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UCGHI Advocacy Initiative Interns

UC Berkeley

Megha Majumder

Megha is a third-year undergraduate studying Toxicology, Public Health (Epidemiology), and Sociology. Prior to her time at Berkeley, Megha founded a non-profit, Humans of India, which began as a photographic census of the nation's inhabitants, but grew into far more. She worked with Indian politicians to assist and help fund the implementation of a community-based reproductive and maternal health initiative, and facial reconstructions of acid-attack survivors. At Berkeley, she continues her pursuit to make tangible differences: Megha serves as her student government's philanthropy director, working with vulnerable populations in Berkeley to assess the effectiveness of various non-profits and allots grants accordingly. As a Fung Fellow, she studies various medico-legal networks and the experiences of patients in order to devise technologies that may alleviate health disparities experienced by underserved communities. Just last year, Megha co-founded the Alpha Generation, an organization for students interested in exploring specific issues, i.e. genome editing and AI in the workforce, that will impact the lives of people born between 2010 and 2025.

Katelyn Klein

Katelyn is a junior majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and minoring in Disability Studies. Katelyn has a passion for working on issues that will help minimize and eventually eliminate the social determinants of health at a personal and organizational level. She works as a health advocate at Highland Hospital in Oakland connecting patients to public benefits and community resources. She also works part-time as a behavioral technician with children on the autism spectrum, facilitating social interactions and carrying out detailed programs to increase the children's capabilities. At UC Berkeley she serves as coordinator of the Student Health and Counseling Committee acting as a liaison between the student body and the University Health Services. Katelyn also serves as the vice president of membership for the Panhellenic Council, coordinating a recruitment process for more than 1,000 potential members and 2,000+ current members. In this role, she has implemented important diversity and inclusion measures. As a member of the Disabled Student Union and an Arthritis Foundation Ambassador, she advocates for individuals living with disability and chronic illness. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Katelyn plans to work in advocacy and public health for a few years before entering medical school to become a rheumatologist.

Maya Guhan

Maya Guhan is a second-year student intending to major in Public Health. Maya's background and passion for advocacy and activism started in high school where the majority of her advocacy work focused on criminal rehabilitation, foster care, and minimizing the impacts of human trafficking with different legislative solutions. In college, Maya has been doing advocacy work focusing on global health funding relating to HIV/AIDS and maternal and child healthcare. Over the past two years, she visited the congressional offices of Barbara Lee, Mark Desaulnier, Mike Honda, and Eric Swalwell to advocate for increased funding for PEPFAR as well as pushing for increased maternal and child healthcare through a legislative act through REACH. Maya's current focus is on teaching high school students in lower income/low resource neighborhoods the tools of advocacy. Maya also participates in clinical research and volunteers at a low-income Spanish-speaking clinic, further learning and understanding the social determinants of health. Maya writes for the Berkeley Health and Wellness Letter.

Sofia Lochner

Sofia Lochner is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Molecular Cellular Biology with an emphasis in Neurobiology. Sofia recently studied abroad in Monteverde, Costa Rica where she conducted research on an organic, fair-trade coffee farm. She previously worked in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Bissell breast cancer research laboratory. Besides conducting laboratory and field work, Sofia enjoys spending her summers mentoring low-income, first-generation teenage girls through a STEM summer camp at UC Santa Barbara. She has also tutored local 3rd graders, participated in swing dancing with SwingCal, and captained her intramural soccer team.

UC Davis

Clare Mosko

Clare is a second year double majoring in biology and political science, and minoring in Spanish. Clare is passionate about bringing accurate scientific knowledge to politics to inform better policy. Clare is deeply involved with the Model United Nations team where she competes on the national circuit and serves as the executive officer of public relations. Additionally, she has been involved with speech and debate for several years. This past summer, Clare travelled to Ecuador to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary where she rehabilitated and reintroduced animals in the Amazon rainforest.

Brenna Kiniry, Ph.D.

Brenna Kiniry is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology studying mucosal T-cell responses to HIV-1. She received her Ph.D. in microbiology from UC Davis in March 2017. Her dissertation work focused on elucidating CD8 + T-cell responses to HIV-1 in human mucosal tissues with the aim of informing the development of anti-HIV therapeutics and vaccines. During her time as a graduate student, Brenna became certified as an EMT-basic and participated in science communication and business development fellowships. She remains actively involved in community science education, high school STEM mentoring, and local entrepreneurship as a cofounder of a corrective exercise studio. Brenna obtained her B.S. in microbiology from UC Davis and worked as a food safety microbiologist in the fresh produce industry.

