Monday, May 10, 2010

Linking science and social justice

“As a freshman, I had just come out of the closet,” says Scot Seitz, a graduating senior who majored in biology and women’s studies. At Emory, you can feel comfortable no matter what your identity, says the winner of the 2010 Lucius Lamar McMullan Award, one of the university’s biggest student honors.

“It is interesting, a man taking women’s studies courses. Most people wouldn’t expect that,” Seitz says. “At its core I think women’s studies is looking at issues, ideas, from a different perspective. It encourages you to be creative in your thinking.”

Seitz’ creative path through Emory included working in the lab of chemist Lanny Liebeskind, and at the Emory Center for Global Safe Water, under the direction of Christine Moe and Juan Leon in the Rollins School of Public Health. He traveled to Bolivia his sophomore year, to research ecological sanitation.

“I’m interested in ways to reduce health disparities,” Seitz says. He wrote an honor’s thesis on the disproportionate rates of HIV infection in African American women. After working for two years with Teach for America in Atlanta, Seitz plans to pursue a master’s in public health and a doctorate in epidemiology.

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