Public Health Graduate Pursues Her Passions Thanks to UC Online Degree

Harley Dawson with BearCat on campus!

In our personal and professional lives, our passions are what drive us. Just ask Harley Dawson, who graduated from the University of Cincinnati Online with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health.

Harley is currently working as a Special Projects Coordinator as part of Fayette County Public Health, something that she says is made possible by her degree and experience at UC.

UC Online caught up to Harley this spring to talk about her experience in both the online and on-campus programs. Here’s what she had to say about both and her plans for the future:

What motivated you to seek this degree?

The main motivation I had to pursue a degree in Public Health was my passion for helping others- I started in nursing school at the beginning of my college career and quickly realized that although I was helping others it wasn’t in the capacity I imagined, and after some very appreciated help from my academic advisors they pointed me to the public health path and I haven’t looked back since. As a transfer student I wanted a program that took as many of my previous credits and the online program was more transfer bearcat friendly.

Why did you choose an online program vs. on campus?

I actually started out on campus when I first transferred because I was accepted as an “Allied Health” major while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I enjoyed my time on campus and the opportunities I had to be a Student Ambassador but I struggled actually sitting through classes and managing my time.

When I enrolled into the online public health program I had no problem getting my work done on the asynchronous schedule and was able to get my work done as soon as I wanted instead of traditional classes where you sit through the class and still have work outside of class to work on. I had more time to do things I enjoyed, more time to work, and I was able to complete an internship in my hometown where I planned on staying after graduation so I had a job lined up after graduation!

What made your choose this field of study? Was there a personal reason?

I chose my current field with the guidance of my academic advisors. I always thought going into healthcare looked like taking a job as a nurse or another profession that provides direct patient care.

Public health is interesting, because you can help a population or community of people all at once through programs or events that can be fun. I am currently working on one as part of my current job at Fayette County Public Health. I am planning the Fayette County Community Health Fair & Family Fun Day! There are so many other opportunities in the field such as research which is very cool!

What were your expectations for this program? Were they met?

My expectations for the program were that it would meet the same competencies as the in-person curriculum: preparedness in real-world application and collaborative opportunities for students. These expectations were met!

What were your main concerns about enrolling in the online program at UC?

My main concerns about enrolling in the online program were that I may fall behind my peers in the on-campus version and that I wouldn’t understand the online course materials. I was also worried about missing deadlines and assignments. The way UC Online uses its online tools feels just like an online classroom, and I didn’t have any problems!

What advice would you give someone considering this program at UC Online?

My advice would be to make sure they’re studying something they’re passionate about and that they enjoy. I would tell them to talk to their academic advisors and take some exploratory courses if needed, because it won’t matter if you’re going to school online or in-person if what you’re studying doesn’t interest or excite you!

I think online course options makes higher education more accessible and more convenient, but they key is to success is choosing something you enjoy and look forward to doing each day!

Overall, would you recommend the University of Cincinnati?

I would totally recommend the University of Cincinnati to others! I had such a great experience at UC and believe that UC Online was a catalyst to my academic success. It gave me the flexibility I needed to complete the coursework when and where I wanted. I would definitely return to UC for an online master’s program!

Get Support Every Step of the Way at UC Online!

Harley’s experience with the University of Cincinnati Online is common for students in all programs. Not only will you receive real-world instruction from world-class faculty, you’ll have the support of all the staff of UC Online every step of the way. Our academic advisors will work with you to ensure that you’re in the right degree path, and that you’re studying what you’re really passionate about!

If you have questions or are interested in talking with an advisor, you can call (833) 556-4428 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by messaging an advisor online.

Did you know that there is currently a shortage in public health workers? So much so, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated recently that the bare minimum needed to meet community needs in the U.S. is 80,000 workers! A recent Public Health Infrastructure Grant is directing two billion dollars to departments just like the one Harley works for in Fayette county to hire, train, and retain public health staff.

Start your journey in public health at UC Online today!

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