Brynna Thigpen

Brynna is a fourth-year undergraduate, studying Psychology, Anthropology, and French. During her time at UC Davis, she has explored many paths. During her freshman year, Brynna was involved with genetic research regarding dengue fever. After competing on the UC Davis triathlon team, she helped found the UC Davis Cross Country and Track club. She interned with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Yaounde, Cameroon and studied abroad in Bordeaux, France in 2015. She additionally volunteered at a rural student-run clinic focusing on holistic healing. She is writing her honors thesis on the effects of self-concept on improvement and achievement. She is looking forward to continuing to impact global health throughout her career.

Connor Grant

Connor Grant is a third-year undergraduate student studying Neuroscience, Physiology, and Behavior. During his time at UC Davis, Connor has been involved in student leadership and advocacy as a member of the Chancellor's Undergraduate Advisory Board and as the executive vice president and president of the Interfraternity Council. He has also worked as a research associate within the department of cardiothoracic surgery at the UC Davis Medical Center (UCDMC). In this role he worked on improving patient engagement and literacy through the design and implementation of a mobile application. As a part of the Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program at UCDMC, he conducted clinical research and was involved in the publication of multiple studies regarding the comparative resource utilization of methamphetamine and cocaine users. He is pursuing a career in surgical oncology and is looking to combine his passion for healthcare and interest in the political system to this internship.

UC Hastings

Johanna Williams

Johanna Williams is a second year law student. She is currently concentrating in Health Care Law and Policy, and has an extensive background in disability rights advocacy. Prior to attending law school, she worked as the community relations coordinator for the city of Aspen, CO, where she spent three years implementing projects to increase the city's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility. She also taught skiing to people with disabilities. At Hastings, Johanna has studied comparative health systems and various international maternal health initiatives. As an editor of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal, she researched and reported on the nature of tribal disability rights laws on Native American reservations.

UC Irvine

Nalima Joshi

Nalima Joshi is a fourth year undergraduate Public Health Policy major. She currently works at UCI Environmental Health and Safety, in the Research Safety Department, ensuring the safety and laboratory protocols of researchers and visiting scientists. She's an active newsletter committee member and socials chair in Global Health Research, Education, and Translation (GRHEAT), a student governed class that promotes awareness of global issues to students across campus. In her spare time, she participates in community service, volunteers at medical outreach programs, and at senior centers.

Elsie Dominguez

Elsie is a third year undergraduate majoring in Public Health Policy and minoring in Political Science and Management. She is currently an executive board member and program manager for Students for Global Peacebuilding (SGP) where she promotes citizen education, advocacy, and action about peacebuilding initiatives on campus. As an assistant public health lead for Engineers Without Borders (EWB), she helped design an educational plan for water conservation for a community in Maventiebo, Madagascar. She currently is developing a hygiene and sanitation program to implement as EWB's next project. Elsie's goals upon graduation are to obtain a master's degree in global health and to work with local government to help reduce health disparities.

Teresa Gaspar

Teresa Gaspar studies Law, Criminology, and Society as well as Education Sciences. As an ANNPOWER Vital Voices fellow, she started her own nonprofit programs to serve low-income youth. As a research and postpartum assistant at Tri-City Hospital in San Diego she helps to evaluate and collect data on labs and to provide safety and quality care to the patients and newborns. She also works with impoverished communities in Central Mexico as part of an Environmental Hazards Team, sampling the effects of natural phenomenon on global health. She is involved with the Associated Students of UCI and leads the national organizing and steering committees. In this role, she meets with student leaders to discuss and strategize on food security, global health, social justice, and education and basic needs efforts on campus. Her responsibilities include organizing political and social efforts with legislators and senators to raise awareness of the needs of students and to propose changes to the budget plans. A vocal activist for change, she received the Change of the Future Award and represented her city as Miss Oceanside Princess. Her career goals include being a politician or congressman to help change and influence laws to make a more fair and just society.


Sarah Lawrence

Sarah is a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine, the program director for the UC Global Health Institute's Advocacy Initiative, and an active member and UCLA chapter leader for Medical Students for Choice. She was a leader of the recent Los Angeles Global Health Conference. Sarah graduated high school at 15 and obtained a BA degree from UC Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies. After graduating in 2010, she worked in international development where, among other things, she led on-the-ground efforts to redesign healthcare delivery in East Timor, and worked on the "Winning the Hearts and Minds" campaign in southern Afghanistan. She then worked as an emergency medic in Cape Town, South Africa for two years. After returning to the US to prepare for medical school, she helped to found Prosperas International, an NGO working to address maternal and childhood malnutrition in the Philippines through sustainable community gardens, and researched mesothelioma in UCSF's Surgical Thoracic Oncology Lab. Sarah is married and has a beautiful daughter who is equally active in advocacy, though more for the purpose of obtaining extra snacks in the park.

