GRADS Ambassadors

The Graduate Recruitment and Diversity Services (GRADS) Program is the peer-advising arm of the D.R.E.A.M. Office.

The goal of GRADS is to foster diversity within the student population at the School of Public Health by connecting prospective applicants with a team of student volunteers—the GRADS Ambassadors. Our GRADS Ambassadors are available to provide application advice, support and a current student perspective over the course of the admissions cycle.

Profiles of our GRADS Ambassadors are available below—reach out to us at if you would like to connect with someone!

2018-2019 GRADS Ambassadors

4+1/Environmental Health Sciences

Patton Nguyen

Areas of Interest: secondhand smoke, air pollution, southeast asian health disparities

Patton Nguyen is a 4+1 Environmental Health Sciences and Industrial Hygiene MPH student. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Public Health and certificate in Asian American Health from the Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies department in May 2018. After graduating, he worked as a consultant for BSI EHS Services and Solutions performing industrial hygiene and safety assessments. He is interested in air pollution research and is UC Berkeley’s first recipient of the Smoke and Tobacco Free Fellowship. He is also passionate for social justice and health equity among Asian-American communities and has been involved in various multicultural organizations on campus focusing on recruitment and retention.

4+1/Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Elizabeth Li

Areas of Interest: media and technology, policy, mental health

Elizabeth is a 4+1 Epidemiology/Biostatistics MPH student. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a double major in Public Health and Media Studies and a minor in Public Policy in December 2017, and worked at Google between finishing undergrad and beginning the MPH. Her background includes work with the Stanford School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, in which she further developed her interest in mental health—specifically suicide prevention and substance use and addiction. She’s also interested in how media and tech influence public health and the intersection of these areas with policy. She’s happy to connect about the 4+1 program, as well as the undergraduate Public Health major and anything in between!


Tracy Lam-Hine

Areas of Interest: philanthropy, social determinants of health, structural barriers to employment

Tracy Lam-Hine is a first-year DrPH student. Born and raised in the East Bay, Tracy received his BS from UC Berkeley and his MBA from the University of Washington, and has previously worked in healthcare strategy consulting and philanthropy. His research aims to understand work and structural barriers to employment as determinants of health for low-income, immigrant and justice-impacted communities in California, as well as the impact of organizing and advocacy on the health of low-wage workers. More broadly, Tracy is interested in the ways that race, immigration status, neighborhoods and educational and work opportunities work together to influence the health of communities.

Environmental Health Sciences

Kimberly Restrepo

Areas of Interest: climate change, emergency and disaster response, infectious disease

Kimberly Restrepo is from Miami, Florida, and graduated from Florida International University with a BS in Biological Sciences. She is currently a first-year Environmental Health Sciences MPH student. Her interests include climate change, WASH, infectious disease and emergency and disaster response.

Stephanie Ng

Areas of Interest: environmental science, air and water quality, disadvantaged communities

Stephanie Ng is a first-year MPH student in the Environmental Health Sciences program. She graduated from UCLA in 2016 with her BS in Environmental Science and a minor in Environmental Engineering. After graduating from UCLA, she worked for the Oregon Sea Grant, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. She is interested in understanding how air and water quality issues affect health, particularly in disadvantaged communities. In her spare time, she loves hiking and camping, trying new foods and exploring the Bay Area.

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Amanda Tjemsland

Areas of Interest: social epidemiology, health inequities, Native American Health

Amanda Tjemsland is a second-year MPH student in Epidemiology/Biostatistics. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in History of Medicine. After graduating, she was a public health associate fellow at the CDC with placement at the Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center and a health science specialist at the VA Palo Alto. Her main areas of interest include health inequities, Native American health and social epidemiology. During her free time she likes to bake pies and go hiking around the Bay Area.

