UCGHI Student Ambassador Program
The UCGHI Student Ambassador Program is a leadership opportunity for all University of California and Charles R. Drew University students from various disciplines who are dedicated to personal and professional growth by serving and representing their respective campus and UCGHI.
The program goals are to: 1) to educate Ambassadors on global health issues with focuses on the subject areas covered by Center for Planetary Health (CPH), Center for Gender and Health Justice (CGHJ), and Center for Health Workforce Equity (HEAL Initiative); 2) to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in global health through a social justice framework, including decolonizing global health and advancing racial equity; 3) to actively acknowledge, identify, and dismantle power structures that carry legacies of racism, imperialism, and colonialism in global health through collective dialogue; 4) to connect students and faculty/staff across college campuses; 5) to amplify student voices through UCGHI’s social media platforms; and 6) to create professional growth opportunities for student ambassadors such as student engagement opportunities and internship opportunities.
2023-2024 Student Ambassadors
Aatmi Mehta is a second-year undergraduate student at UCLA, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. She is deeply passionate about community health, healthcare equity, and healthcare innovation. Aatmi is dedicated to advancing humanity through research and leadership in science, technology, and medicine, with a strong commitment to improving community well-being and advancing health equity.
Adeena Rahman is a 2nd year at UC Davis studying microbiology and bioinformatics. She is on the pre-medical track in hopes of becoming a specialized physician. Currently, she volunteers at a student-run clinic, works in a lab, and enjoys going on long drives, trying new food, or walking scenic routes. Since high school, she has advocated for health equity and is excited to work with like-minded individuals to continue to promote global health.
Alexia is a third-year student at UC Irvine majoring in Neurobiology and minoring in Public Health. Her academic interests include epidemiology, diseases of the brain, and environmental health practices. She is an annual participant in the LA homeless count and her love of animals is expressed in volunteering with shelter dogs, advocating for best practices in their care, adoption, and training.
Global & Community Health / Latin American & Latino Studies
UC Santa Cruz
Alia Espinoza is a Global & Community Health and Latin American & Latino Studies double major at UCSC. She holds a Student Success position at Cowell Coffee Shop, a non-transactional cafe designed to increase student access and basic needs resources, and is an active member of Kappa Gamma Delta, UCSC’s premier pre-health sorority. She hopes to focus her studies on social justice and its intersection with global and community health and emphasize the message of "healthcare for all".
UC San Diego
Amoha is majoring in Human Biology on the pre-medical track at UC San Diego. She conducts outreach and advocacy efforts for food, housing, and financial security with the UCSD Hub Basic Needs Center. Amoha also served on a reproductive health committee focused on developing sustainable solutions for improving health sectors in the rural village of Vemavaram, India. She also works with the Healthy RC public health to alleviate teen mental health stressors through discussion forums.
Global and Community Health
UC Santa Cruz
Andrew Bridge is a 1st Year Global and Community Health Major at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is originally from Noble, Oklahoma and graduated from Noble High School in 2023. He has been interested in working in healthcare since he took a Human Anatomy Class in his Sophomore year of high school. Beyond the life sciences, Andrew enjoys reading, crossword puzzles, and rock climbing.
Ashreiy Appajodu is an enthusiastic and outspoken undergraduate student at UC Irvine studying Biological Sciences. His professional interests lie in pursuing a career in translational medicine—which began after his experiences working as a clinical intern. He is also interested in conducting research into regenerative medicine technologies using stem cells and advocating for policies that advance health equity. In the future, he aims to be an empathic physician who has a lasting impact on his community.
Human Biology & Society
Audrey Shin is a 3rd year Human Biology & Society student at UCLA. Passionate about the intersection of social factors and healthcare, she volunteers in clinic to help address these issues. Through her experience working in a partnership with MCHI through GlobeMed, Audrey developed a strong commitment to decolonizing global health, promoting healthcare sustainability, and advocating for community-engaged projects. In her free time, Audrey enjoys trying new foods, socializing with friends, and doing pilates.
