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Arnold School of Public Health

May graduate combines love of animals, passion for public health for career in veterinary medicine

April 15, 2022 | Erin Bluvas,

South Carolina born and raised, Alex Karp knew he wanted to stay in state for his undergraduate education. A Palmetto Fellows Scholarship and rave reviews from his older brother (a UofSC alumnus) made the decision an easy one.

“I became interested in public health because I was interested in healthcare and medicine, but I was not sure what exactly I wanted to do,” says Karp. “I had heard great things about the Arnold School of Public Health from my high school counselors, so I decided to major in the field.”

He found a mentor in clinical associate professor Charlotte Galloway, who helped Karp see the possibilities of the public health field. She even helped him realize that he could incorporate his lifelong passion for animals (think: five rabbits, two birds and seven dogs over the years).

With Galloway’s guidance, Karp found an intersectional topic he was passionate about for his senior thesis with the Honors College (No. 1 among public universities in the U.S.). Looking to incorporate animals into a public health project, Karp researched the impacts of pets on their owners’ overall health during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

He will build on this experience – as well as the many hours he spent interning at a pet shelter throughout his undergraduate tenure – by pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia this fall. In parallel, Karp would like to complete a Master of Public Health degree through their dual degree program.

The intersecting fields of animal and human health are key to addressing public health challenges, including infectious disease investigation/control and food policy/safety. Emerging zoonotic diseases, such as SARS-CoV2, cannot be effectively detected and managed without scientists who specialize in veterinary medicine and public health. 

As a Dean’s Scholar and Presidential Scholar, Karp is well positioned to become such an expert. In addition to his internship as a veterinarian assistant, he also served as a U101 Peer Leader and represented the undergraduate population as a member of the Arnold School of Public Health Evaluation Committee – all while maintaining a 4.0.

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