Betty Nguyen

Betty is a fourth year undergraduate studying Biology with interests in social justice, health disparities, and global health. Prior to her work with UCGHI Advocacy Initiative, Betty served on the leadership team of the Los Angeles Global Health Conference for two years and was president of the UCLA Residential Life On Campus Housing Council, where she led a team of 24 students to plan programs for more than 11,000 students living in residential halls. Her interest in public health led her to study abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she did ethnographic research on stigma and tuberculosis among health care workers. Betty plans to pursue an MD/MPH dual degree upon graduation and continue working with underserved communities, locally and globally.

Mili Patel

Mili is a first-year undergraduate studying Human Biology and Society, an interdisciplinary major that aims to learn about contemporary issues at the intersections of human biology, genomics and society. She is a member of the Assessing Resident's Ci-Care (ARC) Medical Program where she helps to evaluate the quality of patient care delivered by resident physicians at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. As a research associate for the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, she conducts observational analysis of patient records in relation to healthcare expenditures, providing cost-benefit investigations of how effective healthcare management and spending directly translate to improved medical results. She also is a member of the Fellowship for International Service and Health (FISH), a student-run nonprofit service organization that aims to improve the medical and social institutions of Maclovio Rojas, Mexico through international service trips. As a research and development associate of FISH, Mili is involved in drafting an Institutional Review Board (IRB) proposal to allow the data FISH has been accumulating for the past 12 years to be used in publications and formal presentations about the value of proper sustainable global health interventions. Her career goals include earning an MD/MPH dual degree, using her medical and public health knowledge to first work in clinical medicine and then in administration, management, and policy framework.

Rene Rosas

Rene is a second year undergraduate majoring in International Development Studies with a double minor in Global Health and Labor & Workplace Studies. He is currently a research scholar for the Grand Challenges Research Scholars Program, a program that funds undergraduate research in the field of sustainability and health. His career goals include working at an international development and/or global health nonprofit organization. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in public health or public policy after a gap period. This summer, he is traveling to Lima & Iquitos, Peru to learn about the different health disparities and practices in the country. In his spare time, Rene volunteers in community service events and keeps up to date with international news and issues.

Jacqueline Pei

Jacqueline Pei is a third year undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She enjoys discussing politics and feminism with the wonderfully bright writers, editors, and designers at FEM Magazine, where she serves as the assistant politics editor and the co-director of social outreach. These roles give her a chance to work with passionate student activists, organizations, writers, artists, and leaders to create accessible feminist literature, resources, and events meant to politically engage communities within and outside UCLA. She spends her summers working in the UC San Diego Institute for Genomic Medicine studying gene editing and stem cell therapies for treating various eye diseases. Jacqueline strives to keep up with the rapidly growing field of molecular biology to better understand how to responsibly use these new and maturing tools and knowledge to create better, safer, and more accessible healthcare.

UC Merced

Kesia Garibay

Kesia Garibay is a third year undergraduate student majoring in Public Health and minoring in Business Management. She has background in research on infant and child mortality and was funded through the CAMP program to conduct research on oral health. She is also the president of the Public Health Society (PHS). Within PHS, Kesia and the other executive board members implemented a homeless prevention week and have partnered with the Boys and Girls Club to develop a nutrition program for the kids in the Central Valley. At the 2016 Society for Advancement of Hispanic/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference, Kesia won the Outstanding Presentation Award for her research on oral health among UC Merced students. She hopes to attend graduate school to further her knowledge in global health and one day open a clinic that provides full access to care to anyone regardless of race, religion, or birth of origin.

UC Riverside

Nicholas Freeman

Nicholas is currently a master's candidate in the School of Public Policy. He obtained a BS degree in biology from UC Riverside in 2016. Nicholas has a background in biomedical research and was funded by the National Institutes of Health to conduct research through the MARC U STAR program. In addition, his passion for healthcare prompted him to serve as a clinical care volunteer at Riverside Community Hospital. Nicholas also has experience in the philanthropic sector through his mentorship of a youth grant-makers committee at the Riverside Community Foundation. With a special focus on health policy in his graduate coursework, Nicholas seeks to reduce health disparities on both regional and global scales. Upon completing his degree, Nicholas plans to pursue medicine and use his education in public policy to aid in closing the gaps in health access for all communities.

