Meet Your Peer Advisors
Social Science Track
Double major: Public Health and Psychology
My name is Molly Flynn and I am a double major in Public Health and Psychology. I am one of the co-Head Advisors and will be graduating in 2013. I am also on the Social Science Track. I became a Public Health major because it is so interdisciplinary and yet it teaches one overall message - preventative care. I also love how Public Health encourages students to volunteer and give back to their community. My favorite course for the Social Science Track requirement is definitely PSYCH 380 Abnormal Psychology. This class was not only extremely interesting, but it also opened my eyes to the mental health field. After taking this course I knew that I wanted to focus my work after school in mental health and incorporate my public health and psychology background.
I am very involved in Habitat for Humanity on campus and off. I am currently the president for the UMass Amherst Habitat for Humanity and have gone on three Habitat spring break trips in Mobile, Alabama, Miami, Florida, and Taos, New Mexico. I am also involved in the on-campus group Ghana ACT, which sends volunteers to Ghana in the summer and host fundraisers to help the local community in the town of Ho. I spent the past summer volunteering in Ghana in a small school. My biggest advice to students is to get involved! Whether in a volunteer group like Habitat for Humanity, or a club or job, getting involved is one of the most important things to do on an active campus like UMass Amherst. Through involving yourself in different groups and activities you can meet new people, and spread the word of Public Health across campus.
Minors: Anthropology, Kinesiology, Psychology, Sociology
Hello and nice to meet you, my name is Jess! Aside from Public Health, I also have four minors: Anthropology, Kinesiology, Psychology, and Sociology. I love to be active on campus and I'm excited to say that I'm the Vice President to the Public Health Club for the 2012-13 school year. In addition, I'm also a Resident Assistant in Kennedy tower, Teaching Assistant for Citizens Guide to Public Health, Research Assistant for Dr. Bulzacchelli in the Injury and Prevention Control lab, Ambassador to the Student Alumni Association, and Student Admissions Representative.
My favorite college memories are actually parallel to my favorite Public Health experiences. I love this major because it allows me to learn in AND out of the classroom. During the summer of 2011, I studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand on the Gilman Scholarship. I took excursions to meet a Nobel Peace Prize candidate, Dr. Cynthia Maung; visit a Burmese refugee camp; and meet with several non-governmental organizations working against human trafficking in Southeast Asia. Then, during the spring of 2012, I traveled down to Birmingham, Alabama on an Alternative Spring Break trip to assist the low-income and at-risk-for homelessness community in soup kitchens, urban gardening, and home painting. My best advice for success is to study abroad and seek opportunities to get involved early – the people you meet and events you'll experience are inspiring and unforgettable.
Social Science Track
Hi everyone! My name is Sarra Sabouri from Melrose, Massachusetts and I’m on the Social Science Track graduating in 2013. Along with my involvement with the Peer Advising team, I will be the President of the Public Health Club for the 2012-2013 school year. I have been in the major since the beginning and have learned a lot about the Public Health major throughout my time at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
After my undergraduate career, I will most likely remain at UMass Amherst to attain a Master's in Public Health in Health Policy through the 4+1 B.S & M.P.H Program, then hopefully find a successful career later on. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but I just wasn’t sure what aspect of the field I wanted to be involved with. I really enjoy how Public Health is a field that allows its professionals to confront complex health issues that occur in everyday life. I have had several internships throughout the past few years and I have gained so much new knowledge from each and every one of them.
Having the overall experience as a UMass Amherst student has been such an incredible time so far! When I was a freshman, I was so nervous to meet new people and being exposed to such a large campus intimidated me. Looking back, however, everybody was so down to earth and friendly that I adjusted and blended in just fine. Be sure to take advantage of everything UMass Amherst has to offer. Especially as a student in the Public Health major, we have the opportunity to be a part of a diverse and dynamic field, so I definitely suggest everyone looks into the various activities or clubs we have and get involved. I'm looking forward to helping you all out in every way possible. Remain focused, stay confident, and be sure to have fun!
Hi! My name is Sattia Bangurah and I am a rising Senior from Lanham, Maryland. I am double majoring in Public Health and Biology while also on the Pre-Med track. During my free time, I volunteer as an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B). I also work in a nursing and group home with behaviorally challenged adults as a nursing assistant.
My favorite class is Public Health 160: My Health, My Body taught by Dan Gerber. This is like no other class; it has a relaxed atmosphere, which was conducive to learning and allowed me to get to know my classmates especially during discussions. In fact, one of the reasons why I chose this major was because of how much I loved Public Health 160.
After my undergraduate career, I plan on going to Medical School in addition to attaining my Master's in Public Health. Growing up, I knew I always wanted to become a doctor, but just wasn’t sure the best way to go about it. Public Health compliments these career goals by opening my eyes to not only practicing medicine but also improving and protecting the health of the community.
