July 13, 2022 | Erin Bluvas, email@example.com
“I feel very grateful to have found myself in such a wonderful work environment,” says Emily Writer, program coordinator for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. “I had a lot of ideas of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to work while I was going through college and graduate school, and this is nothing like I imagined. It is immensely better.”
Originally on a path to a career in forensic psychology, Writer found her true calling in academic affairs. Based on her positive experiences interacting with UofSC’s student affairs office as an undergraduate student, she decided to pursue a Higher Education and Student Affairs M.Ed, and would later return to the office to work as a graduate assistant. A practicum as a conduct officer with the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity confirmed she was in the right place.
I’ve learned so much about public health and the way the people in public health see the world. It’s so wonderful to be a part of the amazing work they do for our communities.
-Emily Writer, program coordinator for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
“This position was very pivotal for me in that I learned how much I loved working one-on-one with students and how much I enjoy helping them figure out their goals and their values,” Writer says. “Graduate students in particular are in such a unique time in their life. I have always said that I consider myself an advocate for my students, and I try to learn from them as much as I can so I can continue to become a better advocate on their behalf.”
After graduating, the Hilton Head, South Carolina native stayed in Columbia to launch her career. Her graduate assistantship with the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition turned into a position as the Center’s Interim Program Coordinator for Continuing Education.
“Working with the Center gave me the opportunity to learn about the world of Higher Education and Student Affairs from the perspective of staff and faculty that have enacted positive change in the field,” Writer says.
Three years ago, she joined the epidemiology and biostatistics department, where she quickly became a key contributor to the success of its five graduate degree programs. In her role as program coordinator, Writer supports the graduate directors with admissions and degree progression.
She also acts as the liaison between the graduate students and the department by answering questions and assisting them through various transition points. Administrative tasks (e.g., financial, human resources, academic) often find their way into Writer’s day as well.
“I like to think of myself as the go-to person for everything in our department,” she says. “I like that everyone knows me as someone who is there to help, whatever the circumstance.”
Anthony Alberg, chair of the epidemiology and biostatistics department, agrees wholeheartedly with this assessment.
“Emily is invaluable to the department because of the breadth of issues she handles, the uniformly high quality of her work, and her welcoming nature," he says. "Her 'student first' mentality is critical to have at the table. She always rises to the occasion, as exemplified by numerous contributions during the pandemic. Emily has been extremely helpful to me personally including as a source of sage advice, and I suspect this is a sentiment that holds true for all our students, staff and faculty. Emily is a difference maker.”
Ten years after stepping onto the Horseshoe as a freshman, Writer feels like she’s exactly where she’s supposed to be. Her educational/professional experiences and passion for working with students in the context of academic affairs have positioned her perfectly for her role.
“The part I love most about my job is connecting with graduate students and faculty in the department,” Writer says. “I’ve learned so much about public health and the way the people in public health see the world. It’s so wonderful to be a part of the amazing work they do for our communities.”
The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.