May 19, 2017
Interviewed by Katrina Borofski '17
A rising senior, Luna Hino-Nakayama has spent her time at UMass getting actively involved in a wide range of activities. Originally serving as a parrot caretaker and trainer in Morrill Science Center, Luna has expanded her roles on campus to encompass activities that highlight her passion in public health: serving in the social sciences. Luna works as a receptionist at Safe Passage, an organization located in Northampton devoted to serving those who have suffered from domestic violence and/or relationship abuse. Initially a volunteer, Luna has undergone intensive training on how to interact with those who have suffered from serious trauma and is frequently taking serious crises calls.
“We always think about the public’s health, like everyone’s health, but we don’t really think about the individuals,” explained Luna. “During the training we talked about active listening and how we interact with a single person. To be in a clinical position, where you’re trying to better this single person’s well being, that was different to me.”
In addition to her work at Safe Passage, Luna was also president of the Public Health Club, interns with the STEM Ambassadors Program (a program that seeks to increase retention and graduation levels of STEM students), works for UMass EMS and assists Dr. Lisa Chasan-Taber in her epidemiological research looking at gestational weight gain in the Latina community.
In the future, Luna is considering completing a graduate degree in social work. “That’s something I didn’t think about before volunteering at Safe Passages, but I realized that everyone around me has their Master’s Degree in Social Work and they all do really different things.”
Her advice for other students interested in getting involved in work surrounding public health is to attend events. “You can get a lot of information online, but nothing’s going to happen until you meet people in the department and talk to them!” explained Hino-Nakayama, who referred to many of the events hosted by the Public Health Sciences program and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences as a great place to start.