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Faces of DePauw

Brandon Collins ’23 Student

The experience with the Putnam County Health DePartment has been nothing short of highly rewarding and insightful.

Forming a Path in Public Health

Brandon Collins ’23, a neuroscience and global health double major, chose DePauw because of the small class sizes, tight-knit community and opportunity to be a Bonner scholar and environmental fellow. 

Collins, from Clarksville, Tennessee, began volunteering at the Putnam County Health Department in fall 2021, assisting in the COVID-19 vaccine clinic as part of his community service requirement for the Bonner Scholar Program. 

His interest developed into a passion, he said.

And since then, he has become increasingly involved with the health department.“The experience has been nothing short of highly rewarding and insightful,” he said. “The people I work with have become more and more like family and they are always incredibly supportive of my professional and academic goals.”

In February he was asked to work on a landfill well testing project. “I compiled data that had been collected over nine years and was able to present the results to the Putnam County Board of Health in May,” he said. “There I made a point of emphasizing that there were certain heavy metal concentrations that were above minimum detection levels that would have been unsafe for drinking and bathing.” Since the presentation, he has been able to get approval for furthering the investigation into how that might be affecting residences nearby. 

Collins said many faculty and staff members have guided him in significant ways. “Professor (Sharon) Crary (chemistry and biochemistry) was the reason I ended up majoring in global health after taking her intro course. She and professor Susanne Biehle (psychology and neuroscience) advised me on graduate school opportunities and guided me in one of the environmental health projects I’ve undertaken at the Putnam County Health Department.”

Following graduation, Collins plans to obtain a master of public health degree with the goal of earning a Ph.D. in public health.

Majors: Neuroscience and Global Health