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Arnold School of Public Health


May graduate juggles academics with football and volunteer work

April 15, 2019 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Spencer Eason-Riddle came to UofSC to play football. After walking on as a freshman in 2016, he worked his way up to playing in every game of the 2018 season.

Yet Eason-Riddle’s biggest contributions to Carolina and the surrounding area happened off the field. His extensive volunteer work has resulted in several awards (2017 & 2018 Team Community Service Award, 2017 & 2018 All-SEC Community Service Team) while making an impact on the populations he’s served. Meanwhile, it’s also fueled his passion for public health. 

“The reason why I choose public health and why I volunteer in the community is because I want to serve others in need and use my platform to impact people,” he says. 

It all started when Eason-Riddle began volunteering for the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia. Working with the quality management department, he learned how to work in teams, solve problems and develop holistic solutions. The experience culminated in Eason-Riddle earning his LEAN yellow belt certification and his participation in implementing a dysphagia project. He also volunteered in the physical therapy and emergency room departments—giving him experience with patients.  

The reason why I choose public health and why I volunteer in the community is because I want to serve others in need and use my platform to impact people.

-Spencer Eason-Riddle, May public health graduate

“This project helped me gain experience working with different employees across the hospital,” Eason-Riddle says. “By working with nurses in hands-on patient care and with process improvement staff in hospital quality, I have seen how a hospital operates from two different perspectives, which has helped me in several of my public health classes.”

At South Carolina Oncology Associates, Eason-Riddle visited patients during their infusion treatments to serve them drinks, provide blankets, or chat. “This has been one of my favorite experiences because I get the chance to talk to extraordinary people that are suffering from a disease, but most of them have such a positive outlook,” he says. “I have learned so much from the patients, office staff, and nurses at the cancer center.” 

He also founded and developed the Sandstorm Buddy Program at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital. This program connects UofSC student-athletes with patients and their families through the buddy system. After his May graduation, Eason-Riddle will begin an internship with Prisma Health’s surgical operations and service lines department through UofSC’s Beyond Sports program. In the fall, he’ll begin working toward a master of health administration degree in the Arnold School’s health services policy and management department.

“Dr. Sara Corwin has helped me immensely in trying to figure out the right path for me academically,” Eason-Riddle says of his mentor and advisor. “She has given me the tools to be successful in the Arnold School of Public Health and to find the right master’s program for me. I am very grateful for Dr. Corwin’s support and guidance.” 

Population and community health is very important, and there are an abundant amount of jobs and careers that are public health-related and improve the lives of everyone.

-Spencer Eason-Riddle, May public health graduate

Eason-Riddle credits his ability to juggle academics, athletics and volunteering to his time management skills and discipline in avoiding time-wasting activities. In addition to his service awards, he won the Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete Award (2018) and was named on the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll (2017 & 2018).

“My advice to anyone looking to pursue a public health degree would be to keep an open mind and be aware of how broad the public health field is,” Eason-Riddle says. “Population and community health is very important, and there are an abundant amount of jobs and careers that are public health-related and improve the lives of everyone.”