Graduate Recruitment & Diversity Services

The mission of Graduate Recruitment and Diversity Services (GRADS) Program is to foster diversity within the student population at the School of Public Health—to recruit and support applicants from underrepresented populations and to encourage them to complete their degrees. The program provides prospective applicants with a team of student volunteers—the GRADS Ambassadors—who are available to provide support, advice, and a current student perspective over the course of the admissions cycle.

GRADS Program services are offered and available to all prospective students. We strongly encourage prospective students who are from a social or cultural background underrepresented in public health graduate education, or those who have faced challenges due to cultural or family background, economic resources, age, or other circumstances, to contact the GRADS Program.

What services do GRADS Student Ambassadors provide?

GRADS Student Ambassadors are available in person and via phone, text, or email to converse with prospective applicants as they navigate the application process. There are ambassadors representing the different academic and professional programs offered at the School of Public Health.

In addition, Student Ambassadors travel to graduate fairs, prospective student conferences, and other public health profession-related events across California.

Contact GRADS Student Ambassadors

Please email us anytime, or call us during normal business hours, to schedule an appointment or ask a question. We look forward to hearing from you!
Phone: (510) 642-6698
Email: sphgrads@berkeley.edu

2016-2017 GRADS Coordinators

Christine Naya, MPH candidate
GRADS Coordinator

Christine NayaContact information:
sphgrads@berkeley.edu
(510) 642-6698
461.2 University Hall

Christine Naya is a second-year MPH student in Maternal and Child Health. Originally from warm and sunny Orange County, she graduated from UCLA with a bachelor of science degree in Psychobiology and a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. Before coming to grad school, Christine was a student teacher at an infant development center and conducted research at an educational nonprofit organization. Last year, she worked as a graduate student researcher for the Greater Good Science Center and a graduate student instructor for the Psychology department. During summer, she utilized her quantitative research skills as an intern at the LA County Department of Public Health's Maternal Child Health Bureau. Christine is interested in the psychobiological factors that influence maternal well-being and birth outcomes. 

Andrés Pomart, MPH candidate
GRADS Coordinator

Andres PomertContact information:
sphgrads@berkeley.edu
(510) 642-6698
461.2 University Hall

Andrés Pomart is a second-year MPH student in Epidemiology/Biostatistics. He has nearly ten years of experience working in community health promotion programs with a focus on LGBT, Latino immigrant, and homeless populations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently, he served as a research assistant at the Center for Public Health Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, working on the Shine Study, the largest study of HIV risk and resilience among trans* female youth. He worked on a sub-study examining race, culture, and immigration among trans Latinas and their impact on health. He hopes to further advance research among these populations and work on questions involving access for marginalized communities. His interests also lie in exploring the intersection of epidemiology/biostatistics and technology to develop public health tools that will enable researchers to better reach hidden populations.

2016-2017 GRADS Student Ambassadors

Sofia Andrade
MPH, Health Policy and Management

Sofia Andrade

Sofia Andrade is a first-year MPH student in Health Policy and Management. She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of San Francisco, where she studied International Studies with an emphasis in Global Politics and Societies. Before starting grad school at UC Berkeley, she worked as a legislative aide in the California State Assembly and Senate in health policy. She is passionate about affordable healthcare, access to comprehensive health coverage, and reducing health care costs. In her spare time, she likes to cook, explore, watch a good movie, and spend time with friends and family.

Vanessa Au
MPH, Health and Social Behavior

Vanessa Au

Vanessa Au is a second-year MPH student with a concentration in Health and Social Behavior. She completed bachelor degrees in Public Health Policy and Sciences from UC Irvine. Prior to the MPH program, she worked as a research associate at the Alcohol Research Group and also served as an AmeriCorps member for the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco. Her public health interests include quality improvement, evaluation, and translational research.

Sophia Brasil
MPH, Maternal and Child Health

Sophia Brasil

Sophia Brasil is a first-year MPH student studying Maternal and Child Health. Before moving to Berkeley, she worked at a health policy research center analyzing the impact of e-cigarette use on pregnant women within statewide tobacco cessation programs. She also determined solutions to increase physician recruitment and retention to rural clinics in order to reduce rural health disparities. In addition, she has worked with the International Rescue Committee to help coordinate the health care and medical needs for newly arriving refugees. Her primary research interests are in social epidemiology including oral health disparities in low-income and minority children. She is looking forward to getting more involved with Cal STAPH, CHLA, and intramural soccer. Go Bears!

