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Arnold School of Public Health

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2024 Student Awards

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) is proud to announce the 2024 winners of the department's student awards program. The HPEB Outstanding Master's Student Award recognizes a Master of Public Health (MPH) student for their performance in the classroom/field as well as their potential for professional contributions to the field of health promotion. The Christopher Peter Aluah Outstanding Doctoral Student Award honors the student who best demonstrates the highest level of rigor, commitment and ethics. The HPEB Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research Award is presented to an outstanding undergraduate student who has participated in research activities under the direction of or in collaboration with a faculty member in the department.

Student Award About
Erin Looney

HPEB Outstanding Master’s Student Award: Erin Looney

Erin  Looney is a Colorado native and Oklahoma State graduate with degrees in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering. Throughout her academic career at USC, Erin thrived in various leadership roles across the Office of Sustainability, Student Health and Well-Being, Dean's Student Advisory Council, Graduate Student Association, and the U.S. Green Building Council. In the BEACH Laboratory, her research delved into the built environment's influence on community health, targeting air pollution, walkability, and active transportation disparities. Recognized for academic excellence with honors like the Rosemary Broadway Award and The Graduate School Dean's Award for Master's Achievement, Erin contributed to ASPH Dean's Student Advisory Council and the HPEB Student Engagement Committee. As Vice President-Elect of the Graduate Student Association, Erin aspires to apply her MPH and Certificate of Graduate Study in Global Health from USC to drive lasting change in global environmental health.

Emily Hackworth

Christopher Peter Aluah Outstanding Doctoral Student Award: Emily Hackworth

After graduating with her MPH in HPEB in 2020, Emily Hackworth decided to stay at USC and continue on with her PhD. This allowed her to continue working as a research assistant for Dr. Jim Thrasher, where she has been able to work on a wide variety of research projects using both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand how tobacco control policies influence perceptions and behavior related to tobacco use. Emily is particularly interested in the factors that predict nicotine use among youth, including mental health, gender identity, and risk perceptions. In the fall, Emily will begin a postdoctoral fellowship where she will continue working on research involving tobacco control policies.

Riley O'Neal

HPEB Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research Award: Riley O'Neal

Riley O'Neal always had a passion for understanding health at a community level, which led to her studying public health for her undergraduate degree. She was inspired to continue her career in public health research after working in Dr. Matthew Carpenter's tobacco cessation lab one summer, eventually joining Dr. Jim Thrasher and Dr. Minji Kim's research team at USC. O'Neal has worked as an assistant in multiple studies for smoking intervention efficacy and youth tobacco product use, and she presented her Honors thesis project investigating US youth e-cigarette ad exposure and vaping susceptibility at numerous international and local conferences. After graduating, she will pursue her MPH in Community Health Research at Northwestern University, with plans to apply to MD/PhD programs and achieve her goal of becoming a physician-scientist in translational research.

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