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Arnold School of Public Health


December graduate combines public health and law to pursue career in healthcare policy

March 5, 2019 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

After growing up in a small town in North Carolina, Caroline Carlyle was ready for a change of scenery when it was time to choose a university for her bachelor’s degree. She had heard about the array of opportunities at UofSC and decided to make a visit.

When I came to tour, everyone was so welcoming, and I fell in love with the beautiful campus,” Carlyle says. “It was then that I knew I wanted to attend USC.” 

During her public health program, Carlyle found a mentor in health promotion, education, and behavior instructor April Winningham. Her class taught Carlyle how to plan and implement programs and inspired her to think outside the box. 

“We have met multiple times over the past two years, and each time I leave feeling more confident and sure of myself and my path,” the President’s and Dean’s List recipient says. “She always offers the best career and scholarly advice and truly cares about the success of her students.” 

Outside the classroom, she was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honors Society and served as director of external affairs for the UofSC student body vice president during her senior year. The Woodrow and Capstone Scholar also volunteered and then interned with the Ronald McDonald House Charities through her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi.

Working with the Ronald McDonald House was one of Carlyle’s favorite parts of college, and it exposed her to a different side of healthcare. Prior to this experience, she had known she was interested in healthcare but wasn’t sure which area she wanted to pursue.

“When working closely with the children’s hospital, I began to see what goes on in the administrative and legal departments of healthcare organizations,” Carlyle says. “This combined with my public health coursework inspired me to look into this sort of career field.” 

She also spent a summer interning for North Carolina senator Thom Tillis in his Washington, D.C. office, gaining an extensive look at healthcare policy by attending committee meetings and doing legislative research. This learning experience encouraged Carlyle to continue on the path to becoming an lawyer, with a focus on health law and policy. She further confirmed her interest by a shadowing a medical malpractice defense attorney.

Since graduating in December of 2018, Carlyle has been interning with a consulting firm in Columbia while she prepares to begin law school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill this fall. She’s interested in politics, particularly healthcare policy, and ways to combat rising healthcare costs and the health insurance crisis. Long term, Carlyle would like to pursue a position as in-house counsel for a hospital or healthcare organization or working in government relations, such as advocating for improved healthcare policy.

Carlyle didn’t figure out what career she would like to pursue until her junior year, but now’s she certain about her future plans and advises others not to be discouraged if they haven’t figured out what they want to do yet.

“Don’t get on one track in college and continue down a path that you are not passionate about just because you feel like you are supposed to,” Carlyle says. “Always continue learning and expanding your view because you may discover a new path that you enjoy more.”