Arti Kundu

Areas of Interest: global health research, maternal and child health, water- and food-borne pathogens

Arti is an MPH student in Epidemiology/Biostatistics. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at One Health Institute at the University of California, Davis, where she worked on a collaborative project between All India Institute of Medical Sciences and UC Davis, which was funded by a grant from the Fogarty International Center at the National Institute of Health. She uses molecular techniques and stochastic modeling to predict human health risks in developing and developed nations from water-and food-borne pathogens. Prior to her postdoctoral fellowship, she was a graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis. She completed her fieldwork and research on a number of projects including molecular techniques, Microbial Source Tracking and risk assessment modeling. She intends to work on challenging issues arising from contaminated environment for which she can provide practical and cost-effective solutions. Her research focuses on reducing diarrheal diseases in resource-limited countries by measuring enteric pathogens and fecal indicator organisms in stored household drinking water, communal waters and hand-rinse samples of mothers and their young children.

Candice Moses

Areas of Interest: mental health, adolescent health, UC-HBCU Summer Research

Candice is a first-year MPH student in Epidemiology/Biostatistics. She graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2016 with a degree in Public Health Sciences and a minor in Biology. In the past she worked as a UC-HBCU Summer Research Fellow at UC Berkeley examining the effect of adverse childhood experiences on postpartum weight retention in women of childbearing age. Since graduation, Candice worked at the School of Public Health as a Student Services Advisor supporting undergraduate students. Candice is passionate about addressing mental health concerns within the adolescent and young adult population. In her free time, she enjoys going for walks, relaxing and spending time with family.

Cezanne Bianco

Areas of Interest: infectious diseases, communicable disease control and prevention, Zika

Cezanne Bianco is an MPH student in Epidemiology/Biostatistics. She is thrilled to be attending Berkeley where she hopes to connect two passions—data analysis and public health. She plans to work as an infectious disease epidemiologist, working both locally and in developing countries to protect the health of vulnerable populations. Cezanne graduated from UC Irvine where she studied Public Health Policy. She worked at the Orange County Health Care Agency as a Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) funded contract employee in response to international Zika outbreaks. Aside from public health, she loves learning about other cultures and languages. she will be working in Brazil next summer on a Zika project and learning Portuguese.

Dorothy Chen

Areas of Interest: Adverse Childhood Experiences, refugee health, program evaluation

Dorothy Chen grew up in the South Bay Area and graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a BA in Public Health Studies. She is currently a first-year MPH student in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, interested in the long term health impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences, refugee health in the context of man-made humanitarian crises, and program evaluation in resource-constrained settings.

Ijeamaka Anyene

Areas of Interest: consulting, health technology, health insurance

Ijeamaka Anyene is a first-year MPH student in the Epidemiology/Biostatistics program. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in Environmental Studies. After graduating, she worked as in consulting and then at a health technology startup in the health insurance space. She loves spending her time exploring breweries, hanging out with friends and being an amateur horticulturist.

Maher Yassin

Areas of Interest: disease surveillance, vector-borne infectious diseases, outbreak investigation, GIS

Maher Yassin is a first-year MPH student in Epidemiology/Biostatistics. He is from Orange County, California, and completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Applied Statistics at UC Riverside. Prior to coming to Berkeley, he worked in an ecology lab studying biological pest control and entomology. His current goal is to become an infectious disease epidemiologist at a public health department. He is interested in the epidemiology of emerging and vector-borne infectious diseases, disease surveillance, outbreak investigation and the use of mapping software (such as GIS) to better understand and control disease. He is also a member of Cal STAPH and an Epi/Bio Student Government Representative. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, watching movies, baking and discussing politics.

Xing Gao

Areas of Interest: patient education, tobacco control, health disparities, multicultural health, geospatial analysis

Xing is a second-year student in the MPH Epidemiology/Biostatistics program. She graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a bachelor’s in International Studies and Geography, and a concentration in Community and Global Health. As an aspiring researcher, she has worked in a variety of settings such as community health clinics, international health organization, academic research groups and local/state health department on topics ranging from healthcare delivery, environmental hazards and health disparities. She is interested in conducting research at the intersection of race, place and health, with a specific focus on neighborhood environment and geospatial analysis. In her spare time, Xing enjoys trying out new restaurants, learning about Asian American activism and tending to her houseplants.

