Edwin Trevathan (82M, 82PH)
The director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (Tenn.), Edwin Trevathan (82M, 82PH), attributes his love for Emory University medical school to the fact that his scholarship interview was pushed back.
With nothing to do until his interview, Trevathan wandered down the street to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and through the front door, where he was taken for a personal CDC tour. and had lunch with officers from the Epidemic Intelligence Service. , who told him stories about their work. He didn’t know anything about the CDC or public health — he was just trying to kill time — but when Trevathan left to go back to his interview, he knew he was in the right place.
“I just had such a favorable impression that day, that I basically knew I was going to go to Emory whether or not I got the scholarship,” Trevathan said.
He ended up getting a scholarship and attended medical school, where he became the first Emory student to receive a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree simultaneously, despite not not know it at the time. Obtaining both degrees was not a difficult decision for Trevathan – he saw a brochure advertising the new MD MPH program and thought it was a great idea, as he had already decided he wanted an MPH after his limited exposure to the CDC. The double degrees helped him think about medicine differently.
“As I thought of the patient, [I could] think about epidemiology as a whole, policy issues as a whole,” Trevathan said.
Trevathan realized his dream of working at the CDC when he became director of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
“There are so many people from CDC to Emory, so many people from Emory to CDC, that … I see it as almost one big family,” Trevathan said.
While at Emory, Trevathan didn’t just study epidemiology and medicine. He learned “how to learn and how to spend [his] life.”
“Emory’s culture and the way we were raised prepared us for lifelong learning,” Trevathan said.
Trevathan said it will be up to Emory graduates to do the same as the world navigates the pandemic and other difficulties, “overambitious” as that may seem.
“The problems we have in the world today, we’re not going to solve them by my generation leading the way,” Trevathan said. “It will be all of you.”
Djuan Rivers (87C)
Like many pre-med students at Emory, former Animal Kingdom vice president Djuan Rivers (87C) wanted to be a doctor since he was five years old — until, all of a sudden, he didn’t. don’t do. Rivers realized medicine wasn’t for him during his third year at Emory, and he switched to economics.
“Whatever you are certain, believe me, you will be very uncertain later,” Rivers said. “The experiences you have at Emory… fuel that subconsciously, and it will give you the courage to take that leap of faith.”
He graduated without a project, so he applied to the Naval Academy, but withdrew at the last minute during the swearing-in ceremony.
Amid a stock market crash and layoffs, Rivers found himself working at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. A Disney recruiter walked into the hotel and convinced a reluctant Rivers to apply for a general manager position after discovering that he was working at disney at secondary school. Soon after, he got a job in the resorts division and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the vice president of Animal Kingdom.
“It was the transition for my career from what I thought was the perfect job as a doctor, to something that turned out to be an amazing career,” Rivers said. “It took me around the world and gave me incredible opportunities to leave a legacy and inspire people.”
At the time, Rivers, who retired in May, was one of Black Disney’s longest-serving employees. Disney has done a great job promoting diversity, he added.
Although he never had any negative experiences as a black student at Emory, Rivers said he only had about 10 black men and 15 black women in his class and could pass. all day without seeing another person of color on campus.
“The last time I went there was like, ‘Oh my god,'” Rivers said. “I couldn’t believe the diversity of the population…it’s there now. It’s quite incredible.
Rivers said he would tell Emory students not to be so afraid of the unknown because they have the tools to be successful as long as they keep moving forward. And if they don’t know which way to go, Rivers said it doesn’t matter — just pick a goal and work on it, because plans can always be changed later.
“Sometimes life keeps giving you opportunities, but you fight because you feel destined to do something else,” Rivers said. “Your destinies could potentially lie elsewhere.”
Payne Trip (90C)
Professional puzzle maker Trip Payne (90C) started solving crossword puzzles before some kids his age could even write their own names.
Payne, who is a three-time American crusader champion, was drawn to the game from the age of three. Her parents bought her puzzle books and the hobby stuck.
