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Arnold School of Public Health

Staff Spotlight: Destine Rivers

September 8, 2022 | Erin Bluvas,

As the business manager for the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (ENHS), Destine Rivers puts her accounting degree to good use. Originally from Charleston, South Carolina she kept moving up Interstate 26 after her high school graduation.

College was at Claflin University in Orangeburg, where she was a member of multiple honors and student organizations and spent a summer as an intern with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. After her 2017 graduation, Rivers moved further up 26 to Columbia at the same time her parents made the transition from the Lowcountry to the state capitol.

Rivers’ first position with UofSC was as a payroll specialist – a role that involved working with all nine campuses across the state. The next two years saw her as a student services coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Most of the people I’ve met have become some great friends of mine,” Rivers says of her work in different parts of the university.

In 2020, she joined the ENHS department as the business manager not only for the department but for two major centers as well. The first is the Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk (CENR) – a South Carolina SmartState Center led by Endowed Chair Jamie Lead that works to reduce the impacts of nanoparticles on environmental and human health while benefiting these areas through the use of nanotechnologies.

The Centers for Ocean and Human Health and Climate Change Interactions (OHHC2I), led by ENHS chair Geoff Scott, is funded with a $6.4 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. This multi-institution/agency Center spans the United States and works to understand how climate change affects Vibrio bacterial infections and the production of toxins that affect environmental and human health.

“Destine is multi-talented, working tirelessly to address the administrative needs of the Arnold School, our departmental faculty and students as well as working with researchers at both our Smartstate Nano Center and our five academic, two  nongovernmental organizational and two governmental partners across the U.S. and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to address the fiscal management and administrative reporting requirements of OHHC2I,” says Scott. “Destine and her administrative staff provide excellence in everything they do from the most simple to the most complex tasks, assuring that we are complying with university, state and federal requirements and policies.”

Rivers handle all human resources activities for these two centers and the department. She manages several grants and projects as well. Her favorite part of the job is helping people, particularly making the incoming students feel comfortable.

“It is a privilege to work with Destine each and every day,” Scott says. “Her knowledge and experience is invaluable in helping us serve our faculty and students, and she is constantly staying abreast of new and changing requirements and policies to keep us in sync with a rapidly changing world. She is highly organized and forward thinking in everything she does.”

A committed goal setter/achiever, Rivers is always learning. Since joining UofSC, she’s completed LEAD training through the Division of Human Resources and the Gamecock Research Administration Network Training (GRANT) from the Office of the Vice President for Research. She’s even obtained her life insurance license.

“I got to where I am now by staying persistent and never giving up, always willing to learn new things outside any role that I may have had, and I was always willing to make a friend or ask someone for help around campus,” Rivers says.

The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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