Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Tara Smith

Get to know Dr. Tara Smith, professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health.

Photo of Tara Smith

What do you do at Kent State's College of Public Health?

I’m a professor of epidemiology, focusing on infectious diseases.

What is your latest research/project?

Since the pandemic, I’ve been working more on aspects of science communication, vaccine hesitancy, and infectious disease history. I’m finishing a project now comparing chronic brucellosis infection, often caused by drinking raw milk in the early half of the 20th century, to aspects of long COVID-19 infection today.

Your favorite teaching moment?

Not sure I have a single moment, but I really enjoy discussions when students start to synthesize and apply pieces from prior classes and demonstrate that they’ve learned more than they realized they had.

If you could have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick and why?

AllTrails - finding new places to hike and not getting lost on the ones I sort-of know.

A music player app - any one is fine, just require tunes.

Kindle - I generally use a separate device when I’m regularly reading, but having it on the phone is nice if I’m unexpectedly delayed somewhere.

What's your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?

Play with the dog and kiddo at home. We have two terrier mutts, one 14 years old and the other nine months old, and my nine year old human child at home. Sometimes we’ll all go hiking as well.

What is the last TV show or book that you read?

TV: Last of Us. Part work as it’s a pandemic caused by fungal-infected zombies, part escapism as post-apocalyptic works are one of my favorite genres.

Book: The Book of Gothel, a retelling of the Rapunzel story focused on the history of the witch.

Complete the following sentence:  "Key elements of leadership include:"

Listening and empathy are one and two for me. Too many people really like to listen to themselves and don’t take the time to ask what others are thinking or concerned about, or what ideas they might have. After that, willingness to do the hard work and take the unpopular positions.

What is something that you are looking forward to, both personally and professionally?

Personally, a hiking trip around New England with the family. Professionally, taking some time after classes end to sit with ideas.

POSTED: Thursday, May 11, 2023 11:35 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2023 10:14 AM