Brenda is a first-year MPH student at UCLA. She currently works on the MOMS Clinic Study exploring social and structural factors associated with pregnant/postpartum depression and assessing quality of care for birthing people of color, as well as the BRAVE Study analyzing the sexual and reproductive health of Asian immigrant women. She plans to pursue a career at the intersection of public health research and practice advancing health equity domestically and globally.
UC San Diego
Czarina Datiles is a first-year global health major at the University of San Diego, California. She is passionate about mental health awareness and advocacy, women’s health and safety, and providing accessible healthcare for individuals in marginalized and underserved communities. Czarina is looking forward to taking her past experiences dealing with mental health and women’s safety and creating effective strategies that provide resources to those struggling to find support in times of crisis. Although she is still exploring career options, she is interested in traveling to remote and underserved communities around the world in order to uplift and empower the livelihoods of people there.
UC San Diego
Evan Kim is a first-year undergraduate student majoring in public health with a concentration in medicine sciences at UCSD. His goal is to become an infectious disease specialist, specifically working to solve issues of racial inequity in clinical research and serving underdeveloped communities. He also has a passion for mental health and hopes to contribute to research and volunteering in this realm during his time as an undergraduate student.
UC San Diego
Gayatri (Gaya) Kalyan is a second-year student studying Global Health (Pre-Med) at the University of California, San Diego. She’s studying to become an orthopedic surgeon, aiming to enhance the quality of life for all, with a special focus on improving care for geriatric communities. Gaya is dedicated to raising awareness about ableism and empowering people with disabilities, aspiring to foster an inclusive and empowered society. In her leisure, she enjoys singing, reading, and cooking.
Gustavo Calva Hernandez
Gustavo Calva Hernandez is enthusiastic about being part of the Student Ambassador Program for the University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI). As a Global Studies student and minoring in Global Health at UCLA, Gustavo Calva Hernandez is passionate about creating global health opportunities, global climate equity, and creating an enjoyable work environment. Outside of Academia, Gustavo enjoys reading, gaming, and exploring different food options around LA.
Helena is a dedicated PhD student at UCI specializing in Global Health. Her research interests encompass the transmission of infectious and non-infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). She's committed to improving research capacity in LMICs and has a strong passion for exploring the unique challenges faced by individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in such communities. Helena's work aims to drive positive change in global health outcomes.
Irene Lee is a fourth-year Biological Sciences major at UC Irvine. As a first-generation student with background as a dental assistant, leadership roles in the Badminton Club along with student-led organizations for community service, and internships with ASUCI, Irene has cultivated clinical expertise, a passion for community engagement, and an importance of inclusivity and diversity. She is dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing, while ensuring every student feels valued and represented.
Isabella graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in General Biology and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Global Health at UCSF. Recently, she worked with Wuqu’ Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance, an NGO led by and dedicated to indigenous populations in Guatemala, using research to advance health care delivery and access. She also has experience in reproductive and fertility medicine through working in a clinical laboratory. She hopes to be the first in her family to attend medical school and pursue her interest of population health in Central/South America. Specifically, she wants to highlight the importance of maternal, reproductive, and child health in overall development.
Jae Hun Hwang
Human Biology and Society
Jae Hun is a senior Human Biology and Society major at UCLA. He was born in Korea, raised in Turkey, and now residing in the US which ignited a passion for global health. Jae assisted the Pasadena Public Health Department with vaccination appointments during the pandemic. He won a case competition that highlighted a gender-sensitive earthquake disaster relief strategy. Jae's current focus is on improving immigrant/migrant health, addressing the system's gaps for uninsured individuals.
Julia is pursuing a B.S. in Human Development with minors in Public Health and Global Disease Biology. She works for the UC Davis Employee Basic Needs Initiative, to identify and combat areas of food, housing, and other basic needs insecurity for UC Davis employees, as well as the California Department of Public Health as an intern in the Directorate’s Office. After graduation, Julia plans to pursue a career in Global Health Epidemiology.
Justin Minh Nguyen
Human Biology / Public Health
Hello, this is Justin Nguyen, and he is a 4th year majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Public Health at UCI. He is currently interested in working in the healthcare field especially in regards to providing services to underprivileged areas. In terms of career goals, he is looking into pediatrics or nursing. Outside of school, his hobbies include photography, hiking, and just hanging out with friends!