Erica Browne
DrPH

Erica Browne

Erica Browne is a second-year DrPH student originally from Los Angeles, with strong roots in Covington, Tennessee. She received her MPH degree in Community Health Sciences from UCLA, and a BA in Development Studies from the International Area Studies program at UC Berkeley. Her interest in public health emerged from her curiosity about the cultural, economic, and social factors that circumscribe personal choice. She began her public health career as an HIV/STI test counselor in South Los Angeles, and has spent more than 15 years managing health promotion programs in the areas of sexual health, cancer prevention, HIV/AIDS, and obesity prevention. She most recently served as a community benefit manager for Kaiser Permanente, where she supported community-based obesity prevention, health care access, violence prevention, and asthma prevention and management programs in Northern Alameda and West Contra Costa counties. She is an avid music lover (and children’s storybook collector), who finds great joy in leisurely strolls through the aisles of Amoeba Records and Pegasus Books.

Lauren Caton
MPH, Maternal and Child Health

Lauren Caton

Lauren Caton is a first-year MPH student in the Maternal and Child Health program and recent graduate of the University of Texas with a BS in Nutritional Sciences. As a lifelong Texan, breakfast taco connoisseur, and outdoor enthusiast, the Bay Area was a perfect match! Her experience with founding a nonprofit mentorship organization, along with other internships with other nonprofits and research agencies, allowed her to realize her passion for serving adolescent mental and reproductive health needs through the preventive lens public health provides. After graduation she hopes to earn her doctorate and dedicate her career to developing and evaluating programs that provide youth with the information they need to make healthy decisions.

Chris Chau
DrPH 

Chris ChauChris Chau is a third-year student, pursuing his doctor of public health degree (DrPH) with a focus on Public Health Nutrition. He hails from the City of Angels and earned a BS in biology from UCLA. He then joined the New York City chapter of Teach for America and earned his MS in adolescent education. He later returned to school to earn his post-bac in Nutrition, MPH from UCLA, and credential as a registered dietitian. Afterward, he worked as a project coordinator for UCLA’s REACH program, a $20 million grant funded by the Centers for Disease Control that aimed to combat the obesity epidemic nationwide. His current research examines the predictors of diet quality, abdominal obesity, and heart disease. When Chris is not holed up in the student lounge, he can be found glued to Netflix, watching home renovation shows.

Daniel Collin
MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics

Daniel Collin

Daniel is a first-year MPH student in the Epidemiology/Biostatistics program. He is originally from Guatemala and grew up in Orange County, California. He graduated from UCLA with a BS in Psychobiology and a minor in Spanish. After graduating he worked in the UCLA School of Public Health, helping with nutrition research in elementary schools. He then completed a master’s program in Psychological Research at Cal State University, Long Beach and did a thesis on psychostimulant addiction. Recently, he worked at the University of Southern California Department of Preventive Medicine in studies with colorectal cancer patients. He is interested in using quantitative analysis to improve the health in diverse communities specifically with respect to preventable diseases and mental health. In his free time he enjoys biking and exploring the Bay Area.

Gerardo Cruz
MPH, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology

Gerardo Cruz

Gerardo Cruz is a first-year MPH student in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. He is originally from South Central Los Angeles and completed his undergraduate studies at Cal State Northridge University, where he majored in Environmental Health. During his year off from school, he explored his interests through employment in vector control, particularly mosquito surveillance of aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus, and afterwards worked in the field of HIV/STI prevention. After completing his graduate studies, he would like to work in prevention, control, and/or eradication of mosquito-borne diseases in Latin American countries. He's left-handed, can wiggle his ears, and loves Beyoncé.

Christi-Lynn Del Rosario
MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics

Christi-Lynn Del Rosario

Christi-Lynn del Rosario is a first-year student in the Epidemiology/Biostatistics MPH program. Born and raised in San Diego, she attended UCLA and earned a BS in Biology with a minor in Public Health. She was introduced to the idea of preventive health, and more generally public health, through extensive involvement with a volunteer organization (Pilipinos for Community Health) dedicated to providing basic health screenings and improving access to health services within medically underserved minority communities. Along with other experiences in community-based research and clinical lab work, this bolstered her current interests in chronic diseases and health disparities. Outside of class, she can typically be found indulging her love for sweets, music, and all things Disney.

