Colleen Scott received a Doctor of Public Health degree at East Tennessee State University’s May Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10. Her next step is quite impressive. She has been accepted for a two-year post-doctoral fellowship with the Epidemic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
As College of Public Health Associate Dean Dr. Robert Pack explains, “She will join the disease detectives that protect our population from epidemics.”
Scott is excited about the new role she will be assuming. “I just found out that I will be assigned to the CDC’s Global TB branch,” she says.
Scott left her home in Colorado a decade ago. “Of the past 10 years,” she notes, “I have spent almost four living and working in Africa.”
After completing her undergraduate work at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., Scott completed a master’s degree in public health at Emory University in Atlanta.
“I was dabbling in public health without knowing it during my undergraduate years,” she notes. “I served as an AmeriCorps Learn and Serve volunteer teaching about sexual assault and violence before learning about the field of public health during my two and a half years working as a health development volunteer in Zambia with the Peace Corps. As I finished my service in Zambia, I began researching work opportunities in public health.”
Her next step brought her to ETSU. “I was living in Tanzania, working with the CDC, when I made the decision to apply to doctoral programs,” she says. “I looked at Dr.P.H. programs in public health because I wanted a practice-based degree rather than a research-based one with a traditional Ph.D.
“I knew about ETSU from my time working as a recruiter for the Peace Corps. We had several fantastic applicants from the university’s public health bachelor’s degree program. From my work with those applicants, I knew there was a strong community of undergrads here with priorities similar to mine, and that boded well for the peers I would have in the doctoral program.
“Also,” she adds, “I wanted to live near mountains again!”
A position as a global disease sleuth requires physical as well as intellectual stamina. Scott is prepared for the rigors of the job. “Since starting school at ETSU, I have run five half-marathons, three 10K races in Johnson City and a 10-mile race in Washington, D.C.,” she says.
With her ETSU doctoral degree in hand and a half-marathon in Nashville just completed, Scott is ready for the challenges ahead.