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Berkeley Public Health student profile: Kelsey MacCuish

Kelsey MacCuish, 23
  • MPH student, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Expected graduation: May 2022
  • Hometown: Los Angeles
  • Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Where are you originally from and where will you be living this fall?

I was born and raised in Los Angeles! I’ve spent the last year and a half of quarantine with my family at my childhood home, and will be living in Downtown Berkeley this fall with my partner, David (Berkeley BPH alum!).

What is your focus in school?

My concentration is in epidemiology and biostatistics. I love that the two go hand-in-hand—epidemiology is the first step in understanding a public health problem, and biostatistics helps us contextualize it in relation to other pressing issues.

Why did you choose Berkeley Public Health for your degree?

I wanted to stay at Berkeley after completing my undergraduate degree in public health in 2020. I loved my professors, the classes, and the focus on social issues in public health that is unique to Berkeley. On top of that, I knew that I wanted to teach while in graduate school, and Berkeley provides a wealth of opportunities for graduate students to GSI. Teaching undergraduates in the same public health courses I took makes me feel like I am giving back to the program that has given me so much over the last few years.

What are you most excited to pursue this coming semester?

I am most excited to get back to teaching! I have loved being a GSI online so far, and am even more excited now that we get to teach labs in person!

What are you most looking forward to when we head to campus in person?

I am really excited to meet my cohort in person! We’ve spent the last year chatting, studying, and having socials online, so I’m really looking forward to doing these things in person. I can’t wait to have cohort-wide socials. After being inside for so long, I think we’re all excited to go on Berkeley adventures with each other!

What’s your favorite place to study?

My favorite place to study is the fifth floor of Berkeley Way West. Whenever I go there, I know I can find my people—classmates, friends, professors, and people who are working hard to make the world a better place.

What’s your favorite place to hang out with friends or classmates on campus?

The Glade or Hearst Field! These two grassy spots are the best places to have big group picnics on those warm, sunny days and to lie on the grass and look at the stars at night.

What would you like to do with your degree after graduation?

I would love to work for a county or state health department. I hope that my work will have a fast turnaround, where the goal is to define an urgent public health problem and implement a solution specifically designed to solve that problem.

How do you think Berkeley Public Health has set you up for success in your future career?

Berkeley has taught me that nothing is handed to anyone and that I need to be an advocate for myself and my work. This means having confidence that my methods and results are valid. This can be scary and intimidating, but it’s an important step to take when developing a career. I think Berkeley has been effective in preparing students for this in the real world—in both training students academically and ensuring they are able to defend their work.