Amarachi Ejiawoko
MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics

Amarachi Ejiawoko

Amarachi Ejiawoko is a first-year MPH student in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics program with a specialty focus in Global Health. She graduated from Claflin University in 2016 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. There she worked as a health coach for in-need patients in Orangeburg county through a public health program with the local hospital. She also worked on numerous research projects including studying the cancer energy hypothesis and working with the Swaziland Ministry of Health on a HPV and cervical cancer prevalence study. This developed her interests in sexual and reproductive health and related cancers for women, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. She enjoys expressing her love for creativity through dancing to Afrobeats, styling hair, and producing videos.

Johanna Figueroa
MPH, Health and Social Behavior

Johanna Figueroa

Johanna Figueroa is a first-year MPH student in the Health and Social Behavior program. She received her BA in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After graduation, she was a Medi-Cal worker for the Social Services Agency in Orange County for almost three years. She is most interested in how environments (social, economic, historical, and political) shape Latino health disparities, trauma, and healing through a co-learning community-based approach. She enjoys lifting heavy things, cooking sweet treats, discussing political theory, and spending time with loved ones.

Megan Flaviano
MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics

Megan Flaviano

Megan Flaviano is a second-year MPH student in the Epi/Biostats program. She started her public health career with pediatric TB work and an undergraduate Global Health concentration. While at Berkeley, her summer internship with the National Growth & Health Study and current research project have given her opportunities to pursue her academic interests in racial/ethnic health disparities and nutritional epidemiology. She is also a member of API Women’s Circle. In her spare time, she enjoys watching feature films at Shattuck Cinemas and taking leisurely strolls on cloudy East Bay mornings.

Ryan Gamba
PhD, Epidemiology

Ryan Gamba

Before pursing graduate education Ryan Gamba worked at both the Food Bank of Yolo County and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) as a nutrition educator. He received his master of public health degree in Maternal and Child Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and currently remains there as a doctoral candidate in Epidemiology. His research focuses on hunger in America and he primarily has worked with pregnant women and children from immigrant Latino households. He has volunteered as a Court Assigned Special Advocate (CASA) for Alameda County for several years and now serves as a CASA ambassador.

Golda Hernandez
MPH/MSW, Health and Social Behavior

Golda Hernandez

Golda Hernandez is a second-year concurrent master of public health/master of social welfare student. Her concentrations are Health & Social Behavior (MPH) and Direct Practice in Health (MSW). She earned a BA in Psychology and a minor in Education at UC Berkeley. Before graduate school, she worked at the Asian Pacific Fund as a scholarship manager. She also volunteered with Mabuhay Health Center, serving as a health coach, clinic manager, and mental health chair. She currently teaches Mental Health First Aid around the Bay Area. She is interested in integrated behavioral health care, mental health care access, health disparities, and API and immigrant health. She is involved in the School of Public Health's API Women’s Circle and School of Social Welfare’s API Caucus & SOURCE. She enjoys food adventures, scrapbooking, and Hello Kitty in her free time.

Michael Huynh
MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics

Michael Huynh

Michael Huynh is a first-year MPH student in the Epidemiology/Biostatistics concentration. Raised in Orange County, California, he graduated from UCLA with a major in Human Biology and Society and a minor in Global Health. He was involved in a nonprofit organization called Medical, Educational Missions and Outreach (M.E.M.O.) that provides services to the underprivileged in Southern California and rural areas of Vietnam. His research interests lie in multicultural health, social epidemiology, and health issues of Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Outside of academics, he enjoys traveling, reading, playing the piano, and finding anything related to Harry Potter, Studio Ghibli, or Disney. He looks forward to being a GRADS Ambassador and supporting future students in public health!

Dorian Jackson, MPH candidate

Dorian Jackson

Dorian Jackson is a second-year MPH student studying infectious diseases and vaccinology at the School of Public Health. He finished his undergraduate studies in 2015 at Virginia Tech, where he majored in biology with a minor in entomology. Dorian's primary academic interests are in vector-borne diseases and global health. When he finishes his MPH program, he plans to continue his education by going into a PhD program studying infectious diseases.

Christine Kyauk
MPH, Health and Social Behavior

Christine Kyauk

Christine Kyauk graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Biology and a minor in Education and is now an MPH student in Health and Social Behavior. She is excited to be a GRADS Ambassador and is looking forward to meeting you! Before grad school, she researched the effects of novel phytochemicals on human cancer cells and currently works on an adolescent health school-based study to prevent substance use. Her research interests include education access, health education, cancer prevention, and health communication. She enjoys running, swimming, hiking, playing tennis, and chinlone. She also loves cooking and baking all sorts of desserts (especially cookies)!

