Daniel is determined to make a difference

Erica Daniel ’09 praises professors like Dr. Gregory Weiss with helping make tough decisions.

Erica Daniel ’09 praises professors like Dr. Gregory Weiss with helping make tough decisions.

Graduate says she was inspired by sociology professor

When she was younger, all Erica Daniel '09 wanted to be was a doctor. Now, she credits her close relationships with her Roanoke professors for a more detailed and suited career in international public health, focusing on maternal and child health policy.

"If it wasn't for professors sitting me down and actually asking me what I wanted to do I wouldn't have known as early about public health," Daniel says. "They actually care about what you want to do, even if it isn't related to their field."

Daniel particularly enjoyed working with Dr. Gregory Weiss, professor of sociology, on an independent study focusing on ways to provide health care to Americans and looked at health care issues affecting Ghana and Brazil.

After graduating from high school in Cortland, Ohio, Daniel deferred admissions to Roanoke to spend a year in Brazil through Rotary International. Daniel knew then she wanted to study abroad for a year while enrolled at Roanoke. She later traveled to Ghana, which she says "more or less picked me," to increase her knowledge of the culture and African history. She learned the language, volunteered at the local hospital and traveled to eight of the 10 regions.

"As an African American, I didn't know my culture," Daniel says. "I wanted to live it."

Daniel helped implement a new human anatomy and physiology course for health and human performance majors. She also designed a human biology course with Dr. Frances Bosch. "I mostly did this for the experience," Daniel says. "The department wanted a course that breaks down anatomy and physiology better than a 101 course can."

Starting this fall, Daniel will be attending The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, pursuing a master's in global health - and later hoping to earn a doctorate. "My ultimate goal is to deal with maternal and child health for nonprofits," she says. Something she first discovered at Roanoke

Released: July 20, 2009