Global Health and Environment

Everleigh Stokes

Areas of Interest: geographic information systems, data visualization, spatial-temporal analysis

Everleigh Stokes is a second-year MPH student in Global Health and the Environment. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2015, where she earned her BS in Geographic Information Systems, with an emphasis on Sustainability and Global Entrepreneurship. After graduating from Penn State, she worked as a Research Contractor for National Geographic Society and Informatics Analyst at the University of Virginia before returning to school. Her primary interests are conducting spatial-temporal analysis and designing data visualizations for health and climate data. Her goal is to create innovative maps, visualizations and dashboards in an effort to uncover stories behind the data, ultimately using these resources to inform decision making around resource allocation and disease management. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, hiking, watching sports, traveling,and spending time with family.

Lauren O’Neal

Areas of Interest: AmeriCorps, zoonotic/vector-borne infectious disease

Lauren O’Neal is a first-year MPH student in Global Health and the Environment. Originally from Austin, Texas, she attended the University of Texas at Dallas where she completed a BS in Biology, minoring in Public Health and Political Science. After graduating, she completed an AmeriCorps service term in the Keep Austin Housed Program, where she provided medical case management services to people experiencing homelessness. Lauren is interested in the intersection of human and animal environments, zoonotic or vector-borne infectious diseases, and the political and social drivers of health. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outside, accumulating indoor plants and traveling.

Yasmine Griffiths

Areas of Interest: global health, health disparities, research, access to care

Yasmine Griffiths is an MPH candidate in the Global Health and the Environment concentration. Originally from the Atlanta area, she attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville and studied Medicine, Health, & Society and Spanish. Throughout her upbringing, she felt an urge to become as involved as possible in her community. Through this involvement and service, she became increasingly aware of health disparities that plagued many minority communities. While she was at Vanderbilt, her passion for service and alleviating health disparities grew into a passion for researching public health worldwide and increasing access to care in developing nations. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, shopping for vinyl records, visiting coffee shops, reading and going out with friends.

Global Health and Environment/Masters of Science

Alison Ohringer

Areas of Interest: infectious disease dynamics modeling, hepatitis C epidemiology

Alison Ohringer is a second-year MS student in Global Health and Environment. After finishing her undergraduate education at Emory University in Human Health and Spanish, she came to UC Berkeley and earned a MPH in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. Her current research in the Remais Lab focuses on modeling infectious disease dynamics and at the California Department of Public Health, she works on hepatitis C epidemiology. Alison is also an adjunct professor of Epidemiology at San Jose State University.

Health Policy and Management

Jose Jimenez

Areas of Interest: health care access, Latinx communities

Jose Jimenez is a second-year MPH student in Health Policy and Management. He is originally from El Monte and lived in West Covina before coming to graduate school, both cities near Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA, where he studied psychobiology and received a minor in Korean Languages. Before starting graduate school at UC Berkeley, he worked at a FQHC clinic in South Los Angeles and Northeast Los Angeles. He was primary involved in front desk operations, improving clinic procedures and protocols and most recently he oversaw a quality improvement project to reduce same-day appointment wait times. This past summer, he interned at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, a safety-net county hospital, where he was involved in the Digital Disparities project, which aimed to address the low patient portal enrollment among the primarily Spanish-speaking population. Jose is passionate about serving the Latinx and low-income communities and communities that lack access to affordable and comprehensive health care coverage. During his free time, he likes to cook, go out to eat, drink boba, go jogging and hiking, and watch TV, YouTube and Netflix. He is a Disney and Disneyland fanatic. His current favorite show is Game of Thrones.

Justin Yoo

Areas of Interest: tuberculosis, care delivery, immigrant health

Justin Yoo is a first-year MPH student in Health Policy and Management. He grew up in southern California and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014 with a bachelors degree in Integrative Biology. Afterwards he worked in a variety of health-related settings, coordinating epidemiological TB research at a local health department, helping people sign up for health insurance and assisting in vascular procedures at an outpatient surgical center. From these diverse experiences he became interested in learning more about the richly-fragmented nature of the U.S. health system and hopes to work to improve issues in care delivery, patient costs and immigrant health. In his time off he likes to ride his bike, go to the Berkeley Marina and do yoga.

