Striving to empower

Karastin Hughes, public health major

Karastin Hughes, who is earning her degree in public health, grew up in Marion, South Carolina. “I am part of the Opportunity Scholars Program for first-generation college students,” she says. “I honestly was not sure how I was going to pay for college. The Gamecock Guarantee made college affordable for me.”

The people in the OSP program are passionate about making sure students get everything they can. Being first-generation college students, we don’t have family members to go to and ask questions about the college experience.

I changed from nursing to public health my sophomore year. I want to help people in underprivileged, minority communities and provide them with education.

In my family we have a lot of chronic health diseases. Public health offers me the opportunity to help people just like me.

I’m involved in a lot of organizations around campus. One of those, SAVVY, I joined as a freshman, and now I’m the president. It allowed me to find a community of minority women who are striving to empower each other as women.

I got into my top choice for graduate school, Emory, where I’ll get my master’s in public health in behavioral health.

I’d tell freshman not to stress about your major in the beginning. I stressed about nursing. Make sure you go out and join organizations, meet people, find yourself.

Don’t worry so much about your major. Most people change majors in college. You have time.

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