Public Health Policy
Kaylin is a dedicated undergraduate student at UCI, driven by her deep passion for advancing women's rights and improving healthcare for women. Her goal is to conduct extensive research within the healthcare sector, with a specific focus on women's health issues. She is also committed to advocating for marginalized communities and strives to make a meaningful impact in the administrative healthcare field once she graduates.
Charles R. Drew University
CDU Lead Student Liaison
Kimberly Uehisa, born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, draws her passion for addressing the many barriers to healthcare from her lived experiences growing up in a medically underserved community. At UCLA, Kimberly co-founded a heart health program aimed at improving access to quality education and resources, a mission that continues to drive her advocacy for health equity and increased physician diversity. She graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Microbiology and a minor in Global Health in 2019 and from CDU with a M.S. in Biomedical Science in 2022. Kimberly, a three-time student ambassador, is excited to be part of this year's cohort.
Public Health Sciences
Hello! My name is Kourtney Williams. I am a second year public health sciences major with a minor innovation and entrepreneurship at the UCI. I am so grateful to be apart of the UCGHI student ambassador program. Some of my interests in public health include community health awareness, preventive healthcare, and clinical research. I am excited to work under the different centers apart of UCGHI which will further increase my knowledge in global health.
UC San Diego
Lauren Schiele is the Community Building Lead of Partners in Health Engage at UC San Diego studying Global Health with a minor in Biology on the Pre-Physician's Assistant track. She is also a sprinter on the UCSD Track and Field team and founder of Athlete Ally at UCSD. She is passionate about Women's Health, LGBTQIA+ Healthcare as well as Global Mental Health. Over the summer, she represented UCSD and advocated for legislative action in the Paul Farmer Memorial Resolution and the Community Health Worker Access Act through PIH Engage at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
Lesa R. Felton
Charles R. Drew University
Lesa R. Felton is a third-year student in the Biomedical Science program at CDU, with aspirations of becoming a physician scientist. Lesa is an Undergraduate Cancer Research Training Program intern with CDU/UCLA Cancer Center Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities. She is the 2023-2024 SNMA CSMP Executive Assistant to the Kaiser Fellow and MAPS Membership Co-Chair. Lesa is committed to being a part of the next generation of healthcare leaders dedicated to health equity and social justice.
UC Santa Barbara
Litzy Santibanez is a third year Sociology major at UCSB excited about participating as a Student Ambassador for the University of California Global Health Institute. Litzy is passionate about advocating for global health equity, social injustice, and mental health. Besides academics, Litzy enjoys listening to music, watching reality television, and spending time at the beach.
Biological Sciences / Human Biology
Mariam is a Biological Sciences student at UCI. She loves traveling, watching the sunset, and spending time with family and friends. She is interested in health equity for those in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa and hopes to obtain a M.D. in order to provide aid for the underserved around the world. Currently Mariam serves as an intern for ASUCI’s Mental Health Commission, and also participates on UCI’s lacrosse team.
UC San Diego
Marjorie is a junior at UC San Diego studying Global Health (B.S.) with a minor in General Biology on the pre-medical track. She currently works as an undergraduate student researcher in Kauffman Lab where she investigates the feedback mechanisms of the HPG axis. Marjorie was also the Chief Copy Editor for The UCSD Guardian student-led newspaper for the 2022-23 academic year and continues to be a part of the copy reading team.
UC San Diego
Mira Gupta is a 4th-Year Global Health student with a minor in Health and Social Issues. She is interested in researching the intersection of community organizing with healthcare, as well as art and music as a tool for social advocacy and activism. She has done field work in Bali, Indonesia studying sustainability and holistic healthcare, contributed to research for the Homelessness Hub at UCSD, and drafted a thesis titled, 'Community Care as a Way of Life: Understanding and Evaluating the Impacts of Mutual Aid on Quality of Life and Ways to Implement this Framework in the US'.
