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Arnold School of Public Health

Staff Spotlight: Gaye Christmus

May 9, 2022 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

The Arnold School has been a home to Gaye Christmus for three decades and counting. The Pennsylvania native first arrived on the scene as a Master of Public Health student – studying health education (now health promotion, education, and behavior) shortly after graduating with a biology degree from Gettysburg College. 

After graduating from her master’s program, Christmus worked at local hospitals and a state agency before returning to the Arnold School. For the past 22 years, she has served as the pre-award grants manager and technical editor for the Department of Exercise Science.

“Working with the people in exercise science is truly a pleasure,” Christmus says. “They are smart, professional and appreciative of the contributions that everyone brings to the table.”

I’m honored to work in a department that plays a leading role in understanding the health benefits of physical activity and helping people from all walks of life be more active.

-Gaye Christmus, pre-award grants manager and technical editor for the Department of Exercise Science

Day-to-day work for Christmus takes two main forms: grant application support and technical editing.

The first involves doing everything she can to make it as easy as possible for faculty members to submit their proposals (e.g., completing forms, developing budgets, staying up to date with funding agency rules/requirements, routing applications through USCeRA, serving as a liaison to the Office of Sponsored Awards Management). The second part includes offering fresh eyes to look for flow, clarity, grammar, etc. for grant documents, manuscripts, reports and book chapters.

“I love doing technical editing,” Christmus says. “I have a background in biology and public health, and I come from a family of English teachers, so editing documents in the health sciences is a great fit for me. The most exciting part of my job is learning that a grant application I worked on with a faculty member has been funded, especially when it’s a National Institutes of Health grant!”

“Gaye Christmus is an exceptionally skilled and experienced research grant pre-award specialist," says exercise science professor Russell Pate. "She has a deep understanding of the grant-writing process, and her work has contributed enormously to our department’s success in securing extramural funding for research.”

Another favorite part of the job for Christmus is being able to share the field with her family. In parallel with her tenure at UofSC, she and her husband have raised two sons – one of whom graduated from the Arnold School with a Master of Public Health degree 35 years after his mother and with a focus in environmental health sciences.

“I’m very proud of both of our sons, and I was able to experience a bonus proud moment when one of them followed in my footsteps,” she says of Sam Christmus, who has worked on air quality and international health projects and currently serves on the COVID team at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. 

Christmus is thrilled to have aligned her career with public health. She strongly believes that the field can help people, communities and organizations make decisions and choices that will allow everyone to live a healthier life.

“I believe that becoming physically active and staying active is one of the keys to living a healthy, happy life, and I think that promoting exercise and physical activity at all levels – from helping individuals become more active to promoting policies that encourage physical activity – helps to make that benefit available to everyone,” she says. “I’m honored to work in a department that plays a leading role in understanding the health benefits of physical activity and helping people from all walks of life be more active.”


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