Michelle Carrera

Areas of Interest: community-based participatory research, Latinx communities, AmeriCorps, quality of care, Medicaid policy

Michelle Carrera is a first-year MPH student in Health Policy and Management. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Boston University, where she studied International Relations, with minors in Public Health and Women’s & Gender studies. Michelle has experience working with community-based participatory research projects focused on health disparities in low-income and Latinx populations. Prior to graduate school, Michelle served two years as an AmeriCorps member with the International Rescue Committee, helping recently resettled refugees with acute and chronic health needs in the Intensive Case Management program navigate healthcare systems in the United States. Michelle’s interests include quality of care, coordination of care, Medicaid policy and improving access to care for low-income populations. Originally from Miami, in her free time she enjoys road trips, visiting National Parks and spending time with family.

Tia Gangopadhyay

Areas of Interest: healthcare consulting, quality of care, innovation

Tia is a first-year MPH student in Health Policy and Management. She received her bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley, during which time she interned at a clinic for low-income and uninsured patients and worked on campus in the Health and Medical Apprenticeship program. She then worked as a healthcare consultant before taking a position as an account manager in a technology startup. Tia is passionate about improving patient quality of care through innovation. Outside of her interests in health care, Tia enjoys Friends reruns, poetry, dancing and photography.

Victoria Nichols

Areas of Interest: health policy incentives, payment models, social determinants of health, social media

Victoria Nichols is a second-year MPH student in the Health Policy and Management department at UC Berkeley. She is interested in exploring how health policy incentives, payment models and shared value strategies can be leveraged to encourage healthcare, government and business entities to increase investment in community. Victoria is a proud Kaiser Permanente Scholar and Zetema Fellow. Her fellowship work involves research on health care’s role in addressing social determinants of health, focusing specifically on exploring the business case of this investment for for-profit healthcare systems. In addition to her graduate studies, Victoria serves as the social media director of Plan C, a strategic social media and website campaign aimed at democratizing access to information on medication abortion. Victoria’s professional and academic work builds on knowledge gained from earning her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and government from Claremont McKenna College.

Health and Social Behavior

Diana Lazo

Areas of Interest: AmeriCorps, Health Career Connection, program design and evaluation, social determinants of health, immigrant communities

Diana is a first-year MPH student in Health and Social Behavior. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Spanish and Community and Culture with minors in Geography and Public Affairs. After graduating, Diana interned at a FQHC through the Health Career Connection Program where her duties included grant support, as well as researching trends in patient health needs and barriers to access, helping to guide the clinic’s expansion efforts. From there, she was proud to complete a term of AmeriCorps VISTA service in her own community of City Heights in San Diego, where she was able to gain experience in program design and evaluation. Her research interests include the social determinants of health, particularly in children and immigrant communities. In her spare time, Diana enjoys hanging out with her family and re-watching episodes of Parks and Recreation.

Frances Fu

Areas of Interest: Asian American health, mental health, restorative justice

Frances Fu is second-year MPH student in Health and Social Behavior. She received her BS in Public Health with a minor in Human Development at UC San Diego in 2015. She worked on several research projects pertaining to safe driving in older adults and transportation safety. Though her past work experience centered around transportation, she is redirecting her academic and career path in exploring Asian American health. Her research interest lies in the realm of identity, intergenerational and intercultural dynamics of immigrant families, mental health, and restorative justice and healing. She was born and raised in Oakland, and loves her cat, Ivy.

Kimberly Ababseh

Areas of Interest: minority health disparities, multiculturalism, community-based advocacy

Kimberly Ababseh is a first-year MPH student in the Health and Social Behavior. Before attending UC Berkeley, Kimberly received her BS in Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior and her BA in Communication at UC Davis. After graduating in 2014, she began working at Stanford University School of Medicine under the Stanford Prevention Research Center on a tobacco control team. There Kimberly was able to gain more exposure to major Public Health concerns and develop a budding interest. To further her awareness, she participated in the Youth Advocacy Fellowship with Truth Initiative and also worked as a mentor for the following cohort of YAF fellows. Her research interests focus on minority health disparities, multiculturalism, social determinants and community-based advocacy work. Outside of student life, Kimberly is an avid hiker, tries to enjoy running, loves to experiment with cooking and takes time to continue exploring her hometown of the Bay Area.

