SHHP Alumni Spotlight


Isabel Barajas
Major:
Bachelor of Science in Health Education with a Community Health Concentration
Graduated: 2014


Where are you?

I am currently working as a Program Planner/Public Health Analyst for the North Georgia Health District 1-2 Department of Public Health.

What career path have you followed?

In 2014 I graduated from Georgia College with a B.S. in Health Education with a minor in Physical Education. During my senior year, I decided to add a community health class as an elective and that class along with that professor (Dr. Lidstone) ended up playing a key role in my first job as a graduate. Soon after graduation, I moved back home and interviewed with a local non-profit for their Community Health Program Planner. The Executive Director of that nonprofit had actually attended Georgia College as well and had previously worked with Dr. Lidstone. He was very impressed with my educational background, especially because we shared a common contact and Alma Matter.

How did your Health Sciences degree prepare you for your career?

My degree allowed me to contribute an abundance of knowledge in the chronic illness sector, nutrition, community health, program planning, and even statistical evaluation. It was a perfect gateway to work towards my Master’s in Public Health degree. I graduated with my Master’s in Public Health in 2017, and still use the work ethic, organizational skills, communication skills, and overall lessons learned in Georgia College to excel in my career.

 


Richard Blake Burrell, PA 
Major: Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training
Graduated: 2012


Where are you?

I am currently a Physician Assistant on Saint Simons Island, Ga. I'm married to my Georgia College sweetheart and we have one daughter.

What career path have you followed?

I graduated from the Athletic Training program at  Georgia College in 2012. Immediately following undergrad, I was the head athletic trainer at Spalding High School in Griffin, Ga. I began physician assistant school in 2013, graduating from South University in 2015. I have worked for Southern Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Brunswick, Georgia for the past 5 years. I work in a multitude of settings including clinic, inpatient hospital patient care, as well as first assisting in the operating room setting.

How did your Health Sciences degree prepare you for your career?

The athletic training program at Georgia College provided me with a pivotal base of knowledge to excel in the orthopedic world. It helped prepare me by taking patient histories as well as performing a physical exam in such a way to make a diagnosis without relying solely on diagnostic imaging. I have been able to take this information in combination with my medical training, to provide a unique experience for patients through treatment as well as patient education. 

 


Charlotte Petonic
Major: Bachelor of Science in Health Education with a Community Health Concentration; MEd in Kinesiology: Health Promotion
Graduated: BS - 2009; MEd - 2012


Where are you?

I am currently the Assistant Director of Health Promotion & Wellness at The University of Alabama. I am a double alum from Georgia College holding a B.S. in Health Education and a Masters of Education in Kinesiology focusing in Health Promotion. In one of my undergraduate classes, I had the opportunity to volunteer with the University Health Educator, Rachel Sullivan. It was during this volunteer experience that I fell in love with educating college students on a variety of health and wellness topics. I volunteered with Ms. Sullivan for several semesters. When I decided to pursue my masters, I applied for and received a graduate assistantship with the Georgia College Student Health Center working for Ms. Sullivan in health education. After this experience, I knew I wanted to be a health educator at a college.

What career path have you followed?

During graduate school, I worked under Dr. Scott Butler on my master’s thesis titled, Condom Embarrassment, Self-Efficacy, and Misuse among College Students. During this study, I surveyed over 300 college students on their embarrassment levels, self-efficacy and condom misuse rates using three validated surveys. I later had the opportunity to present my findings at a poster presentation at the American College Health Associations annual conference in Chicago, IL. It was at this conference where I was interviewed for a newly created Health Educator position at the University of Tampa. Just a few short weeks later I was moving to Tampa for my first job in the field of college health.

After two years of working at the University of Tampa, I applied for the position of Assistant Director of Health Promotion & Wellness at The University of Alabama. In a whirlwind interview process, I interviewed several times and was offered the position. I have been at The University of Alabama for five years now. My focus areas are on mental health education, healthy relationships, and sexual health education and peer health education programs. I currently co-advise a 160 student peer health education group that is one of the largest in the country.

Since graduation, I have kept in touch with Dr. Butler and he has become a professional mentor to me in the field. This past semester we started working together on a research project with a total of 8 campuses about condom use and misuse among college students, a study similar to my research thesis

How did your Health Sciences degree prepare you for your career?

My education and connections from Georgia College have set me up for success in my field and I will forever be a proud Bobcat.

 


Crystal A. Champion, PT, DPT, CLT-ALM, Cert. DN
Major: Bachelor of Science in Health Education with an Exercise Science Concentration
Graduated: 2004


Where are you?

I opened my own practice, Eminence Physical Therapy, LLC., in Gwinnett County, Georgia due to my passion for providing quality care for patients who require cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema therapy. I wanted to encourage patients to take a more holistic approach to restoring their psychological well-being, physical functioning, and quality of life as often the physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional impairments and side-effects resulting from cancer treatment are often not addressed or are improperly addressed.

What career path have you followed?

I graduated from Georgia College with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Education with a Concentration in Exercise Science in 2004 before achieving my Master of Physical Therapy (2006) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (2008) from the Medical College of Georgia. I then became a certified Lymphedema Therapist in 2015 and obtained my certificate in Advanced Lymphedema Management in 2018. I also hold a certificate in Dry Needling through the Spinal Manipulation Institute. I am an active member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc (Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter in Gwinnett County, Georgia). I have served on various committees to include the Cancer Committee, Oncology Continuous Quality Improvement Team, Unit Practice Council, and the Palliative Care Tea, as well as the Atlanta signature fundraiser, Jeffrey Fashion Cares, supporting Susan G. Komen Atlanta and the Atlanta AIDS Fund. I received the Innovators Award for Quality/Patient Safety, a Clinical Excellence Award, and was nominated for the American Health Council Best In Patient Care Award. In October 2019, I received the “40 Under 40” Achievement Award from both The Network Journal of New York City and Georgia Trend Magazine. I am also an American Physical Therapy Association Credentialed Clinical Instructor to facilitate clinical experiences for DPT students.

How did your Health Sciences degree prepare you for your career?

My degree in Exercise Science thoroughly prepared me for physical therapy school. I felt that my first semester of physical therapy school was a review of everything I learned in my Exercise Science major classes!

 


Michael Polascik, MS, ATC, LAT, BFR, FMS
Major:
Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training
Graduated: 2014


Where are you?

II am currently going on my fourth year as the CO/Head Football Athletic Trainer at Jacksonville State University.

What career path have you followed?

I have followed the collegiate Athletic Trainer career path where I have had several positions at colleges working primarily with football. I began with an undergraduate athletic trainer football internship at The University of Alabama. Then I obtained a Football Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer position at Virginia Tech where I worked from 2014-2016. After completion of my Master’s degree, I took a job at The University of Tennessee where I was an intern football assistant Athletic Trainer from 2016-2017. I started my current job in 2017 as the CO/Head Football Athletic Trainer at Jacksonville State University.

How did your Health Sciences degree prepare you for your career?

My health sciences degree from Georgia College & State University provided me with a great foundation of Athletic Training skills and knowledge. Everything that I learned such as orthopedic evaluations to rehabilitation skills provided me with a strong platform to build upon throughout my Athletic Training career and is a big reason why I am the health professional I am today. I will always look back to my time as an undergraduate athletic training student at Georgia College as the best decision I ever made and I will always be grateful for the professors and clinical instructors who helped me become an Athletic Trainer.

 

Contact Information
Dr. Lisa Griffin
Campus Box 112
Milledgeville, GA 31061
Phone 478-445-4072
Fax 478-445-4074
lisa.griffin@gcsu.edu