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Arnold School of Public Health

December graduate earns public health degree as foundation for career as child life specialist

December 13, 2021 | Erin Bluvas,

UofSC was just 90 minutes down the road from where Erin Quinn grew up, but it wasn’t only the proximity of the state’s flagship university that appealed to the Spartanburg native. She fell in love with the campus during her tour and was excited about the many opportunities the university offered students to become involved in college life.

“The community here is like no other, and despite attending a school with 30,000 other students, I always see someone I know when I’m walking around campus,” Quinn says. “It just feels like home.”

As a student in clinical associate professor Charlotte Galloway’s introduction to public health course, Quinn realized just how broad the field of public health is and loved the perspective it offered. With Galloway as her mentor, she learned about different careers in the field and discovered local organizations where she could get involved.

“Dr. Galloway’s passion for the subject and her desire to see every student be successful was so impactful in my college career,” Quinn says. “I hope that one day I can impact people the way she impacted me.”

Based on these conversations, the Capstone Scholar found volunteer opportunities – and ultimately her career path as a child life specialist. At Axcess Healthcare Services, Quinn supports children with personal care tasks (e.g., grooming, dressing) and meeting speech therapy and early intervention goals. As a child life volunteer at MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, she offers companionship and play opportunities to children – both bedside and in the hospital’s play atrium.

The community here is like no other, and despite attending a school with 30,000 other students, I always see someone I know when I’m walking around campus. It just feels like home.

-Erin Quinn, B.A. in Public Health, 2021

A December graduate of the B.A. in Public Health program, Quinn is in the process of applying to master’s programs where she hopes to research the mental health effects on children who experience multiple hospitalizations before the age of five. Long-term, she looks forward to bringing a public health perspective to the field.

“When you look at the values of the child life profession, so many of them are based in public health,” Quinn says. “Child life aims to provide children with healthy coping strategies as well as age-appropriate education for the trauma and anxieties they may face while experiencing illness or injury. This profession is so important in providing equity to ensure that children are not at a disadvantage because of the medical challenges they have had to face.”

In addition to volunteering within her field, Quinn served on the executive board of the service sorority, Epsilon Sigma Alpha International, as the chapter’s philanthropic chair. Throughout her tenure at UofSC, the Palmetto Fellows Scholar earned a spot on the President’s or Dean’s Lists every semester.

“Never be afraid to reach out; the Arnold School has one of the best public health programs and professors,” Quinn advises current and future students. “Any of the professors would be more than willing to sit down with you and talk to you about their research or profession. Making connections is invaluable, and you will never regret spending time getting to know your instructors.” 

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