Student Spotlight: Emilia Olson

Emilia Olson is a certified EMT and leader of sustainability at the College of Charleston. During the Spring semester of her freshman year, Emilia decided to take an EMS course advertised by the College’s pre-med fraternity, AED, to gain clinical experience with her studies. The semester-long program trains students who wish to work for CofC EMS and other EMS companies. As an aspiring international healthcare clinician, Emilia knew this opportunity would give her valuable experience. The course offers eight hours of lecture and lab a week, ride alongs, and a psychomotor and cognitive exam. By the end of the program, students are certified through the National Registry and South Carolina.

Emilia Olson is a junior at the Honors College of Charleston from Summerville, South Carolina. She is double majoring in International Studies and Public Health with a concentration in Latin American Studies on the pre-med track. She chose the College for the location, the scholarship and study abroad opportunities, and the CofC Honors College. After graduation, Emilia plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Global Health and attend medical school. She hopes to work in the field of international health and practice as a clinician to promote sustainable health systems around the world. Emilia chose her majors because she wanted to have an interdisciplinary background that encompassed current global politics and how policy is determined to influence peoples’ health. Her Latin American Studies concentration allows her to learn about the variety of cultures in the region as well as the intersection between those ancient cultures and globalization. In addition to studying Latin America, Emilia is the founder of Amanecer Textiles, a reusable tote bag non-profit in the region. The business “promotes economic exchange and women’s economic empowerment” with women in Guatemala. Amanecer Textiles advances sustainability and eco-friendly practices in both Guatemala and the U.S. by developing reusable and affordable products.

On a local scale, Emilia is also helping the community by volunteering for the student-run CofC EMS and working for a private company in Charleston. One of the most important parts of volunteering on campus for Emilia is the opportunity to play a clinical role in people’s lives and, at the same time, providing a service that is free of charge. On the other hand, Emilia’s experience working for the private EMT company confirms to her that there are many issues with the US Healthcare system, especially during the times of the pandemic. She saw how the social determinants of health manifested along social and economic lines because of the cost of utilizing the services. This is not a barrier for patients that are aided through CofC EMS.

Emilia recommends any students interested in medical school to consider becoming an EMT and gain valuable medical experience that is community-focused. Not only do students earn clinical hours, but they also gain experience with emergency patient care that is not available in the classroom.

“EMS is the only position you can have as an undergraduate to be as self-sufficient as a medical care provider. With CofC EMS, you’re volunteering and helping the local Charleston community.”

CofC offers a discount for students who wish to learn and volunteer with CofC EMS after certification.


-Christina Ferrell, Peer Career Advisor