One thing that I learned from being on this campus is that opportunities are everywhere. Don’t limit yourself, get to know people, and join organizations. Remember that opportunities won’t come knocking on your door; you have to get out and get involved.
Social Science Track
Minor: Information Technology
Hello, I'm Winnie Chen and I am part of the Class of 2013. I’m from Quincy, Massachusetts and I am majoring in Public Health on the Social Science Track with a minor in Information Technology.
When I first entered the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I was undeclared and intended to pursue the Business field. Back then, I wanted to pursue Business based on experiences in my high school classes. After I started attending UMass Amherst and taking many different courses, I realized that Business was not the right major for me. Taking some Public Health classes, especially Public Health 129 Healthcare for All, made me realize what I was truly interested in. The more Public Health classes I took, the more I grew to love the major and I have never regretted choosing it.
As of right now, my future goals are to get my Master’s degree in either Health Policy and Management or Epidemiology. My best advice for success is to be proactive and reach out for help when you think you need it. Asking for help when you are stuck is the best way to learn and network with the people around you.
Along with majoring in Public Health, I am minoring in Psychology and pursuing a certificate in Public Policy and Administration. As an incoming freshman, I applied as a Public Health major because I knew that health sciences was the right choice for me. Public Health is a broad field with limitless opportunities and avenues for everyone with diverse interests and backgrounds. I love this major because it’s diverse, challenging, and full of exceptional professors. Over time, this major has become a close-knit network of people that I enjoy seeing regularly. My favorite class is Public Health 129 with Dr. Paula Stamps. Dr. Stamps is such a passionate teacher and her class covered public health on a very broad spectrum.
I believe that it’s important to be a well-rounded individual while maintaining your ambition to study hard. With that said, I am involved as Vice President with the UMass Amherst Figure Skating team, which competed nationally last season, and the Iota Gamma Upsilon sorority on campus, which does a lot of charity work and often raises awareness for Public Health-related causes.
Sometimes, it's very common for campus involvement and academics to get overwhelming fast. I highly advise de-stressing by taking 30-60 minutes to yourself and developing your time management skills. Taking a break keeps your mind active and attentive, which helps you in the long run when you return to your work load fully refreshed and ready to work. Further, avoiding going back to your dorm between classes on a busy day can save you some time. Instead, stay on campus once you begin your day and use your downtime at UMass Amherst’s many resources or quiet areas to relax or study.
My name is Nicole Kashine and I am from Roslyn Heights, New York. I am a Public Health major on the Social Science Track, graduating in 2013. I became a Public Health major because it offers limitless options. Additionally, our collateral field allows you to explore your other personal interests. I am passionate about this major and my goal in the long run is to provide useful and practical solutions to community health by performing valuable epidemiologic research. My favorite Public Health course is Public Health 324: Intro to Epidemiology. After taking this course, I knew I wanted to learn more about the field.
Aside from the Public Health Club, I am a member of the sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi and participate in several philanthropic events such as UDANCE and Relay for Life. I was also involved in other charity work this past summer. I played on a soccer team that raised money for United for D.C. Last year, I received my personal training certificate and aim to help others reach their fitness goals.
I definitely advise students to get involved. Networking can help you make valuable connections that can lead to many opportunities. That’s how I got my internship this past summer doing research on the obesity epidemic for a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. I had an amazing experience and I’m excited for what’s to come in the future.
Social Science Track
My name is Kelsey Laning and I am from Southborough, MA. I am on the Social Science Track and have been a student in the Public Health major for four semesters. I struggled to find the right major and I took a variety of courses within my first two years until I found my calling. Now that I have a grasp on the Public Health major, I could not imagine doing anything else.
As I enter my senior year, I am exploring several post-graduate options. I may either enroll in a graduate program to get an M.P.H. in Global Health or gain work experience before returning to school. I plan on traveling to either Haiti or Guatemala with a medical service group this winter. Hopefully, the trip will confirm my desire to continue with global health.
I am knowledgeable of the many classes offered here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The collateral field can be confusing, but I am more than happy to talk to you about the different options you can do to fulfill the requirement. I truly enjoy explaining what Public Health is all about and genuinely believe that this major is unlike anything else at the university. It is an individualized and rare undergraduate degree. Stop by and we can discuss how the major can cater to you.
I chose to major in Public Health Sciences because it opens up the door to many different fields in the health profession. I love this major because it has enabled me to better understand health not just on an individual level but also on a global level through the epidemiological study of diseases.
Public Health is one of the few majors that allows students to find their niche through fulfilling their academic requirements. For example, I am fulfilling the collateral field requirement by minoring in Psychology. My proudest Public Health project took place last summer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where I did research for a prostate cancer project. At the completion of the program, I created a poster presentation of my research as well as gave a talk at a conference.
