Meet the 2015 Fellows
Annie Alexandrian, MPH, Health and Social Behavior
I am here because of my passion for social justice, my interest in the social determinants of health, and my family's struggles with limited access to healthcare; all these reasons have made me committed to working on health policy and education with underserved low-income communities of color. I would like to contribute to a supportive and empowering space in which I can grow, both professionally and personally, as well as be inspired by the development of the other Fellows.
Nima Beheshti, MPH, Public Health and Nutrition
The School of Public Health will make sure that, during my future career as a physician, I have the tools and analytic skills to best help the underserved community. The Fellows Program will allow me to work directly with some of Cal's most dynamic and motivated students, allowing me to learn from their expertise and develop my own leadership skills with them.
Victoria Benson, MPH, Health and Social Behavior
I came to the UC Berkeley School of Public Health to strengthen my leadership and social justice skills to fuel my ability to work with communities of color to develop holistic solutions to address structural inequities that create health inequities. I want my assumptions and modes of operation to be challenged and stretched so that I continue to grow as a leader (regardless of the position I hold in the future), and the Fellows program creates an environment and process where I can do that with like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) individuals.
Rachel Blythe, MPH, Environmental Health Sciences
I came to the School of Public Health to gain technical skills along with a comprehensive understanding of issues in environmental and occupational health, all with the goal of promoting positive actions and interactions among individuals and communities at various scales. I am delighted to join the Fellows Program, as it is an unparalleled opportunity to develop my personal leadership style in a community built from the shared experiences of a dynamic peer group in the field of Public Health.
Shya Castillo, MPH, Health & Social Behavior
I am pursuing a degree in Public Health with the goal of working with homeless and marginalized young women in order to improve mental health, self-efficacy, self-empowerment, and self-esteem. I am interested in participating in the Fellows Program in order to learn how to become a fair-minded and humble leader that is capable of teaching young adults how to lead from where they are.
Andy Chau, MPH, Health Policy & Management
I chose to pursue my MPH at the School of Public Health in order to explore further avenues and opportunities in the quality improvement realm of healthcare, as well as to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various factors that influence healthcare access and costs in the United States. My interest in participating in the Fellows Program stems from its commitment to providing a multidisciplinary and nontraditional approach to developing leadership skills that align with the qualifications that every leader in the health industry should possess. Through opportunities to meet with industry professionals, partnerships with local community based organizations, and team building with peers throughout the School of Public Health, the Fellows Program offers an experience that I just couldn't pass up on.
Laura Ann Coelho, MPH, Health and Social Behavior
Drawn to UC Berkeley's School of Public Health because of its dedication to social justice, I came with the intention of developing skills to work directly with communities on community-driven interventions, research, and evaluation to address social and structural determinants of health. I want to participate in the Fellows Program because it is a unique opportunity for personal exploration combined with practical experiential components to build leadership capacity essential for public health work.
Darcy Craig, MPH, Maternal and Child Health
After several years working in maternal health and community wellness, I decided to come to Berkeley's School of Public Health to gain the skills and knowledge to address serious maternal health issues focusing on upstream determinants and systems approach thinking to enhance my ability to greater serve communities. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be in the 2015 Fellows Program. I believe the Fellows Program will provide me the opportunity to collaborate with other public health professionals and help me to lay the foundation for being an effective leader in maternal health.
Maggie Crosby, MPH, Maternal and Child Health
I enrolled in the School of Public Health to compliment my international goals and interests with a skill-set that will allow me to better serve under-resourced women and children. I am excited about participating in the Fellows Program because I see the great potential for personal growth through learning from and collaborating with the other students in my cohort.
Eric Fischer, MPH, Health Policy and Management
I came to Berkeley's School of Public Health to gain a deeper understanding of our nation's healthcare system and learn new skills to craft creative preventive health solutions—specifically pertaining to patients with type 2 diabetes. I am excited to participate in the Fellows Program because I want to explore different leadership styles; I look forward to using my learnings to craft my own unique leadership approach.
Ruvani Fonseka, MPH/MSW, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Management and Planning
I chose to study Public Health and Social Welfare at Berkeley to learn how to address the social inequities that can lead to health disparities across the world – through Berkeley's strong connections to both local and global communities and strong field placement opportunities, I have the chance to make a difference before I graduate. I want to participate in the Fellows Program because it provides the perfect complement to my academic work at both schools, developing the professional and leadership skills that a graduate of Berkeley's MPH and MSW programs would be expected to have.
Megan Hatfield, MPH, Infectious Disease and Vaccionology
I am pursing an MPH in Infectious Disease and Vaccionology to study the biology and determinants of disease in order to better understand how to control the spread of infectious agents in disadvantaged populations worldwide. I am excited to participate in the CHL Fellows Program so I may learn the communication, teamwork, and leadership skills that will enable me to make greater contributions to my field.
Chantal Hildebrand, MPH, Health and Social Behavior
Drawn to the program's holistic approach to education by nurturing skills both within and outside of the classroom, I came to the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley to build a skill base and knowledge that will make me more effective in advocating for marginalized populations (specifically slum dweller communities) through community-based and run health initiatives. Collaborating closely with equally committed students, key Center for Health Leadership staff and community leaders in the Bay Area, the Fellows Program offers a rare opportunity for me to develop my leadership skills to better serve in my community and other communities I may work with later in my career.
Dan Hudes, MBA/MPH, Health Policy & Management
I would like to learn about the healthcare industry more holistically so I can make a lasting impact on the industry. I would like to learn with other leaders in the healthcare industry to gain perspectives and solve real-world problems collaboratively.
Whitney Jemison, MPH, Health Policy & Management
I am at the School of Public Health so that I can fully understand the complexities of the healthcare system. Ideally, I would want to be in a position where I can influence change to cut costs through better efficiency and improved quality of care. The Fellows Program is my opportunity to gain a better sense of self, engage in a leadership development journey, and apply these practical skills in educational and professional settings.
Beth Keolanui, MPH, Health Policy and Management
My academic and professional interests include understanding health care barriers and outcomes in minority groups, especially Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders; exploring wellness programs impact on decreasing chronic disease and health care costs; learning about quality measures; and further understanding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (especially in the hospital setting). I want to participate in the Fellows Program to develop my leadership and public speaking skills, work with mentors and coaches that will ultimately aid me in both my professional and personal life, and build friendships with other students through hands-on project work with local organizations.
Kevin Lee, MPH, Health & Social Behavior
Berkeley provides a wealth of opportunities to integrate my passions for health and social justice by allowing me to explore the social determinants of health among marginalized communities of color in order to build healthier communities. The Fellows Program is an opportunity to foster my personal and professional development via an individual, interpersonal, and community dialogue about how I can become a more effective leader in the field of Public Health.
Stephanie M. Liu, MPH, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
I joined the School of Public Health to pursue a meaningful career, which would ideally involve implementing innovations to improve healthcare quality and access. I am interested in developing valuable professional and personal skills to be a public health leader, while having fun and forming solid relationships with other leaders along the way.
Jenny Nakata, MSW/MPH, Health/Health and Social Behavior
I am at the School of Public Health to learn about how Public Health at a community and population level compliments the individual based work that I'm learning at the School of Social Welfare. I want to participate in the Fellows Program to gain the leadership skills that will be applicable to any of the diverse settings in which I may work as a public health social worker.