Brendan Mathews’ search for equitable outcomes

For the first two weeks of law school, Brendan Mathews (JD ‘23, PhD ‘25), divided his time between attending virtual classes at the University of Cincinnati College of Law and consulting with the Governor of Rhode Island to help overhaul the state's contact tracing efforts. From his makeshift office within the Rhode Island Health Department, Brendan adjusted to life as a law student during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had my little office in the health department where I would hop onto virtual class and then as soon as it was over, I would run around the health department having meetings with people, doing what I needed to do as an epidemiologist,” he recalled. “In the evenings I’d go to the gym, eat dinner, and read for classes the next day. Then get up early and do it all over again.”

Brought up in the rural town of Bardstown, Kentucky, Brendan said he always dreamed bigger than the life expected of him and his peers. His mom, who raised him solo, never let those big dreams seem too far out of reach. 

“I always wanted to go on to do bigger, better things than the prescribed life,” he said. “Today, I do it all for my mom. She has been my support system and my reminder that I have the ability and the skillset to do this. So I'm gonna do it.”

Learn more about Brendan’s journey to a career in legal epidemiology, bridging his passion for public health and the law in his profile story “Bridging the Gap: Brendan Mathews' Search for Equitable Outcomes".  

Photographer: Asa Featherstone

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