Melissa Galinato

Areas of Interest: neuroscience, community health, behavioral and mental health, adolescent wellness, sexual and reproductive health

Melissa Galinato is an MPH student in Health and Social Behavior. Before coming to Berkeley, she earned a PhD in Neuroscience from UC San Diego with a focus on the neurobiology of drug addiction. She continued her passions for science, behavior and mental health as a freelance science writer, editor, community initiative program manager and yoga studio coordinator. She chose the School of Public Health and Health and Social Behavior in order to explore her interests in community health, behavioral and mental health, adolescent wellness and sexual and reproductive health. She loves to hike, do yoga and eat tacos.

Morgan Vien

Areas of Interest: cardiometabolic disease, Asian American populations, stress and generational trauma, structural racism

Morgan Vien is a first-year MPH student in Health and Social Behavior. She is from Fremont, California and graduated from Santa Clara University with a BS in Public Health Science and two minors in Biology and Sociology. She works on type 2 diabetes prevention at a medical clinic, and separately, on ACEs and trauma on an online community. She is interested in preventing cardiometabolic diseases in Asian American populations by addressing several factors including stress, generational trauma, social environment, microaggressions and structural racism, and culturally relevant diet and exercise. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring urban and natural settings in the Bay Area, playing piano and going to the gym.

Serena Master

Areas of Interest: global health policy, refugee health care, access to care

Serena Master is a first-year MPH student in the Health and Social Behavior concentration. She received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern California in Global Health. While at USC, she primarily worked with local Los Angeles communities in addressing issues in walkability, food deserts and access to care. She also did volunteer work in a small village in Rajasthan, India, and focused on sustainable health care interventions in hygiene, sanitation and education. Currently she is interested in the intersection between global health policy, universal access to resources, and addressing refugee health care. In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling and collecting vinyl records.

Tatyana Roberts

Areas of interest: global diplomacy, implementation science, advocacy

Tatyana Roberts is a first-year MPH student in Health and Social Behavior. She graduated from Cornell University in 2016, where she earned a BS in Biological Sciences with a minor in Global Health. After graduation, she worked for Cornell as a Global and Public Health Fellow for their Global Health Program. Her current interests are in health system strengthening initiatives, global diplomacy, implementation science and advocacy. When Tatyana isn’t in class, she likes to spend time outdoors, take spin classes and explore the Bay Area.

Health and Social Behavior / Masters in Social Welfare

Young Kim-Parker

areas of interest: social determinants of health, adolescent health, trauma, resilience, emotional impact of chronic health conditions

Young Kim-Parker is a third-year student in the MSW/MPH program (Health & Social Behavior/MPH and Direct Practice in Health Settings/MSW). Prior to graduate school, Young was a program manager for a community benefits program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Oakland, helping underrepresented high school students to explore and pursue professional health careers. As an MSW/MPH student, Young has interned at Highland Hospital, Harder+Co Community Research and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco with the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. Young’s research interests include social determinants of health, adolescent health, trauma, resilience, health disparities and the emotional impact of chronic health conditions. For fun, Young loves to bake and watch The Great British Baking Show.

Health and Social Behavior / Masters in City Planning

Donna Leong

areas of interest: participatory planning, population health, ACA implementation

Donna Leong is a first-year in the concurrent MCP/MPH program with a MPH focus in Health and Social Behavior. She is interested in ways that participatory planning can promote population health. Prior to coming to graduate school, she led implementation on demonstration projects in coordinated care settings. Additionally, she worked at the State of Rhode Island, focusing on ACA implementation and long-term care projects. Donna is originally from Torrance, CA, and completed her bachelors in Political Science, Ethnic Studies and American Studies from Brown University.

Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology

Aster Workineh

areas of interest: malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, pre-med

I am a second year in the Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology MPH program. After completion, I plan on attending medical school to be able to address high burden diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis.

Diana Holden

areas of interest: healthcare associated infections, antimicrobial resistance

Diana Holden is a first-year MPH student in the Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology program. She is from Honolulu, HI and graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. Her research interests include studying healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance. After graduation, she hopes to work with health departments or hospitals to help control the spread of infectious diseases. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, hiking and exploring the Bay Area.

