“Everyday there’s something going on in our world that will need attention from public health workers. I want to be a part of helping,” says Jasmine Riddle, who will receive her bachelor of science in community health education this May.
Riddle knows first-hand how essential community health programs can be. The Asheville native is the first in her family to attend college and credits community programs with helping to get her there.
“I grew up going to a lot of community organizations. The change that they try to make in our communities and the way they try to give back really made an impact on my journey and getting me here. I want to be the same resource to other people in need,” Riddle says.
She’s already on her way. Thanks to mentor and UNC Greensboro alumna Shaunessy Lofton, currently the director of community engagement at Care Share Health Alliance, Riddle applied for and received a paid internship while earning her bachelor of science. As a program coordinator for the nonprofit, Riddle provided technical support to other nonprofits to help promote access to services. The internship opened her eyes to the reach of community health education.
“I sat in meetings regarding Medicaid expansion, which just got passed in North Carolina. I went to the Minority Health Conference at UNC Chapel Hill,” Riddle says. “I worked on an online community resource map to help communities in all 100 counties find access to services like healthcare, youth and family programs, legal assistance and more.”
Her journey to UNCG was intimidating at first, but the campus and the Greensboro area soon made her feel at home.
“Once I visited the campus, it was the same feeling as my high school,” Riddle says.UNCG’s diversity and large female population attracted me, and I fell in love with Greensboro and urban life.”
Riddle earned a four-year UNCG Guarantee Scholarship, and credits the supportive community in the School of Health and Human Sciences with helping her get through the challenges.
“The public health professors pour into their students and really invest in their success,” Riddle says. “Dr. Meredith Gringle in particular goes above and beyond for her students. She gave each of us her phone number to text her, she helped me find my internship and connected me with my mentor. She’s just really invested in the life of her students, and we appreciate that so much.”
Riddle will enter the masters in public health education program this fall with plans to hopefully apply her education in a large urban area after graduation. She also is aware of setting a new bar in her family.
“I have younger people in my family. I’m excited for them to see me graduate and get my degree,” she says. “Our family can make college a standard now. It’s been challenging, but it’s been rewarding at the same time.
To those coming into the community health education program she has this community-minded advice: “Get to know your cohorts because networking is just so important. You never know what opportunities may arise. Build those connections and support each other.”
Story by Alice Manning Touchette
Photography by Sean Norona, University Communications
Celebrate the Class of 2023!
Graduates: Tag University social media accounts using #UNCGGrad and #UNCGWay. #UNCGGrad-tagged posts will be displayed live on screen at the Greensboro Coliseum. Themed graphics and filters are available on the Class of 2023 digital swag page.