health studies, School of Science
nicole in a cap and gown

Nicole Barrington '20 arrived at Siena in the fall of 2017, the same year the health studies major launched. Three years later, she's a poster graduate for the program.

While in college, Barrington worked as an EMT for Colonie EMS. When the pandemic struck, she returned home to Syracuse to quarantine with family and finish her final semester (Barrington graduated a full year early). She was happy to be home, but she missed her job as an EMT. She wanted to be on the front lines helping COVID-19 patients. She needed to be there. She's always wanted to help those in distress, but her passion to serve was stoked through her Siena experience. 

"Choosing health studies was the best decision I could have made. The health science track provides students with an eclectic combination of classes that prepares them to enter the world of health. I particularly enjoyed anatomy and physiology with Dr. Bridgit Goldman. From drawing giant board pictures explaining the effects of drugs on the brain to acting out a play describing the immune system response. I also enjoyed engaging in thoughtful discussions with my Health 450 class led by Dr. Dan White. He not only focused on the biomedical approach to medicine, but the sociological, psychological, and economical approaches as well. Most importantly Dr. White taught us to be open minded, understanding, and to embrace a holistic approach when it comes to healthcare."

Barrington currently works as a contact tracer for the New York State Department of Health. She calls people who have been exposed to the virus or are traveling to New York from one of the hot states. She's educating people about quarantine and isolation, and is proud to be making a difference.

"I have learned so much from my education at Siena that I will take with me to graduate school and throughout my life."

"I’m biased, but I love the health studies major and I couldn’t be more proud of the students who choose to learn with us. Our students have stepped up to be in the thick of our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They work in hospitals, in assisted living facilities, in nursing homes, and in medical clinics.

They are first responders, clinical caregivers, and public health practitioners. I'm humbled by their dedication and bravery. As a group, health studies students are motivated to help others. They understand how human biology and human social behavior impact health, health care systems, and health policy. They know how to interpret the health literature and are well-prepared for careers in policy, administration, clinical care, or public health. 

Nicole was a great student, and she exemplifies what we hope for all health studies students: intelligence, compassion, and motivation to learn."

Dan White, Ph.D., director of health professions