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Alums help introduce students to health care opportunities in Atlanta

A tour guide leads a group of Furman students through the Emory campus in Atlanta, Georgia, during a Career Trek organized by the Malone Center for Career Engagement in November 2023.

Last updated November 9, 2023

By Furman News

For more than 40 students, a day trip to Georgia in early November may have helped refine their postgraduate paths, especially if they’re considering a career in public health, nursing or medicine.

On a Paladin Career Trek conducted by Furman’s Malone Center for Career Engagement in partnership with the Health Sciences Department, the group visited several sites in Atlanta, touring schools and healthcare organizations and networking with alumni and potential employers.

Lauren Fryer Tucker ’05 (left) led a tour of Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehab hospital, during a Paladin Career Trek in November 2023.

Paladin Career Treks offer the opportunity for students to visit employers and engage in career exploration and professional development,” said Jennifer Stoner, assistant director of employer engagement at the Malone Center. “We feel that giving students the opportunity to experience different work environments and hear directly from employers about career paths and how to be a strong candidate provides invaluable perspective as they determine their paths after Furman.” 

The Atlanta trek began in the morning with a visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), led by Carmen Ashley ’96, chief of the Program Development and Services Branch within the Division of Adolescent and School Health and a former Furman biology major. 

The CDC tour was especially informative for Botamina Sorial ’24, a health sciences major from Greenville, South Carolina.

“Carmen was very approachable,” said the senior. “She talked to us frankly and humanized her role at the CDC, especially coming out of the pandemic.”

Carmen Ashley ’96 (center), chief of the Program Development and Services Branch within the Division of Adolescent and School Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks with students during a Paladin Career Trek to Atlanta, Georgia, in November 2023.

The insight Ashley gave into the bureaucratic workings of the CDC helped Sorial, who hopes to work with nonprofits or grassroots organizations, reflect on different approaches to public health.

“It was nice to have a better understanding,” she said. “It confirmed that it might not be something that I want to do full-time, but it’s something that I want to experience as a graduate student to understand what goes behind that decision-making that directly impacts those communities that I do want to work with.”

Lauren Fryer Tucker ’05, a senior manager at Shepherd Foundation, led the group through Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehab hospital. 

After a lunch panel and reception at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and a tour of the Emory campus, breakout tour groups explored the nursing school, the Emory School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health.

As it turned out, that afternoon part of the Career Trek was also of particular interest to Sorial, who plans to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in public health and is currently applying to several masters in public health programs – including one offered by the Rollins School.

“We talked to students and admissions officers, and they were really approachable,” Sorial said.

Overall, the Career Trek was “a really positive experience,” said Sorial. “It fit what I was looking for perfectly.”

The Malone Center regularly offers a number of Career Treks that might be a perfect fit for students interested in a variety of fields, said Stoner. An upcoming excursion in May 2024 will focus on the fields of finance and nonprofit management.

For more information, visit the Malone Center website.

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