Hiram College

Elisabeth Hesse ‘05

Medical Epidemiologist, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Biology and Biomedical Humanities Major

While at Hiram College, Elisabeth Hesse ’05 learned quite a few lessons that prepared her for a career in public health. In addition to the knowledge she gained as a double major in biology and biomedical humanities, Hesse also learned discipline as a member of the College’s swimming and diving team. “(Swimming) taught me discipline and the ability to keep going when I needed to, despite wanting to stop,” Hesse says.

That determination—along with the assistance of Hiram faculty—certainly helped Hesse as she applied to medical school and earned her MD from The Ohio State University. She then went on to complete her residency at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland and earn a master’s degree in tropical medicine and hygiene at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Hesse served in several preventive medicine roles in the Army before transferring to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2017.

Now, she serves as a medical epidemiologist for the CDC’s Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections in Atlanta, Ga. In her current role, Hesse never knows what the day will entail. However, she is grateful for the diverse learning opportunities her job brings. Hesse recalls that her passion for public health started with a Hiram study abroad trip to Haiti, and she is grateful for the time she had at Hiram to study and experience a wide variety of academic pursuits. “Give yourself time to explore your interests and your passions,” says Hesse. “Consider careers that maybe you hadn’t thought of before.”

In addition to helping combat the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases, Hesse also competes in marathons and Ironman triathlons. Although her scheduled marathon in Antarctica was postponed due to the pandemic, Hesse still plans to compete in a race on every continent.

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