W&J Alumna Returns to Speak with Students about Diversity in STEM

News 30 600 301 Charvonne Web 05

WASHINGTON, PA (Oct. 2, 2019)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) graduate Charvonne Holliday, Ph.D. will return to W&J on Oct. 3 to speak with current students about her work and experience as a diverse voice in public health.

Dr. Holliday graduated from W&J in 2008 with a degree in biology before matriculating to the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her Ph.D. in public health. She is now an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.

Dr. Holliday has remained connected to the College and her professors since graduating.

“I was back for Homecoming last year. When I come back, I always go to the annual Dieter-Porter Medical Lecture. I talked with Dr. (Ron) Bayline when I was there. He knows my story and the work I’m doing,” she said. “He asked me to talk with his FYS (first year seminar) class about overcoming barriers and what it’s like being an underrepresented minority in the science field. I’ll also be sharing some of my research, which is exciting.”

Her research focuses on women’s health and health disparities, with a primary focus on intimate partner violence (IPV) from the perspectives of men and women.

She will present findings from her study “Engaging Urban Men to Understand Community Influences on Partner Violence Perpetration,” which examined social determinants related to the perpetration of IPV in urban men. She will also highlight the biological components related to IPV as well. The research seminar is open to the public and will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Dieter-Porter 100.

“I’m hoping to increase student awareness around public health and show how a public health perspective is so vital to medicine,” Dr. Holliday said.

She also wants to serve as a representative to students who are underrepresented in the STEM fields, specifically biology.

“When I came to W&J, it was a little overwhelming because I didn’t fit the demographic profile of most of my peers,” she said. “I came from a disadvantaged background…and was one of very few minority students on campus. Because of my different perspective, I had a different experience, and I want to speak to the underrepresented students and show them what they can achieve. That’s something I’m very passionate about and I’m excited to do.”