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My Arnold School

2023 Inductees

Each Spring, eligible students are contacted by the Mu Chapter directly to apply for membership. Faculty and alumni application information is sent out through Arnold School listservs. For questions about membership criteria or applications, email

Graduate Students

kayla bramlettMs. Bramlett will be earning a Master of Science (MS) degree with a focus in infectious disease epidemiology from the USC Arnold School of Public Health. Upon graduation, she will continue to work in Dr. Nolan’s Laboratory of Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases at the Arnold School in order to gain more hands-on research experience. Following this, Ms. Bramlett plans to continue her education in the field of science and public health. Her end career goal is becoming an infectious disease pharmacist. In this career, she will not only have a firsthand approach to public health, working in a clinical setting to improve patients' everyday lives, but will also be able to continue research in this field, two of her greatest passions.

william giangDr. Giang is a PGY-3 Preventive Medicine Resident at Prisma Health - University of South Carolina. As part of his residency training, Dr. Giang is concurrently completing a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the USC Arnold School of Public Health in the Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior track. Growing up as an immigrant, Dr. Giang faced many obstacles and challenges. These hardships have shaped him into the person he is today, committed to helping others. Dr. Giang has a strong interest in healthcare policies, social determinants of health, healthcare disparities, access to healthcare, and preventive care for workers.

William JonesMr. Jones will be earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from the USC Arnold School of Public Health Department of Exercise Science.  After experiencing his first major injury as a high school football player, an interest was sparked within him for the field of physical therapy.  Mr. Jones has always wanted to be in a profession that aims to serve his community and felt as though this was the best field to make his dreams come true.  Throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies, Mr. Jones worked to serve his universities by volunteering his time to mentor upcoming students, advocating for his current classmates, and researching various concepts to help with the improvement of the overall environment around him.  All of these experiences have helped him acquire valuable skills that he hopes to take forward with him as he begins his career, hopefully in an acute care environment!

Alexis LawtonMs. Lawton is from Walterboro, SC. She received a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 2019 from Columbia College and will receive a Master’s +30 in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the USC Arnold School of Public Health this summer. Ms. Lawton has been a speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) for almost four years. She has worked in various settings such as schools, private practice, home health, and nursing homes. Ms. Lawton will complete a clinical fellowship at an early childhood center as an SLP Intern. Her professional interests are to become a skilled speech-language pathologist helping children to become functional communicators. She also wants to become a collegiate professor in speech-language pathology so she can guide, support, and mentor future speech-language pathologists.

Ran ZhangMs. Zhang will be earning a PhD degree from the USC Arnold School of Public Health Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, where her research interests center around HIV prevention and intervention, COVID-19 vaccine promotion, and stigmatization of sexual minorities. As Ms. Zhang moves forward in her career, her ultimate career goal is to become a faculty member at a university, where she can collaborate across multiple disciplines to educate future public health professionals and conduct research on social determinants of health, health disparities, and community-based interventions.

Undergraduate Students

Kelley BuchanMs. Buchan will be earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Public Health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health.  She plans to incorporate more public health values in her future career as a physician. Ms. Buchan’s career interests are in addiction psychiatry and detox programs.

Tanner EppsMr. Epps is from Sumter, SC and has been in the Arnold School for two years. As a previous Biology major, he felt that it was not quite the right fit for him. Coming from a rural town, Mr. Epps wanted to make a difference in the lives of those around him and found that he could do that within the field of public health. Mr. Epps found an immediate interest in health policy as well as health insurance. He began exploring options on how he could make people more aware of the need for health insurance and how he could also make an impact on the policies that are put in place in his area. Mr. Epps will be earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in public health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health.  Upon graduating, he will be pursuing a career in health insurance sales and will also be running for office in order to make the changes necessary to bring health equality and equity to his community. 

