Class of 2021: Seeking to reduce infectious diseases globally

Class of 2021: Seeking to reduce infectious diseases globally

Kelsey Fudge

Where are you from?
I am from Canton, Georgia.

When did you get accepted to Emory University?
I was accepted into Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health Feb. 8, 2021. 

Kelsey Fudge
Kelsey Fudge

Why did you choose to pursue your masters in global health at Emory?
I chose to pursue my MPH in Global Health with a concentration in infectious disease at Emory University for many reasons. First, I knew it would be an honor to be able to attend a university that received a top-four ranking among the 177 public health schools in the nation. I was also drawn to Rollins’ Vision Statement, which is something that I, too, aspire to take part in. Every community, whether it be global or domestic, deserves to live a healthy, quality life, free from social injustices. I believe that, at Emory, my peers and I can work together to make the Rollins Vision Statement a reality for communities across the globe. I am also particularly interested in Rollins’ connections with outside organizations, specifically the CDC, which is where I would like to work post-graduation. Most of all, however, I chose to pursue my MPH at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health because I want to foster excellence wherever I go, both during my time as a student and afterward as well, and I know Emory University can aid me in this endeavor.

Which GC professor made a significant impact on you and why?
There are two GC professors that have made a significant impact on my time here at Georgia College. The first is Dr. Damian Francis. Ever since I met Dr. Francis, I knew I could always count on him. He was always there for me when I needed him, and he showed me what an empathetic and caring heart looked like. He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. The second professor is Dr. Ernest Kaninjing, or “Dr. K.” Dr. K is someone who has pushed me beyond what I thought I could do and has shown me what I am truly capable of. The courses that I have taken from him have not been easy, but they have shown me that I can tackle anything, including getting accepted into Emory University. Without Dr. K’s rigor, tenacity and guidance, I don’t think I would have had the courage to even apply to Emory. So, I want to give a big thank you to both of these amazing professors for guiding me through this journey and helping me get to where I am today. I look up to both of them as role models—their passion for public health inspires me. One day, I hope to influence and change lives just as my professors have done for me. Their enthusiasm is now my passion; their precision is now my motivation. I could not have fallen in love with public health without them.

Which organizations were you a part of at Georgia College?
I am currently part of the sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, and I am the secretary of the Public Health Student Organization. Although I do not currently hold a position in Alpha Omicron Pi, I have previously held the positions of vice president of standards and marketing chair.

How did belonging to them change you as a person?
Belonging to these organizations has undoubtedly helped to shape me into the person I am today. The various positions that I have held in Alpha Omicron Pi definitely put me outside of my comfort zone at times, but this helped me find my voice and become more confident in who I am and what I stand for. Additionally, being a part of the executive board of the Public Health Student Organization has only deepened my passion for the field of public health. I am blessed with the opportunity to serve a group of like-minded individuals, all working towards the same common goal.

What do you hope to do once you get your master's in public health?
Post-graduation, if I do not have a job secured, I plan on applying to the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program. Should I be accepted as a fellow, I will use the skills and knowledge acquired during my college career and continue my passion for global health. Overall, with my public health degree, I hope to decrease morbidity and mortality rates associated with infectious diseases by reducing the prevalence of existing diseases and the incidence of new ones.    

Why is this important to you?
My post-graduation global health plans are important to me because I am passionate about improving the health of all lives, not just those around me. I am eager to broaden the lens through which I view public health—not just nationally, but globally, as well. Simply put, I want to be a part of something bigger than myself.