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Arnold School of Public Health

Public health graduate to pursue master’s degree in health policy and global health

April  20, 2020 | Erin Bluvas,

Anna Book, a May graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program, will soon begin a Master of Public Health program at Columbia University. During her two years in New York City, she’ll study health policy and global health – interests that she developed during her tenure at Carolina.

“I’m frustrated with the mismanagement of our systems and unequal access both in our country and abroad to basic health care,” says Book, who chose UofSC because of the South Carolina Honors College, which is ranked number one in the nation.

“It is the best of both worlds. You have all the resources and spirit of a big school with the support and academic rigor of a smaller program,” she says. “I also knew college for me would be more than just academic, and I wanted a college experience where I could go to football games, join a social sorority, and meet people with different life experiences than me.”

Book did all these things and more over the past four years. She held leadership roles within the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, National Pan-Hellenic Council, Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Leadership Enrichment and Development Cohort, Student Leader Advisory Board, Cockstock Concert Committee and Arnold School Accepted Students Weekend. She even served as one of six students selected to welcome and advise UofSC’s new president as a University President Student Ambassador and managed a $200,000 budget as President of Homecoming. She gained research experience in a biology laboratory and at the Russell House Student Union and interned at the Division of Students Affairs and Academic Support.

The President’s List Honoree spent spring breaks on service trips with the Leadership and Service Center, repairing homes in Panama City, Florida and teaching elementary students about nutrition in Atlanta, Georgia. She bolstered her Spanish minor (she also minored in biology) through the Global UofSC in Costa Rica: Global Health program. 

Off campus, Book became an EMT and wrote her senior thesis based on her work with Lexington EMS. She also volunteered as a Disaster Action Team member with the American Red Cross and served as a State House Page.

A member of multiple honor societies (e.g., Delta Omega Public Health, Omega Delta Kapp Leadership, Order of Omega Fraternity and Sorority Life), Book is the recipient of numerous awards. Some of her honors include the Outstanding Achievement and Student Triumph Award (2018, 2019), Order of Omega Award (2019), Lauren E. Brubaker Carolinian Award (2019), UofSC Outstanding Senior (2020), Outstanding Woman of the Year Finalist (2020), President’s Award (2020).

Building on her numerous achievements and experiences, Book is interested in learning about government-sponsored healthcare and its different forms throughout the world. Long term, she’s considering a law degree and working for the United States government to create and/or implement healthcare policy. She’s also interested in working for an international health care organization to advance public health initiatives around the world. Reflecting on her past and looking toward her future, Book has some advice for those pursuing careers in public health.

“Don’t be afraid to join organizations that aren’t related to your major,” Book says. “Through this pandemic, we see more than ever how interdisciplinary public health is. Learn how to work with other people, and spend your time doing things you enjoy. Ultimately, those experiences will be what helps you decide what your passions are.”

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