He went from solving crossword puzzles to writing his own. At age 15, he began submitting his self-proclaimed “terrible” designs to magazines, which accepted “one or two out of 20”.
By the time Payne started his freshman year at Emory College as an English major, he knew he wanted his childhood hobby to be a career.
He noted that the University had a “general acceptance vibe” – Emory had a gay and lesbian alliance while Payne was on campus, which he said was a rarity in the 80s. Although he didn’t come out as LGBT until 1991, Payne said students felt encouraged to come out.
However, two days before graduation, Games Magazine, where he was to work in New York, withdrew his job offer. Payne moved to New York anyway, where he edited “not great” puzzle magazines before going freelance and getting a job as an editor for the Crosswords with Friends app.
Payne still writes crossword puzzles, sometimes for such major publications as The New York Times and The New Yorker.
Payne knew that working with crosswords was risky. However, he said he would commend any graduates willing to take the same risk for their “boldness”.
“If that’s really what you want to do, then don’t let your parents blame you for not becoming a doctor,” Payne said. “You only have one life. Use it correctly, and if you are truly a talented and creative person, the world will thank you.
Ellen Gabler (03B)
When New York Times investigative reporter Ellen Gabler (03B) performed parodies during Songfest today, she still remembers the Emory University-themed lyrics.
Gabler spent his four years at Emory in the pool as a member of the swim and dive team. She said the long hours spent preparing for competitions taught her to work hard, a lesson she continues to apply to her career.
“It gives you courage and makes you tough,” Gabler said. “I definitely applied that courage to my reporting.”
Although Gabler, who studied business and journalism, was first interested in Emory because of the swim team, she said it also seemed fine to her academically.
Gabler got a job at a small Minnesota daily after graduating. She worked her way up the journalism ladder, later completing an investigative journalism program at Columbia University (NY) and securing a job as an investigative reporter at the New York Times.
While at the Times, Gabler was a “small part” of the team of journalists who won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for “Harasseda series of stories covering the sexual harassment of women at the hands of powerful men
Gabler credited Emory with inspiring her to become a journalist, particularly former James M. Cox Jr. journalism professor Catherine Manegold, who previously worked at The New York Times and was the first professional journalist Gabler ever met, exposing it to the domain. She was also inspired by Senior Associate Dean and BBA Program Director Andrea Hershatter, who recognized that Gabler was not interested in business and pushed her to pursue journalism.
“The truth is, it doesn’t really matter what your classmates are doing,” Gabler said. “What matters is what inspires you.”
Chrissybil Boulin (15C)
Jump Start Tutors founder Chrissybil Boulin (15C)’s journey to Emory University began over 5,000 miles away. She was studying abroad in Italy as a sophomore at Florida State University when she first met Emory students.
“They seem to have so much vision and a lot of great resources at Emory that allowed them to think outside the box,” Boulin said.
Boulin transferred to Emory the following year and traveled to India, where she studied girls’ education and economic development.
She was inspired to create the Merkabah International Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting schools in Haiti.
“My parents were from Haiti, so I always knew that kids in Haiti were in trouble,” Boulin said. “Realizing that this is happening on a massive scale all over the world was a great idea.”
Boulin then worked as a global youth ambassador for the United Nations before securing an internship at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, where she was offered a full-time job. She felt she made no difference and refused.
“My boss was like, this is going to be the biggest mistake of your life,” Boulin said. “I just took a leap of faith, went back to Florida, did what I’ve always done, and that’s tutoring.”
Working with students inspired her to create Jump Start Tutoring, which aims to “democratize the college entrance process” by making tutoring more accessible.
“I went through a lot of ups and downs, but I always followed my passion,” Boulin said.
Boulin thanks Emory for helping her find her way.
“When I went to Emory, I thought I was going to be a lawyer and a politician, and that’s not how it turned out at all,” Boulin said. “I think it’s beautiful.”