside assistant professor Darin Freeburg, Lordo, who has received three research grants from the South Carolina Honors College, examines why individuals volunteer in organizations.
“Using my public health knowledge, we are using the Health Belief Model as a basis and applying it in an interdisciplinary fashion to relate the perception of volunteering to health behavior,” Lordo explains. “Through these research interests, I have been so fortunate to use the knowledge I have gained from my public health professors and apply it in a way that has never been done before.”
I would like to thank the Arnold School of Public Health for not only giving me a tremendous education inside the classroom, but taking an interest in my well-being outside the classroom to push me to fulfill my greatest potential as a student at this university.
-Ross Lordo, Student Body President, Public Health Major
The 2015 Jessica Horton Outstanding New Student Leader Award winner doesn’t have to conduct scientific research to pinpoint his own reasons for volunteering. In alignment with his career goals, Lordo has given his time to organizations such as OrthoCarolina and Palmetto Baptist Health Hospital, but there is one experience that affected him both personally and professionally.
“While I feel very fortunate to have been involved in such a variety of organizations and experiences during my time at the University of South Carolina, one of my fondest memories will be my time as a Lutheran Hospice volunteer,” says Lordo. “The relationships that I have formed with my patients over the last three years will forever be a part of who I am. The guidance, love and compassion that emulates from them as they near the end of life is inspiring, and I hope to be a doctor that is committed to exemplifying that same attitude throughout my career.”
Lordo isn’t just hoping to be a doctor; he’s making it happen. After his May 2018 graduation, he will attend the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville that fall.
In addition to his research, volunteer and program of study activities, Lordo has devoted a significant amount of his undergraduate experience to holding leadership roles in student government. He began by serving on freshman council during his first year at UofSC and then joined the Student Senate where he served as president pro tempore. After that, he moved into the vice president role and was sworn in as president in March of this year. Though on its face, these positions are not directly connected to health, Lordo has taken these opportunities both to serve the university he cherishes and to prepare himself for his future career.
“From the outside, being student body president seems to have no correlation to a career in public health or medicine,” says the 2017 Thomas Moore Craig Leadership Award winner. “I have had the opportunity to work with many individuals from diverse backgrounds, and these experiences have helped me learn how to be an effective communicator and how to work with a team with varying opinions. I have come to realize that I have attained innumerable skills that will aid me in being the best health provider I can be.”