Gathenji Njoroge

areas of interest: vector-borne disease, pediatric and adolescent health, pre-med

Gathenji is a first-year MPH student in the Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology concentration. He graduated from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Gathenji is interested in vector-borne disease, pediatric and adolescent health and the impact of socioeconomic and political contexts on health. While volunteering in medically-underserved regions of Kenya and Argentina, Gathenji developed a passion for public health and health equity. Gathenji plans to work in public health for a number of years and then attend medical school.

JB Del Rosario

areas of interest: community behavioral health, underserved populations, clinical and sociomedical research, pre-med

JB Del Rosario is a first year MPH student in the Infectious Disease and Vaccinology concentration. Before coming to UC Berkeley, he received his B.S. in Microbiology with a minor in Sociology from UC Davis and immediately started working at the San Francisco Department of Public Health as a Research Associate on several community behavioral health projects. His time at SFDPH granted him experience with underserved populations and he wishes to later obtain an MD to improve clinical and sociomedical research.

Jennifer Nguyen

areas of interest: outbreak response, infectious disease epidemiology

Jennifer Nguyen is a first year MPH student in the concentration Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. She grew up in Garden Grove, CA and graduated from UC San Diego with her B.S. in Biology and a minor in Global Health. After graduation, she worked at UCLA Ronald Reagan hospital researching futility of treatment in ICUs. Jennifer is interested in outbreak response and epidemiology of infectious diseases. In her spare time, she loves watching movies and dancing ballet.

Kaley Parchinski

areas of interest: outbreak response, infectious disease epidemiology

Kaley Parchinski is a first year MPH student in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. She graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2018 with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. During her time at Georgia Tech, she had the chance to work in the CDC’s Department of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria and conduct research on the history of extrinsic incubation period in yellow fever. She likes trying new ramen places and backpacking and hopes to help alleviate health disparities caused by infectious diseases in vulnerable populations.

Phoebe Lu

areas of interest: One Health, zoonotic and foodborne disease

Phoebe Lu is a first-year MPH student in the Infectious Disease and Vaccinology concentration. She grew up in the Bay Area and earned her bachelor’s degree at UC Davis with a major in Animal Science. During her senior year at Davis, she worked for the California Department of Food and Agriculture as an intern in the Antimicrobial Use and Stewardship program. Phoebe’s primary public health interests include One Health, zoonotic and foodborne disease. In her free time, she enjoys going to the gym, trying out new food and cooking.

Joint Medical Program


areas of interest: reproductive justice, trauma-informed care, design thinking

Willow is a 1st year student in the Joint Medical Program. They grew up in Middle America and studied Political Science and Spanish at Swarthmore College. They decided to pursue medical school while living in Bogotá, Colombia and working with families displaced by the armed conflict. Witnessing the impact of extreme violence and forced migration, they saw the intersections of health, trauma, policy and community organizing. Returning to Chicago, they started to complete post-baccalaureate courses. During this time, they held positions as an HIV tester, a medical interpreter, a sex education facilitator, a research coordinator and a data manager. They have also been involved in efforts to develop policies for hospitals and clinics to protect undocumented patients. Through these experiences, they became interested in frameworks such as reproductive justice, trauma-informed care and design thinking to improve how medical care is distributed among underserved communities and are using the dual-degree program at the JMP to pursue these interests. Their other life practices include meditation, hiking, running, reading and traveling.

Nazineen Kandahari

areas of interest: PRIME, immigrant and refugee health, health education, reproductive and sexual health

Nazineen (Naz) Kandahari is a first-year student in the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program and Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved. Naz grew up in the Bay Area and stayed to study Public Health and Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. Her life-experience trying to manage the health of her immigrant family ignited her passion to become a physician. Naz’s commitment to health equity was further fueled by her research with Kaiser Permanente to improve young women’s experience when selecting contraception, her honors thesis with an HHMI-funded molecular genetics lab on delaying age-related decline and her service with a predominantly Latino church on using technology to produce culturally-relevant cancer-screening promotion materials. Her current research interests include immigrant and refugee health, health education and reproductive and sexual health. Naz firmly believes that happiness fuels success; for her, this manifests as maintaining an active lifestyle, baking and enjoying sweets, creating art and enjoying coffee.

Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health

Anika Lovgren

areas of interest: perinatal environmental exposures, health disparities, infant health outcomes, pre-PhD

Anika Lovgren is a first-year MPH student in the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health program. She graduated from Idaho State University with an Honors degree in Psychology and minor in Biology. During her undergraduate career at ISU, she conducted perinatal environmental exposure and maternal substance use research in the Perinatal Psychobiology Laboratory. Her primary research interests include examining perinatal environmental exposures in relation to health disparities and infant health outcomes. Upon the completion of her MPH, she plans to pursue a PhD in Epidemiology. In her spare time, she is an avid traveler and photographer.

Elizabeth Ly

areas of interest: reproductive justice, social justice, health equity

Elizabeth Ly is a second-year MPH student in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley with a major in Public Health and a minor in Public Policy. Prior to graduate school, she worked at UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health with ob/gyns across the U.S. to support family planning training in academic medicine. She has a passion for reproductive justice which is evident in her efforts to infuse social justice into her work and studies. Her current academic focus seeks to explore how research can be leveraged to reduce health inequities in sexual and reproductive health in the United States. On campus, Elizabeth is also involved in several graduate student organizations including the Student Collaborative for Impact Leadership (SCIL), DICE (Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity), and Asian Pacific Islander Women’s Circle (APIWC). In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys finding the best bites a neighborhood has to offer, playing tennis or going for a run, cooking and gaming (board and video alike!) with her friends.


Nancy Ortiz

areas of interest: influenza, Africa, tuberculosis surveillance, HIV prevention

Nancy Ortiz is a fifth-year doctoral student in Epidemiology. She earned a BA in anthropology and an MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. After college, Nancy worked as a clinical research coordinator studying nosocomial and community-acquired MRSA skin infections. She also held a fellowship in tuberculosis surveillance at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and she has supported HIV prevention programs among military populations in Central Africa. Nancy’s dissertation research focuses influenza in Africa. In the off time, she loves to spend as much time as possible in the outdoors.

Public Health Nutrition

Jackie Cuellar

areas of interest: food and nutrition policy and advocacy, childhood obesity prevention, poverty alleviation

Jackie Cuellar is a second-year MPH student in the Public Health Nutrition program. She is originally from Minneapolis and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned her BS in Nutritional Sciences. Her interests include food and nutrition policy and advocacy, childhood obesity prevention and poverty alleviation. She is currently working with the Department of Health and Human Services creating health reports for the American Territories and Freely-Associated States. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants and exploring parks around the bay.

Joyce Lee

areas of interest: school nutrition, childhood obesity, type II diabetes

Joyce Lee is a second-year MPH student in the Public Health Nutrition concentration. She earned her B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience at UC San Diego in 2014. She then worked in STEM-emphasized academic enrichment programs for elementary and middle schools before transitioning to work with Chinese immigrants at a Los Angeles relocation agency. Her interest primarily lies with school nutrition programs and interventions to decrease childhood obesity and type II diabetes within vulnerable populations. During her free time, she enjoys hiking in the Berkeley hills and watching Korean variety shows.

Zach Fernandez

areas of interest: food policy, food environment, health promotion

Zach Fernandez is a second-year MPH student studying Public Health Nutrition. A Bay Area native, he received his BA in Spanish from UC Berkeley. Prior to returning to Cal, Zach worked with a peri-urban community in his family’s hometown in Cochabamba, Bolivia to develop and implement a healthy eating program. He is a strong proponent of policies that change the food environment to promote health. When he’s not working or studying, he loves to create new recipes and explore the exciting Bay Area food scene.

Vanessa Gomez

areas of interest: immigrant health, nutrition-related health disparities, social determinants of health, public health advocacy

Vanessa Gomez is a first-year MPH student in the Public Health Nutrition concentration. She is a Los Angeles native and received her B.S. in Biology from UCLA in 2015. Before starting graduate school at UC Berkeley, she collaborated with community stakeholders at several health non-profit organizations to address a variety of health issues related to reproductive health, nutrition and brain health. Her last job was at the Alzheimer’s Association, where she served as a program & education assistant and coordinated education programs and support groups for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Her interests include immigrant health, nutrition-related health disparities, social determinants of health and public health advocacy. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys binge watching The Office, reading and running.