Mohammad is a second-year master's student in public health with a concentration in health policy and management at UCLA. He has prior experience interning at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, focusing his research on promoting health equity and justice. As a future physician and public health professional, Mohammad is driven by a deep passion and commitment to fostering healthier communities and serving future generations worldwide.
Mohit Saraswat, currently in his third year as a Ph.D. candidate at UC Merced, has a material science research focus at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Beyond academics, he’s committed to advocating for graduate student needs and student initiatives on various systemwide committees. He holds experience in resource management at a federal non-profit (501c3) and actively contributes to multiple roles he currently serves alongside the UCGHI student ambassador program.
UC San Diego
Nadia Azizi is a dedicated and passionate individual who expresses her creativity through baking and indulging in psychological novels. She volunteers with MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition, combating media biases against Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian creatives. Nadia also contributes to her community by volunteering as a Farsi interpreter at Care Harbor and in pop-up clinics serving the unhoused population in Downtown San Diego. On campus, she's a Well Being Peer Educator and is employed as a Patient Care Assistant at a local pediatric urgent care.
Nadia is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley pursuing a bachelor's degree in Microbial Biology. She strives to provide equitable healthcare for vulnerable populations and uphold values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. By planning to pursue a career in law and healthcare, Nadia aims to eliminate medical disparities and establish fair treatment practices for everyone.
Lead Student Ambassador
Natasha is a 4th year PhD Candidate in Public Health at UC Irvine. She is broadly interested in infectious disease epidemiology, spatial epidemiology, and planetary health issues. Her current dissertation work centers around investigating potential socio-behavioral and biological factors influencing malaria infections among migrants to a newly established gold mining village in Western Ethiopia.
Political Science / Global Health
Nina Parsee is a second-year student majoring in Political Science and minoring in Global Health. Her academic interests and research thus far encompass the intersectionality of gang involvement, incarceration, civic education, and reproductive health. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Nina aspires to attend law school and pursue a master's in public health. In her spare time, she enjoys bungee jumping, Duolingo-ing new languages, and reading books that question conventional thought.
UC San Diego
Noor Badri is a fourth year Global Health major at UC San Diego. She is also minoring in Human Rights and Migration. As the daughter of refugees, Noor is interested in the health effects of poverty, refugee health, and child health. She works at multiple student-led organizations at UC San Diego. In the future, she hopes to work with marginalized communities in developing countries to bolster community health outcomes.
Biochemistry / Public Health
Oyku is a third-year Biochemistry student minoring in Public Health at UCLA. As a first-generation immigrant born and raised in Turkey, Oyku is highly interested in improving global healthcare infrastructures and advocating for health education and equity in minorities, especially immigrant communities. With her passion for creating inclusive health care and health education, she has been working with underserved high school students to improve education disparities and experience with the scientific world.
Human Biology and Society
River is an undergraduate student at UCLA who is passionate about healthcare equality, particularly involving transgender healthcare. They have been diving deeper into the intersectionality of LGBTQ identity, race, and ability. They are currently involved in petitioning for an ASL minor (and hopefully major) at UCLA. River is hoping to continue learning more about advancing healthcare accessibility for all.
Samira Siyad is currently a proud fourth year student of the University of California Merced where she is inspired to pursue a career that intertwines both Medicine and Public Health. Her research interests specializes in global health initiatives that can reshape the world.
Sasha Pleasant, a dedicated public health major at the University of California, Irvine, is on a mission to make a difference in healthcare. With aspirations of becoming an anesthesiologist assistant, Sasha combines a passion for medicine with a commitment to sustainability. Beyond the classroom, she can often be found thrifting and promoting clothing recycling, embodying a holistic approach to health and environmental well-being. Sasha's future is as bright as her desire to heal both people and the planet.
Smita is an undergraduate student at UC Riverside pursuing a degree in Biology with a minor in Public Policy. She is passionate about promoting health and wellness through a lens that combines both public health science and policy and is doing so within both the Inland Empire and the University of California system. She is currently working with Dr. Evelyn Vázquez at the UCR School of Medicine to address disparities in graduate and professional student mental health, and works with a few of the UCR School of Medicine Pathway Programs to address different health disparities that persist in the Inland Empire. She holds particular interest in improving health outcomes for Inland Empire residents, and bolstering the care received by historically marginalized communities in the area and California as a whole.
