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Arnold School of Public Health

May graduate leverage exercise science degree to pursue career in anesthesiology

April  16, 2020 | Erin Bluvas,

UofSC wasn’t officially on Henson Sullivan’s list of college tours when she was making the rounds as a high school student. The Ohio native was looking at schools in North Carolina, when her cousin, a Gamecock, invited her for a visit.

“I knew in my gut from the moment I stepped onto campus that I would be very successful as a Gamecock,” Sullivan says. “UofSC is such a community-based campus, and I loved how a campus of 25,000 plus students could feel so big yet so small at the same time.”

During that visit, she learned of the Arnold School’s exercise science program, which would provide her with the necessary prerequisites to pursue a science-based graduate degree and an opportunity to complete a practicum during her senior year. She had been looking for a Bachelor of Science program that would offer an alternative experience to traditional science backgrounds, and she complemented her applied exercise science program with a minor in chemistry.

I knew in my gut from the moment I stepped onto campus that I would be very successful as a Gamecock.

-Henson Sullivan, B.S. in Exercise Science 2020

“The South Carolina weather was also a big draw for someone coming from the bitter cold winters of the Midwest,” Sullivan adds. 

As an undergraduate, Sullivan served as a resident mentor and supplemental instructor for a business calculus course. The Magellan Scholar also gained research experience, working alongside chemistry and biochemistry associate professor John Lavigne to synthesize a synthetic lectin library which can identify biomarkers specific to prostate cancer, ideally resulting in more accurate diagnostic tool. In support of the Arnold Childhood Obesity Initiative, led by exercise science professor Michael Beets, Sullivan collected data related to physical activity among elementary school children.

Shortly after her May graduation, Sullivan will attend NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to earn a Master’s in Anesthesia. Upon completion of the 28-month program, she would like to become a Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant at a children’s hospital and hopefully engage in clinical research projects during her professional career.

This program is one of the best in the nation and will prepare you so well for the world post college.

-Henson Sullivan, B.S. in Exercise Science 2020

In addition to the research experiences that played a major role in her undergraduate experience, Sullivan’s collegiate life was also shaped by interactions with her mentor, clinical associate professor Kara Montgomery.  “Dr. Montgomery has been a great influence on me every day since my first day as a student. I was lucky enough to have her as my U101 professor and she prepared me so well for what to expect in my four years at UofSC and what to expect from life in general,” says Sullivan, who notes that Montgomery also advised her throughout the graduate school application process. “My experience at UofSC would not have been the same if I had not met Dr. Montgomery, and I can’t thank her enough for the impact she has had on me.”  

She’s also grateful for the exercise science program, grateful that she chose it four years ago. “This program is one of the best in the nation and will prepare you so well for the world post college,” Sullivan says. “This degree offers a lot of flexibility so that you can take the classes that truly interest you and will benefit you in your career choice. The quality of this program can be felt from the moment you start your classes as a UofSC student all the way up until you walk across that stage and receive your degree."

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