UC San Diego

Samantha Streuli

Samantha is a third year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology who uses a biocultural approach to examine the ways in which social inequality is physically embodied to produce health disparities for marginalized women. Her research is particularly focused around issues of public health, refugee experiences, gender, race, class, psychosocial stress, migration, and trauma. Prior to her work with the UCGHI Advocacy Initiative, Samantha has worked with underserved populations by teaching ESL and citizenship classes to refugees, and by teaching summer bridge programs to first generation students in San Diego. She has also developed the Anthropology Mentor-Protégé Program (AMPP) at UC San Diego, and currently serves as the director of that program and as a mentor to undergraduate students.

Bannet Muhoozi

Bannet is a first year medical student at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. He received his BS in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia. With a background in engineering, medicine and public health research, Bannet is interested in innovative community-based interventions that improve public health outcomes. Bannet was born in Kampala, Uganda and also lived in Tanzania and Ethiopia where he was exposed to regions with limited access to basic healthcare and very low patient-doctor ratios. He was able to see firsthand the consequences of poverty and a limited healthcare infrastructure on the health of communities. Given this upbringing, he is excited to engage in political advocacy as a very practical way to support the communities he was once a part of. Bannet is also passionate about mentorship and community engagement.

Mina Botros

Mina Botros is a first-year undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Global Health. Prior to his time at UCSD, Mina interned at Loma Linda University (LLU) as a research associate working in Dr. Johnny Figueroa's lab in the Department of Neuroscience. After the experience of working in LLU's Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, Mina has become very passionate about health disparities among underserved populations and hopes to make a career out of advocating for healthcare rights. Mina was born in Cairo, Egypt and moved to the U.S when he was eleven years old. In Cairo, he witnessed the lack of healthcare infrastructure outside the U.S and hopes to one day expand his advocacy beyond America's borders. To achieve such goals, Mina plans to pursue an M.D. and a Master's in Public Health. Mina also is involved in MEDLIFE club where he is able to do community service and give back to the underserved communities. Now part of the UCGHI Advocacy Initiative, Mina is excited to engage in political advocacy and continue to follow his aspirations.

UC San Francisco

Ashley Yang

Ashley is a Masters of Science candidate in Global Health Sciences. She earned a B.A. in International Relations and the Global Economy from the University of Southern California in 2016 with a double minor in French and Natural Sciences. Her academic training has prepared her to be a versatile communicator and critical thinker at the intersection of economic development and population health in a globalized society. During her undergraduate years, she worked with EMERGENCY, a European NGO that provides medical treatment to victims of conflict and poverty, during their expansion to the United States. She has also served as a peer health educator to provide health education to middle school students in underserved areas of Los Angeles. She joined the UCGHI Advocacy Initiative to solve health problems from outside a biomedical perspective. In coming years, she hopes to work for social impact organizations and obtain an M.D.

UC Santa Cruz

Mariati Messinger

Mariati is a fourth year undergraduate studying Biology. She lived in Sumatra, Indonesia, where she was born, for ten years and later lived in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia for seven years. She has gained valuable insight into various cultures and backgrounds from around the world, which inspired her to continue her work on a global platform. Prior to the internship, she was a volunteer at the Santa Cruz AIDS Project assisting HIV-positive clients by conducting HIV testing and delivering educational presentations on social stigma and preventative methods. She also served as president of the Health and Nutrition Club at UCSC. In her sophomore year she conducted research for an effective drug treatment for the neglected tropical diseases, Elephantiasis and African River Blindness. In addition, she was a reporter for the UCSC newspaper, City on a Hill Press, publishing articles on scientific innovations and discoveries happening on campus. Mariati is a strong advocate for women and young girls exploring the STEM fields. She has a deep passion for global and environmental health and wishes to pursue epidemiology or forensic pathology.

Jonathan Tsou

Often times those who advocate passionately for issues have personal journeys that lead them to that place. Jonathan Tsou is a powerful example. After being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder during his time in high school, he has become a leading advocate for mental health. While he has advocated at all levels of government, he continues to believe that change happens at a local level. As a first-year undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, he serves as a Veterans Benefits Coach, an advocate for Planned Parenthood, and a member of the UCSC Arboretum Marketing and Communication Board. Prior to his time at UC Santa Cruz, Jonathan interned as a digital communications intern for Arcadia Unified School District and was a freelance writer for Beacon Media News. With experience in both communications and advocacy, Jonathan is excited to engage in political advocacy with UC Global Health Institute. His career goals include going to medical school and serving low-income communities as a psychiatrist.

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