McLaren HeckMs. Heck will be earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in public health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health, as well as a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. As an undergrad at USC, she was able to explore all of her interests in health, both in public health and clinical settings. On campus, she was involved in Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-health professional honors fraternity.  Through AED, she has been able to see healthcare with a new lens. Ms. Heck also volunteered at the Breast Health Center at Prisma Health Baptist in Columbia. Most recently, she has been a public health student volunteer with the Women’s Rights Empowerment Network in Columbia. Ms. Heck is also preparing to embark on a medical mission trip to Panama this summer. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a dual master’s degree in public health and physician assistant studies. Ms. Heck hopes to one day work as a Physician’s Assistant in either Women’s Health or Family Medicine.

Kesha PatelMs. Patel is from Spartanburg, SC. She will be earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Public Health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health and has plans to obtain a Master of Science (MSc.) degree in Global Health, Social Justice, and Public Policy from King’s College London this fall. Afterwards, she will attend medical school and plans on devoting time to clinic patients and getting involved in public health policy work for her specialty.

Jolena SenesombathMs. Senesombath will be earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Public Health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health. She has always been motivated to pursue a career in public health through her leadership experiences. She works as a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) at a long-term care and rehabilitation center, and volunteers as a personal touch volunteer at Prisma Health. Ms. Senesombath is currently applying to Master’s Entry to Practice Nursing and Physician Assistant graduate programs in hopes to further her career in a clinical and educational setting.  

Eleanor WitherspoonMs. Witherspoon will be earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Public Health from the USC Arnold School of Public Health with a minor in Medical Humanities and Culture. After graduation, she plans to take a gap year before going to medical school. Ms. Witherspoon is pursuing Graduation with Leadership Distinction in Research. She is an undergraduate researcher with the Built Environment and Community Health (BEACH) Lab with the Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior department at the Arnold School of Public Health. Her research focuses on environmental justice, community health, and health equity. Specifically, Ms. Witherspoon has been analyzing active transportation crashes (pedestrian and cyclist) in South Carolina by race/ethnicity, sex, and age group to determine what demographics are disproportionately impacted by active crashes. She is interested in staying involved in public health research while in medical school and is passionate about learning more about social determinants of health, health disparities, and community health.


McKenzie IsrealMs. Isreal earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in public health from the Arnold School of Public Health as well as a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Arnold School Department of Health Services Policy and Management.  Throughout her academic career, Ms. Isreal contributed, coordinated, and published several research studies, hosted CDC sexual health programming on campus in the Student Health Center, and created sexual health marketing campaigns and content for health education. Her research interests are in sexual health, black maternal outcomes, and racial disparities. After graduation, McKenzie took a role in a small rural oncology clinic to lead their efforts in creating a program to reach their patients in need of SDOH support. After standardizing the program, Ms. Isreal moved to Atrium Health where she now works as a research project manager for the Center for Health System Sciences. In the future, she is looking forward to a career in Operations and continuing to advocate for better systems to improve the public health of our communities.

Elizabeth  PeelerMs. Peeler is a public health practitioner in higher education who specializes in violence prevention including alcohol and other drugs and hazing prevention. She has over seven years of professional experience in planning, implementing, and evaluating health promotion and education programs in higher education. Presently, she is the Associate Director of the Office of Health Promotion at Emory University. She is the co-chair of Emory University’s Hazing Prevention Task Force and oversees alcohol and other drugs, mental wellbeing, and hazing prevention. Before joining Emory University, she was the Health Educator and Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Science at Ball State University where she focused efforts on mental wellbeing, sexual health, alcohol and other drugs, and interpersonal violence prevention. Ms. Peeler received her Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the USC Arnold School of Public Health and her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Cell/Molecular Biology with minors in Art History and Chemistry from Appalachian State University. She also is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).

