Student Spotlight: Andrew Chandler
In our Student Spotlight feature, students working with or honored by the Institute are highlighted. Andrew Chandler is a Masters of Public Health (MPH) student completing his practicum with the SCale Down Initiative.
Hometown: Lexington, South Carolina
Degree pursued: Masters of Public Health
Expected graduation: August 2015
How did you become interested in public health/medicine?
My interest in public health first began in high school; we were required to complete a senior project on a topic of our own choice. Being highly active in varsity sports, I chose to volunteer and coach a team at the local recreational baseball fields. I wanted to choose something that pertained to my personal interests as well as helping others. Growing up playing sports, I always viewed coaching as a way to give back to others. While coaching, I observed that the facilities were more than just baseball fields. They were a community resource that allowed family, friends and individuals to be physically active with one another. People were out having fun in the environment contributing to a healthier lifestyle.
What areas of public health/medicine are you most interested in and why?
Most of my interests lie within community health and the built environment. The built environment has become a more popular approach and seems to be a “tip of iceberg” concept. There is much more to it than we think. City infrastructure is an influence to our behaviors. The distance an employee lives from work effects whether they will drive or walk to work. Families and individuals who live near parks, or have recreational areas in or around their neighborhood may be encouraged to go for a walk more often or take their kids out for a picnic. Building an environment that is sustainable for all people is very important for large cities and even rural areas.
What are your future plans?
My immediate future plans include obtaining my MPH in Health Promotion in August 2015. After 4 years of undergrad and 2 years of grad school, I will officially be ready for employment, leave Academia and I will venture off into the real world with hopes to find start a long lasting public health career to improve the health of our friends, families, and communities.
If you weren’t studying public health, what would you study?
If I had not chosen Public Health, I would most likely have been a Geography or Environmental Science major. Just about all of my elective courses pertain one of the two subjects. I found public health to be a perfect fit to bring my interests in the environment and health together.
Who do you consider your mentor or greatest inspiration and why?
Overall, I would have to say my biggest mentors and inspiration would be my parents. Throughout my 24 years of existence they have taught me numerous life lessons and instilled many core values and principles into our family, that have shaped my brothers and I into who we are today. I owe a lot of my success to them.
I have also had the privilege of having an academic/professional mentor, Dr. Lee Pearson. Dr. Pearson has been an instrumental part my academic career, and I owe him many thanks for being my voice of reason and providing his guidance and wisdom throughout my academic journey. In the future, I hope to be able to pay forward his generous contribution to my success as a student and a professional.
When you aren’t studying or working, what are your favorite activities?
My favorite activities revolve around the outdoors. I love to hunt and fish. I recently purchased a kayak too, so I am looking forward to kayaking and fishing the river here in Columbia. Other activities include playing intramural sports and cheering on my favorite teams, the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Atlanta Braves.