I double majored in Spanish language and literature and biological sciences as part of the Thomas Jefferson Scholars Program. Since I was interested in health biology, I thought that should be my major — but it was actually through a Spanish class that I discovered my passion for public health.
In an upper-level Spanish course, I was required to write a paper about a social issue, and I chose health insurance and Hispanic immigrants. I followed this passion to study abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico, which also fulfilled credits for my Spanish degree. In Mexico, I saw health disparities like I never had before. I went on to receive a master’s degree in public health from Emory University and a Ph.D. in public health from the University of South Florida. I am currently an assistant professor in health promotion at the University of Oklahoma, studying social determinants of health and health disparities among minority populations. Thank you, CHASS!
Sarah Maness is assistant professor of health promotion at the University of Oklahoma.