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Professor Shaniece Criss named 2019 ChangeMaker

Last updated February 20, 2019

By Furman News

Shaniece Criss, assistant professor of health sciences at Furman University, has been named to the 2019 Class of ChangeMakers by the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

The group consists of 15 individuals in the Upstate age 40 and under “who have demonstrated a commitment to service and the potential to truly move the Upstate forward.”

The ChangeMakers will work to raise financial support for Students in Action, the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s youth leadership development program that provides high school students with the skills they need to be successful in college and the workforce. The group will also participate in volunteer, community and other networking activities each month.

The program will culminate in May 2019 with a celebration event.

Criss conducts community-engaged research to effectively implement public health interventions that address health communication and health equity. She partners with Furman’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health as an academic lead on projects with Prisma Health-Upstate and LiveWell Greenville. She’s also a fellow of the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, a Shi Center for Sustainability Faculty Affiliate, and a Shucker Leadership Institute Faculty Fellow.

Criss is an elected official on Travelers Rest City Council and serves on the board of directors for Prisma Health, SC YMCA Youth in Government & Teen Achievers and Public Education Partners. In the past, she has served on the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and Travelers Rest Municipal Election Commission.

As a public health practitioner, Criss served as producer and host for a national television show for the Ministry of Health in Guyana, South America, during her Peace Corps service. She also held positions at ICF International, Centers for Disease Control and CNN.

A native of Greenville, Criss graduated from Southside High School and Greenville County’s Fine Arts Center for Theatre and Voice.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Oglethorpe University and a Master of Public Health from Emory University, Criss earned her Doctor of Science degree from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She also earned her Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she awarded a Presidential Public Service Fellowship and a Political Campaign Practicum.

Since 1972 the Jefferson Awards Foundation has recognized a host of national public figures for their outstanding contributions to the country and its communities. The Jefferson Award is the country’s highest honor for service and volunteerism, and honorees have included Barbara Bush, Oprah Winfrey and Bill and Melinda Gates.

For more information, contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at 864-294-3107 and

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