CLARKSTON, Ga.—Keianna Moyer has saved a young girl from drowning. She’s sat at the bedside of an Alzheimer’s patient, soothing his distraught cries. She’s kissed “boo-boos” and pulled splinters from the fingers of toddlers at a Bible school program. She’s visited homebound and ill church members dealing with severe poverty, and she’s researched the high maternal mortality rates among women of color in the United States.
These experiences helped shape the goals of the 18-year old graduate of DeKalb Early College Academy (DECA) and Georgia State University’s Perimeter College and recipient of the Georgia State Presidential Scholarship.
She is pursuing a future in public health and medicine.
“I just really enjoy making people feel better,” she said.
“She leads with her heart,” said Kathy Hall, the early college program manager who oversees DECA for Perimeter College. “Her purpose is not just to do well and rack up accolades, but to take her knowledge and skills and serve a higher purpose and take care of those less fortunate.”
With a 4.6 grade point average, Moyer is class valedictorian of 52 DECA graduates who are receiving their associate degrees at Perimeter College this semester, as well their high school diplomas.
While at Perimeter, Moyer balanced her DECA classes with student life, student government, and community service activities and working as a lifeguard.
Moyer’s Honors English research paper on maternal mortality galvanized her interest in public health. She wants to specialize in newborn and maternal health and help to improve the maternal health of women of color and poor, rural women, she said.
“I learned many shocking things during the research, and my views on the American healthcare system changed.” she said. “America has the highest (maternal) mortality rate among developed countries. Women of color are more likely than their white counterparts to die from pregnancy complications. I hope a background in public health will help me to address this issue, among other issues facing not only America, but the entire globe.”
Moyer considered multiple colleges for the continuation of her studies, but she chose Georgia State.
“I wanted to be in the heart of Atlanta,” she said. “I love the city, and there are internships available. There’s the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the capitol,” she said.
She is happy she will be part of Georgia State’s Honors College.
“I love Perimeter, how small and close-knit it is, but I knew I couldn’t stay here forever,” said Moyer. “The Honors College is also a small, close-knit community within a bigger university.”
Moyer plans to pursue a new Georgia State offering through which she can earn a bachelor of science degree in public health and a master’s degree in public health in three years. Medical school will follow.