Namrata Mohanty
MPH, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology

Namrata Mohanty

Namrata Mohanty is a first-year MPH student in the Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology program. Before coming to Berkeley, she graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she completed her undergraduate degree in Public Health, with a minor in Korean. She has held various public health internship positions, including working for Grupo Amas, a nonprofit organization in Madrid, Spain, that encourages visibility and inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her academic interests include global health and prevention strategies for infectious diseases. In her spare time, she enjoys binge-watching TV on Netflix and trying out new nail art designs.

Isabel Muñoz
MPH, Epidemiology/Biostatistics

Isabel Muñoz

Isabel Muñoz is a first-year MPH student in Epidemiology/Biostatistics. While she was an undergraduate she volunteered for the Condom Co-op on campus. After graduation she worked for a year as a laboratory technician at a biotechnology company and worked on the validation and verification of a glucometer that received FDA approval. Then she returned to UC Santa Cruz to work for the Academic Excellence program that strives to increase diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. She created worksheets that bolstered active learning for the Biology and Chemistry classes she supported. Her research interests include: health disparities, maternal and child health, and molecular epidemiology.  In her spare time she enjoys hiking, reading, exploring local cuisines, relaxing with her dog, and attending concerts. 

Samantha Ngo
MPH/MSW, Maternal and Child Health

Samantha Ngo

Samantha Ngo is a third-year student in the concurrent Maternal and Child Health MPH/Direct Practice in Health Services MSW degree program. She also completed her undergraduate degree in Public Health and Social Welfare at UC Berkeley. She is passionate about harnessing big data to improve maternal and child health and translating research into data visualizations for diverse audiences. Her current interest and research focuses on improving health care delivery and outcomes in California’s neonatal intensive care units through the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative, a data-driven statewide quality improvement organization for neonatal care at Stanford University School of Medicine. In her free time, she enjoys backpacking around the world.

Martha Ockenfels-Martinez
MPH, Health and Social Behavior

Martha Ockenfels-Martinez

Martha Ockenfels-Martinez is in the second year of her MPH in Health and Social Behavior at UC Berkeley. She received her undergraduate degree in Chicano Studies and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota. After that, she worked in the Twin Cities doing community organizing around immigrant rights, educational access, and housing justice. Most recently she worked at the Minnesota State House of Representatives as an assistant to the Housing Finance and Policy Committee. She is interested in identifying and facilitating high-level public health interventions to address health inequities.

Alison Ohringer
MPH, Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology

Alison Ohringer

Alison Ohringer is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, where she studied Human Health and Spanish. Her studies as an undergrad took her to both Paris and Buenos Aires to study Global Health and Medicine, and her research focused on the efficacy of various public health strategies in reducing infectious disease in Argentina. In the United States, she has worked extensively with Spanish-speaking patients in the Kaiser Los Angeles emergency department. Now a second-year MPH student in the Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology program, she’s focusing on international health and researching hepatitis C. In her free time, Ali enjoys riding her horses, cooking, and exploring the Bay Area.

Swati Rayasam
MS, Environmental Health Sciences

Swati Rayasam

Swati Rayasam was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, and is a second-year MS in Global Health and the Environment (EHS). She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill where she focused on anti-microbial resistance. She also worked on social justice issues and researched in the Department of Pharmacology and the Center for Infectious Disease. After graduating, she worked for the Duke Human Vaccine Institute on lentiviral antigen expression by BCG (the attenuated TB vaccine strain). Her work at Berkeley focuses on water and sanitation access, menstrual hygiene, and infectious disease, specifically with regard to historically oppressed populations and in the face of climate change. In her free time she likes to try new restaurants around the Bay Area and go hiking.

Diana Rios
MPH, Health Policy and Management

Diana Rios

Diana Rios is a second-year master of public health student in Health Policy and Management. Her academic interests include global health systems and working on health policies that enable communities to live healthy lifestyles. She has an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in Sociology with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. She worked as an analyst at Mission Analytics Group, where she provided technical assistance on long-term care projects under the direction of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; collected data from hospital interviews as part of the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration program; and outreached to hospital systems that provided Ryan White services and were Part C and D grantees to understand and improve funding streams. She enjoys being outdoors (festivals, hiking, running, and finding a shady patio to eat on).

