Skateboarding and Public Health Provide a Transformative Journey at Carolina

Louise Hoff taking on skateboard

Louise Hoff ’25 found her passions ignited during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Motivated by her mother’s work as a nurse during the crisis and a growing interest in public health, Hoff became interested in health disparities and system analysis. Simultaneously, she found solace and self-expression through skateboarding, viewing it as what she describes as a means of embracing her queerness and non-normativity.

Her journey at Carolina has been shaped by these dual passions. Drawn by the Carolina Covenant, which ensures a debt-free education, and the opportunity to study at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, Hoff pursued a major in health policy and management. Her focus expanded towards understanding health care systems and their inherent inequities, fueling her desire for change within these structures.

Her involvement in Carolina Covenant has opened doors to research funding and mentorship, sparking her interest in legal work, particularly related to prisons, through her mentorship with Kaneesha R. Johnson ’16, a legal researcher and postdoctoral scholar in the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity.

“It feels like synchronicity,” Hoff said of her mentorship opportunity with Johnson. “I feel like I’ve had a lot of synchronicity around learning. She does legal research, and we have similar values.”

Beyond academics, Hoff established the BIPOC Skate Collective, a safe space for marginalized individuals interested in skateboarding. This community provides a haven for vulnerable expression and support among peers.

“I know skating can be particularly vulnerable,” Hoff said. “So having the space to fall, having the space to ask for a hand to hold, it’s nice to do that with another person of color.”
Reflecting on her college experience, Hoff cherishes the relationships she has found in skateboarding, her studies and her involvement with Carolina Covenant.

“The community that I’ve made, I think that’s sort of made my college experience,” Hoff said. “Just finding the people who I’ve found home in has been amazing, and I don’t know that I was completely expecting that.”

Written by: Brennan Doherty, University Communications