2 students and professor looking at a screen together in a lab

Madison Walter

Master's in Public Health Program

Madison Walter in front of Rollins School of Public Health signI am currently a first-year masters student at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. My focus on behavioral science and health education allows me to learn why individuals engage in particular health behaviors and how public health can develop interventions to better health outcomes. I am interested in pursuing a career focused on using the applied history of public health and behavioral theory to develop effective health interventions dedicated to addressing socio-contextual determinants of health.   

Outside of class I work at the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB) at the Centers for Disease Control. As the global health communications intern, my job entails disseminating health information to both employees at the CDC and the general public. Currently, I am crafting an exhibit that outlines the goals and accomplishments of the ERRB. Next semester my work will focus on helping develop new training manuals and orientations for humanitarian response teams and writing articles detailing the mission of the ERRB. 

As an undergraduate at Wofford I triple majored in biology, history and sociology with a concentration in medical humanities. Wofford’s Biology Department prepared me for graduate school by emphasizing writing for both a scientific and non-scientific audience. As a public health student, my writing is often geared towards the general public. Wofford’s biology program helped me learn to write for a general audience, which is extremely important in public health since my goal is to convince individuals with little scientific background to change a certain health behavior based on scientific research. Wofford’s Biology Department stands out in its focus on writing and helped me easily transition my writing from an undergraduate to a graduate level. 

My major in history also prepared me for graduate school. My senior thesis titled “The Rhetoric of Nineteenth Century British Anti-Vaccinators: An Interdisciplinary Movement of Medicine, Religion, Class and Popular Culture,” was a major focus on my graduate school applications. My research provided the opportunity to merge all three of my fields of study in this project and demonstrate how they can be uniquely combined to bring a new perspective to the field of public health.

Wofford does not offer a public health major, but it provides something better. Because of Wofford I was able to tailor my time to fit my interests and needs. I bring a unique way of thinking to public health, a perspective that will help me in my remaining academic career and beyond. Studying biology has taught me how diseases function, studying sociology has allowed me to understand why people behave a certain way, and studying history has taught me to learn from the past to create better public health interventions for the future. Thanks to Wofford I can look at a public health problem from a variety of perspectives and develop an interdisciplinary approach to tackling it.