Sylvia Sanchez
PhD, Environmental Health Sciences

Sylvia Sanchez

Sylvia Sanchez is a PhD student in Environmental Health Sciences. She obtained a bachelor of science degree in Microbial Biology and a master of science degree in Environmental Health Sciences from UC Berkeley. Following her undergraduate graduation, she interned at a molecular biology and toxicology lab on campus. Although not her initial career choice, she enjoyed research so much that she has been working in the same lab ever since! She is interested in health disparities, particularly those that affect migrant populations. Her research focuses on hormone levels in blood and their relationship to disease. A Los Angeles native, she enjoys reading classic novels, surfing Netflix, and trying new recipes in her spare time.

Courtney Schiffman
PhD, Biostatistics

Courtney Schiffman

Courtney Schiffman is a first-year PhD candidate in Biostatistics. Her research is in genomics and metabolomics. She is co-president of the Biostatistics Graduate Student Association (BSGSA). She likes to do anything outdoors, including running, backpacking, and swimming.

 

 

Sofia Villagomez
MPH, Public Health Nutrition

Sofia Villagomez

Sofia Villagomez is a first-year MPH student in the Public Health Nutrition concentration. She earned her BS in Nutrition/Dietetics at the University of Arizona where she was actively involved and interested in organizations that did community health outreach. Before coming to Berkeley she was an AmeriCorps Member in Watsonville, California, working with migrant farm laborers through Second Harvest Food Bank, doing nutrition outreach and food insecurity intervention. Her research interests include mothers and children in low-income Latino and migrant communities. As a result she tries to get involved with campus groups that are social justice-minded or aim to serve the Latino community. Left with a few moments of free time she enjoys rock-climbing, craft projects, and sharing meals with friends.

Arianna Wassman
MS, Environmental Health Sciences

Arianna Wassman

Arianna Wassman is a first-year MS candidate in Environmental Health Sciences with a concentration in Global Health & Environment. Before attending UC Berkeley, Arianna received her BS at Stanford University, where she majored in Biology and designed a minor in Gender, Health, & Medicine. After graduating in 2013, she completed a community-health fellowship at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and then worked at Genentech, a pharmaceutical company specializing in biologics. Her research interests currently focus on the intersections of water quality, infectious disease, and social justice movements. Outside of her coursework, Arianna enjoys writing science fiction novels, exploring the Bay Area, and crossing items off her yearly bucket lists.

Emily Yette
PhD, Epidemiology

Emily Yette

Emily Yette is a fourth-year doctoral student in Epidemiology. She earned a BA in Human Biology with a concentration in Adolescent Development from Stanford University. After college, Emily served youth and families at a mental health nonprofit in San Diego and then completed an MPH at the University of Washington. After that, she worked with soldiers recovering from traumatic brain injuries, with a research team at the Washington State Department of Corrections, and with the community- and school-based partnerships unit at Public Health - Seattle & King County. Her dissertation research focuses on the health of black women who identify as lesbian or bisexual. She enjoys the ocean, unsalted vegetables, and laughing. 

Astrid Zamora
MPH, Public Health Nutrition

Astrid Zamora

Astrid Zamora is a first-year MPH student in the Public Health Nutrition program. She completed her undergraduate work at UC Davis in Nutrition and Biochemistry. While at Davis she was able to dip her toes into various aspects of the public health sector, from working in a research lab on FASD studies to practicing her Spanish and providing nutrition education to Hispanic women at a low-income clinic. She is excited to be at Berkeley and hopes to find a medium between research and nutrition education. Her ultimate goal during the program is to gain interpersonal skills that will help her become an effective and culturally sensitive public health professional. When not in class or at work, you can find her losing her voice at a Warriors game or Yelping her way through the Bay Area.

Claudia Zaugg
MPH, Maternal and Child Health

Claudia Zaugg

Claudia Zaugg is a second-year MPH student in the Maternal and Child Health concentration. She is passionate about adolescent sexual and reproductive health and spent her summer internship at a local nonprofit improving a text-message-based sexual health information program for California youth. Before coming to graduate school, she spent time in Ecuador implementing nutrition education programs. She is also a Center for Public Health Practice and Leadership Fellow at UC Berkeley and active in the Berkeley adult soccer leagues.