Education / Community Health Sciences
Sonya Brooks, M.S., a Ph.D. student in Education and an MPH student in Community Health Sciences, is a devoted educator, researcher, advocate, disruptor, and scholar who builds gardens in under-resourced schools. Her research lies at the intersections of food and environmental justice, racism, and intergenerational narratives. As the founder of Soil 2 Soil and We Are Our Mother's Gardens, she works with students on how to mitigate food apartheid and create healthier families and communities.
UC San Diego
Suhana is a second year Global Health student at the University of California, San Diego. She is passionate about disability justice, Asian American health, and women's health. She is involved as a Global Health representative at UCSD, volunteers with the Autism Center of Excellence Lab, and also volunteers with the International Health Collective, a nonprofit aimed at reducing health disparities.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Sumayyah is a first year at the University of California, Davis majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular biology. She is passionate about volunteering with local nonprofits in underserved communities. In the future, Sumayyah plans to go beyond the local community and contribute to global volunteer efforts as well as bringing awareness and finding solutions for topics like health equity. In her spare time she enjoys photography, learning new languages, and reading.
Supraja is a 2nd year MPH student in the department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She is a Maternal and Child Health fellow, working as an intern at Curamericas Global’s KIKOP project, to improve maternal and child health in Kenya. She is also a certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counselor at Peace over Violence, passionate about increasing access to sexual assault mental health support services especially for women and children from communities of color. Her long-term goal lies in providing free medical services for the unhoused population.
Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology
UC Santa Cruz
Tanushri Akula is a 4th year undergraduate pursuing a BS in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UC Santa Cruz. She is passionate about advocacy and leadership as the Lead Podcast Director of Brown Women Health, an organization focused on education regarding South Asian health, and as the President of The Indian Student Association at UCSC. She is also passionate about achieving health equity and hopes to pursue a career in public health, specifically epidemiology.
Neuroscience / Global Health
Trisha Badjatia is a neuroscience student at UCLA, minoring in Global Health. She is passionate about equitable access to culturally specific care. Last summer she interned at the Washtenaw County Health Department. There they wrote a literature review on potential mitigations to health inequities in Washtenaw County and worked as a Hindi-Urdu translator. Trisha loves to cook, and will often be in the kitchen making chai and pouring chili oil on everything (not the chai).
Uditi Desai is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UC Riverside majoring in Neuroscience. Alongside her academic journey, Uditi is involved with various initiatives to help fight food insecurity and actively support marginalized groups within the Inland Empire. Uditi hopes to go into the medical field and contribute to the broader goal of improving environmental and public health.
UC San Diego
Vance is a fourth year Public Health major at UC San Diego with a concentration in Community Health Sciences. His experience in the field centers education, advocacy, and providing mental health services to marginalized communities. He’s worked for organizations such as San Diego Center for Children, Monarch School Project, and currently San Diego Youth Services as a Residential Counselor. Vance is dedicated to providing comprehensive gender & sexuality education to healthcare professionals and community members.
Public Health Sciences
Vulena Xiong is a first year at UC Irvine studying Public Health Sciences. Xiong hopes to use her voice to bridge health disparities across underrepresented groups through educating and collaborating with communities. She is an experienced Public Health Youth Leader who utilized research skills in her presentation ‘Diabetes Disparities in the Hmong Community’. Xiong’s goal is to advance healthcare equity, promote preventative health, and expand her thinking of culturally competent health within a global context.
Biological Sciences / Feminist Studies
UC Santa Barbara
Weena is a fourth year Biological Sciences major and Feminist Studies minor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, seeking a career in women's health and advocacy. She currently serves as a research assistant to Professor Laury Oaks in the Feminist Studies Department, researching reproductive politics, while also pursuing independent research on the Black maternal mortality rate. She is interested in reducing health disparities in marginalized communities, while also providing resources to her local community.
The 2023-2024 program application deadline has passed, and we are no longer recruiting for this program.