Exercise science major Sarah Miner of Charlotte has a passion for creating equity in health care — and a career plan to make it happen.
“I want to attend physician assistant school and work in underserved areas, and later become an osteopathic physician,” she said. For that goal, she chose the Exercise Science (BS) – Pre-Professional concentration.
She’s already a certified nursing aid, working 12-15 hours a week with a home health agency to gain clinic experience. Through AppLab, a design thinking course, she is part of an interdisciplinary team of students developing a mobile medical unit for residents of rural Malawi.
“I’m learning teamwork, empathy mapping, research skills and design thinking, which looks at understanding a problem, brainstorming solutions, developing feasibility and presenting a prototype,” she said. “It’s my favorite class this year.”
Miner, who made the chancellor’s list for her GPA as a first-year student, said Appalachian impressed her right away during her campus visit because of the warm welcome she and her family received.
“And then,” she added, “I saw they were building a new Beaver College of Health Sciences building and I got really excited.”
Since arriving on campus, Miner has been engaged with Equity in Action, an annual student-run conference educating participants on issues related to diversity, equality, equity and social justice. She has participated in Sustained Dialogue, an initiative that prepares community members to engage deeply in difficult conversations. She also volunteers in the Multicultural Center in Plemmons Student Union, where she helps create the welcoming environment that attracted her to Appalachian.
“The handwritten notes I received from students made a difference. They made me feel really welcomed,” Miner said. “Now I’m the one in the Multicultural Center writing those handwritten notes to prospective students.”