Sarah Maness (Spanish Language and Literature ’09)

Photo courtesy of Sarah Maness.

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!