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Arnold School of Public Health

Public health graduate to gain clinical experience before applying to medical school

May 7, 2020 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

Charlotte, North Carolina, native Zachary Travis knew that UofSC would be his home after attending admitted students’ day.

“I spoke with some of the staff from the Capstone Scholars Program, and they really made me feel at home,” he says. “It was clear to me that the resources available to me at UofSC and in Columbia were second to none, and this was the right school for me.”

Travis’ interest in a career in medicine and science led him to choose public health for his major and Spanish for his minor. “I realized that my interests lie in solving large-scale health issues and making an impact at the macro level,” he says. “Public health has given me the skills and knowledge that I need in order to make this impact as I pursue a career in medicine.”

It was clear to me that the resources available to me at UofSC and in Columbia were second to none, and this was the right school for me.

-Zachary Travis, B.S. in Public Health 2020

During his time at Carolina, Travis served as a teacher’s assistant for an organic chemistry II lab and was named a Capstone Fellow. The Magellan Undergraduate Research Ambassador also engaged in two research projects, both supported by Magellan Apprentice Grants. The first, in connection with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, focused on cultural differences and perceptions related to obesity. The second, under the guidance of clinical associate professor Kara Montgomery, saw Travis and another student traveling to Europe to study the differences in affordability and accessibility of healthy meals in the United States compared to Europe and how those differences affect overall health and well-being.

“Dr. Montgomery was my public health advisor and has made an incredible impact on me while I have been at UofSC,” Travis says. “She is an invaluable resource and someone I will remain connected with for years to come as I am proud to call her not only my mentor but my friend.”

In addition to his academic pursuits, the Dean’s List Honoree volunteered with the Good Samaritan free medical clinic, served as a University Peer 101 Leader, and led two Capstone medical mission trips to Nicaragua (2018) and Guatemala (2020). “In my work in the free medical clinic, as well as my mission trips to Central America, I worked with Hispanic populations and I was able to see in person some of the topics I study in class,” Travis says. “These experiences have been invaluable to me, and I believe they will make me a stronger physician in the future.”

In my work in the free medical clinic, as well as my mission trips to Central America, I worked with Hispanic populations and I was able to see in person some of the topics I study in class.

-Zachary Travis, B.S. in Public Health 2020

After graduating this month, Travis will take the next step toward his future career as a physician by working as a clinical donation specialist with We Are Sharing Hope SC. As he prepares to apply to medical school, Travis will gain valuable clinical experience through this role, which involves working closely with surgeons to procure donor organs and transport them to recipients at various hospitals throughout South Carolina.

“I think it is important for incoming freshman and current students alike who are pursuing a career in medicine to make sure they do things for themselves, not just to add highlights to a resume,” says Travis who held the roles of president for the UofSC Club Golf Team and vice president/co-founder for the Club Beach Volleyball Team. “Not only will this improve mental health, but medical schools and post graduate programs want to have unique applicants. Time flies while you’re here, so capitalize on the opportunity while you can.” 


Follow the journeys of some of our other May graduates


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