Skip to Content

Arnold School of Public Health

  • Hayley Mason

Public health grad to focus on health policy at UNC School of Law

May 8, 2024 | Erin Bluvas,

Columbia, South Carolina native Hayley Mason always knew she wanted to swim in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). When USC’s swim team recruited her to join, Mason dove at the chance. Her invitation to join the South Carolina Honors College (No. 1 among public universities) confirmed her decision.

My experience at USC has been full of positives. The swim team serves as my second family, and I can ask my professors for assistance with anything I might want to do.

Hayley Mason

“My experience at USC has been full of positives,” Mason says. “The swim team serves as my second family, and I can ask my professors for assistance with anything I might want to do. The advisors and staff of the Arnold School go above and beyond, and the class size and course nature of the Honors College creates the best learning environment I could hope for.”

With an acceptance into the University of North Carolina School of Law, the May graduate plans to focus on the impact of health policy on health outcomes – eventually at the national and international level. It’s a path that began with her public health major and has been heavily influenced by her advisor, Kara Montgomery.

Hayley Mason
Hayley Mason graduates in May with a B.S. in Public Health.

“Dr. Montgomery was the main reason that I chose to pursue a major in public health and impacted my education the entirety of my time at USC,” Mason says of the clinical associate professor. “She has been a constant mentor – offering advice on anything I went to her with and serving as the director for my Honors College Thesis.”

In addition to training with the USC Varsity Swim Team 23 hours/per week, Mason made time for service and professional development. She volunteered more than 70 hours of her time at the Columbia Free Medical Clinic, captained her Relay for Life team, served as an advocate/coordinator for Consent and Sexual Health in collaboration with USC Athletics’ Title IX Coordinator, and represented her swim team on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

Mason also completed a medical internship with Prisma Health and solidified her decision to attend law school by completing a one-year USC Beyond Sports Internship at a local firm. Her experiences have shown Mason why health policy is so important, particularly given the timing of her undergraduate tenure.

“If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the world needs more people influencing public health and informing policy,” she says. “A degree in public health is useful in almost any field of work, and the courses themselves result in a personal paradigm shift.”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.