Natalie PennywellMs. Pennywell is a public health professional that has combined formal education with scientific and community engagement experience gained from field research and hands on community-based opportunities. She has spent her career focused on elevating community voice, lived experience, and promoting agency in marginalized communities. She constantly strives to serve her communities unapologetically while incorporating public health, outreach, and community/stakeholder engagement best practices and strategies. Ms. Pennywell earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health, Promotion, and Behavior from the USC Arnold School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Voorhees College. She holds certifications as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and a Consumer Health Information Specialist (CHIS). She currently works for Virginia Medicaid as the Outreach and Community Engagement Manager. She was the inaugural Director for the VCU Health Hub at 25th in the east end of Richmond, Virginia; the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Division of Community Nutrition in the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), which includes the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (Virginia WIC Program) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP); a Community Health Educator for VDH’s Crater Health District; and a grant developer for Benedict College. Along her professional journey, Ms. Pennywell has provided operational and programmatic oversight, deepened and accelerated work around health equity and the social determinants of health, and advocated that lived experience be considered, elevated, and incorporated in decision making processes. She is a member of many associations/organizations and currently serves as a board member for the Virginia Public Health Association and Virginia Health Catalyst and on the Director’s Cabinet for VCU Massey Cancer Center. She carries forward her love of service as a very active member in both The Links, Incorporated and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, public service organizations focused on empowering communities of color. Ms. Pennywell believes that if a person stays true to who they are and never forgets from what and whom they came and why they serve, they will thrive and be impactful in the communities they live, work, play, age, love, and grow.

Ayanna N. WoodberryMs. Woodberry has over 15 years of experience working and volunteering with non-profit organizations dedicated to strengthening vulnerable and at-risk communities. She is a health educator, as has conducted trainings and developed programs in the areas of cancer, health policy, health disparities, climate change, disaster preparedness, nutrition, and obesity prevention. Ms. Woodberry earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology from Virginia Union University, a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the USC Arnold School of Public Health Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, and a Master of Science (MS) degree in Biology (with a concentration in Cancer Biology Prevention and Control) from the University of the District of Columbia-Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Partnership Program. She was a 2020-2021 Cancer Research Education Program Scholar through the Howard-Georgetown Collaborative Partnership in Cancer Research. Furthermore, she was a 2021 cohort member of the Clinton Global Initiative University. Through this program, Ms. Woodberry launched a new public health initiative called, “Moving from Surviving to Thriving”, which focuses on utilizing lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to move the Black community into a healthy new normal. In addition, Ms. Woodberry is currently: a PhD student in the Department of Biology at The Howard University Graduate School, a Certified Global Breast Health Educator through the Know Your Lemons Foundation, an appointed Commissioner with the DC Commission for National and Community Service, and she serves on the Board of Directors for the Whitney M. Slater Foundation in Florence, SC, as well as Light of Africa in Silver Spring, MD. 


Jennifer FilloDr. Fillo holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Minnesota and completed an NIAAA postdoctoral fellowship in alcohol etiology and treatment at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She began collaborating with public health researchers and teaching in UB's School of Public Health and Health Professions during her postdoctoral training, experiences which lead her to pursue an MPH. Dr. Fillo joined USC Arnold School of Public Health's Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior as an Assistant Professor in 2021. Her research focuses on social and interpersonal influences on substance use. She also has an interest in military behavioral health, examining the effects of service-connected stress and trauma on the health and well-being of US military service members/veterans and their families. 

Mei SuiDr. Sui is an Associate Professor in the USC Arnold School of Public Health Department of Exercise Science and serves as the director and head of the Health Aspects of Physical Activity Division. She earned her medical degree from Qingdao University, Master of Science (MS) degree in Pathology from Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from the USC Arnold School of Public Health Department of Exercise Science.  Dr. Sui is also a Fellow of American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM). During the last 15 years, she has focused on her research in the field of physical activity epidemiology and investigated the impact of cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity on chronic diseases risk including but not limited to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, stroke, depression. She has published more than 240 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and many are published in high impact journals such as JAMA, JACC, Circulation, Diabetes Care, Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Dr. Sui has also received a Breakthrough Leadership in Research Award from University of South Carolina and has been funded by NIH.


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