Lizzy Ragan is a White House Fellow from Beavercreek, Ore.
She studied health promotion and health behavior and as a Fellow works on issues related to health outcomes and pandemic prevention.
What inspired you to choose your public health degree?
I started my time at OSU studying archaeology and geology, but in my sophomore year I took a public health class on HIV and STIs and it was one of those “ah-ha” moments that helped me understand what I really wanted to have an impact on in my career.
Tell us about your time at Oregon State. Is there someone or something who/that has helped you succeed?
There are so many people who mentored and helped make my time at OSU rewarding, but two individuals who really stand out in my mind are Dennis Bennett and Mark Hoffman, both of whom I had the privilege of working for as a student employee.
Their supervision and mentorship was fundamental to my personal and professional growth during my time as an OSU student.
What challenges have you overcome along your academic journey?
Professionally, my biggest challenge to date has been returning to work following spinal cord injury.
It took a bit of time and a great deal of introspection to regain my professional identity and confidence, but today I am clearer in my “why” than ever.
What are you doing now?
I am currently a White House Fellow for which I’m placed at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy working on issues related to health outcomes and pandemic prevention.
The White House Fellowship is an incredible one-year, nonpartisan program started in the 1960s that brings people from all different sectors together into a small cohort to experience leadership in the federal government.
What I love about it is that it’s opened my eyes to the level of impact I can have in my career and the universe of what’s possible. I also have a profound new level of respect for the role of the government sector.
If you could deliver a message to your peers or a future student, what would you say?
One of my biggest recommendations is to take advantage of your time in college to expose yourself to topics that you don’t naturally gravitate to. You never know what will be the spark that illuminates your path.