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November 12, 2014 : VIDEO: New Bachelor’s Degree Programs Focus on Health and Wellness in our Community
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager
Lancaster – Graduates of two new bachelor’s degree programs at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington will make an impact on our community. Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work and Human Biology started on the Lancaster Campus at the beginning of Fall Semester.
Dr. Lisa Skeens, faculty member and Social Work advisor, is instrumental in the coordination of the Social Work degree at OUL. She said students in the four-year, accredited program take courses studying human behavior, practice, research and policy.  The program prepares students for entry level positions in the field.
“Our students have training to access, intervene and evaluate services for clients,” said Skeens. “They can enter the field and work in a variety of settings.”
Adrienne Brown said she decided to major in Social Work so that she can help people in our community.  Like all counties in the state of Ohio, Fairfield County is dealing with prescription drug addiction issues. Brown wants to be on the front lines when it comes to dealing with the problem.
“I have some personal experiences, experiences with people I know.  I just want to be able to help others,” said Brown. “I chose Social Work because there are problems with alcohol and drugs in every community and many people in our community are struggling. I want to be able to help them with that and direct them to the resources they need.”
“Having a Social Work program at OUL puts us in a good position to help people in the community who need services to deal with addiction issues.” said Skeens.
Brown wants to be a crisis counselor for those dealing with substance abuse. Skeens said that there are also many other jobs for students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. They can work for the child in protection, foster care, or mental health.  Additionally, they can qualify to become case managers or advocates.
There are several courses in the program that prepare students for interaction with people who are in their most vulnerable state.
“I’m excited about coming into someone’s life when they are most in need because it is a critical point,” said Brown. “I’m hoping to help turn them around and get them on the right track.”
Brown said she likes the OUL Social Work program because of the small class sizes that give students a chance to bond, share experiences and work through them together.  She also said that many of the professors have real world experience they bring to the classroom.
The Bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology also started at the beginning of Fall Semester. Dr. Jackie Tudor, faculty member and Human Biology advisor, is instrumental in the coordination of the Human Biology program at OUL.  Human Biology students take courses related to the function and structure of the human body.
“This degree is really geared towards students who would like to go into careers in health care or public health,” said Tudor. “A lot of students are considering jobs as physician’s assistants or physical therapists. But there are other possibilities. You also could also pursue careers in genetic counseling, medical writing, and scientific writing. A student could also pursue a research career.”
Student Ayden Wilson said the classes and work she has done while a part of the program have inspired her to go on to graduate school and pursue a research career.
“The classes are challenging, but that’s what makes them fun,” said Wilson. “I enjoy learning about science because it’s a little more challenging.”
Wilson worked with Tudor as a research assistant over the summer, and they collected water samples from Buckeye Lake to test for types of bacteria.
“We’re still working to identify the specific species of bacteria, but ultimately we’d like to find species of bacteria that are of public health significance,” said Tudor. “We hope to make the public more informed of the areas they are using - the areas they are swimming, boating, and fishing have bacteria that have the potential to cause diseases.  We want to make sure that people are swimming and enjoying a healthy water environment.” 
The Biology and Social Work programs are two of 11 bachelor’s degrees that can be completed at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington.   Skeens, Tudor and their students were interviewed for a monthly “Fairfield Today at OUL” television program that airs on the Lancaster Schools Network.