A Passion for People

Deloise Whitfield plans to use her master’s degree in public health to help underprivileged communities

Deloise Whitfield’s passion is in helping other people. While in the military, she taught nutrition classes so others could better themselves, and now that she is a retired veteran working with the Department of the Army, she helps others through her job in human resources. The experience of helping others achieve their goals led her to earn a master’s in health sciences from Excelsior College, so she can transition into a career in public health.

Whitfield, of Evans, Georgia, retired from the Army in 2010 after spending 23 years as the senior southeast regional equal opportunity advisor where she was responsible for overseeing equal opportunity programs. She also taught nutrition classes at Patterson Army Medical Center in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. While at the medical center, she was part of a medical team that oversaw the nutritional health of patients and inspected local child development centers to ensure proper nutrition and sanitation guidelines were in place. When she retired, Whitfield became a management support assistant in human resources for the Department of the Army. Much of her time is spent carrying out personnel tasks, including speaking with the public, and she says one of the greatest joys she gets from her job is interacting with people.

She has always considered herself a people person, and her background in nutrition and current experience in human resources inspired her to pursue a career in public health. Her dream job would be working to improve the health of underprivileged communities as an employee of the Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control. “I would love to be able to make a difference in their [peoples’] lives by educating them with nutritional tools to help build a less obese community,” she says.

Whitfield knew she wanted to pursue her master’s degree with Excelsior, having already earned a bachelor’s in liberal arts with the college in 2007. “Online has been heaven for me. Just being able to complete my degree while I’m still able to work and be a mom and so forth,” she says, adding that Excelsior’s academic advisors were a big help on her educational journey, responding timely to any questions she had.

Some courses at Excelsior have even stuck with her and play a part in her day-to-day work. Epidemiology was a particularly interesting course to Whitfield, but statistics was both challenging and beneficial to the career field she wants to enter. “Dealing with biostatistics, epidemiology, or anything… it [statistics] helps with public health, dealing with the different areas. What are the statistics of this particular disease or something? And how it affects this area, and so forth,” she suggests.

Whitfield earned a Master of Science in Health Sciences in May 2019 and with the new degree, she intends to soon make a career change into the public health sector so she can accomplish her goal of helping underprivileged communities.

She also encourages veterans and non-veterans to pursue their educational dreams. “I would say, go for it…If you’ve been in the military, another veteran, and you’re thinking about going to school, I would say go for it,” she says, but cautions that people should be confident that going back to school is something they are truly ready to invest their time in.

She is positive she’s meant to help people and she isn’t going to let anything stop her from reaching her goals. “Don’t let no one tell you that you can’t do it, because you can. And with the understanding that you can, continue to move on and move toward that goal that you’ve set for yourself.” A social science degree can be a great way for those with a passion for helping people to bring positive change to the world.