As a rising senior, I am very familiar with the strenuous lifestyle that comes with being a college student. However, there are so many relaxation methods available right here on campus! I love taking fitness classes such as kick-boxing and Zumba at the gym. They are so fun and energizing! Also, just hanging out and keeping in touch with friends is always a good way to relieve stress.
The key to attaining success in college is determination and hard work. In the words of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, “The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.”
Hi, my name is Glendaly Pena and I am from Lawrence, MA. I am part of the 2013 class majoring in Public Health Sciences on the Science Track with minors in Spanish and Sociology. Currently I am working as an administrative assistant at both the Controller’s Office and the Center for Health Promotion which is located in the University Health Services. I am the secretary to the cultural Registered Student Organization group Latinos Unidos. I am also involved with the CCC, which advertises the reduction of high-risk drinking.
As a freshman I visited the Dominican Republic to work on a project dealing with the increase in the transmission of HIV as a result of malaria infection in the country. This project opened my eyes to the need of research on the epidemiology of HIV and the incredible lack of proper education on the transmission of HIV in the Dominican Republic. This experience alone made me realize my future aspirations. I want to help people learn that diseases can be prevented and become the person to analyze the threats that can head their way.
I see that having the opportunity to earn a degree in higher education as a blessing. I have a strong passion for social service and as a Public Health major, I envision myself working in the field of community development with a focus on positive youth development. Ultimately, I see myself working in the field of international health. This is an area where I can study a wide range of public health issues and programs, compare them among countries, and assist in implementing programs and policies that will enhance the living situations of many individuals, particularly those living in underprivileged communities.
Social Science Track
My name is Mary Cole, and I am a member of the class of 2014 majoring in Public Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology. I was originally a Kinesiology major and interested in pursuing Nursing. I had no idea what Public Health entailed until a friend informed me about the main purposes. At that point, I decided a Public Health undergraduate degree would be a perfect fit.
I took my first Public Health class called Healthcare for All with Dr. Paula Stamps. She introduced me to the Public Health prevention and promotion policies and I realized how important they are to everyone. This is a favorite Public Health class of mine due to the topics and the amazing teacher! I soon learned that I love everything that Public Health has to offer! For example, this past summer I volunteered at Milford Regional Hospital as a Patient Representative. I communicated with patients and nurses to make sure all of the patients’ needs are met. This gave me valuable experience and insight at hospitals.
Apart from being a Public Health Peer Advisor, I am also on the Cross Country and Track and Field team here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I find that athletics help me manage my time because I've learned to balance my academics and commitment to my team. I love spending time with my teammates!
Hey everyone! My name is Elizabeth Marcuse from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. I transferred to the University of Massachusetts Amherst my sophomore year and have been in the major ever since. I love this major because it gives you a lot of freedom to explore other interests but the classes are great and the community is even better! I have such a passion for health and helping people, so this major was perfect for me.
In addition to being a Public Health major, I’m also pursuing a minor in Sociology and on the Pre-Med track. After my undergraduate career, I plan on working in women’s health before pursuing medical school. Last summer, I was an intern for Planned Parenthood in their Policy and Communications department. As an intern during an upcoming election year, the office has been crazy busy and very fun! I aspire to receive my master's and medical degree in Public Health and hope to work as a women’s healthcare provider.
My best advice to succeed at UMass Amherst is to get involved and have fun! The Public Health community is so integrative and diverse. Getting out there only increases your chances of finding someone or something really cool that’s just for you, like an internship opportunity, club leadership position, or research work. Don’t give up, try not to get too stressed, and enjoy college! I’ll be looking forward to meeting you and assisting you in the next couple of semesters in any way that I can!
Hello everyone! My name is Dominique Serio and I am on the Science Track graduating in 2014. Along with being a Peer Advisor, I am also a Peer Health Educator. I have been in the major since the spring of my sophomore year. I have already learned so much about the major and love everything Public Health has to offer.
At first I had no clue what I wanted to do as a freshman. I took many different courses, and then I landed on Public Health 160 with Dr. Gerber and knew exactly what I wanted to do. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Public Health Sciences, I plan to obtain my master’s at a two-year Physician Assistant program. I am determined to become a Physician Assistant and to continue helping people.
Since I started Public Health Sciences a little later during my undergraduate career I was stressed and overwhelmed with organization and especially graduating on time. I went to multiple office hours with Peer Advisors and they helped me tremendously. That is what my colleagues and I are here for! Whether you need help organizing classes, to get advice on certain courses/professors, or even just to talk, I am ready to help.
I have met so many people and gained a lot of experience since my freshman year. I also play intramural softball and volleyball during the fall and the spring semesters which are tons of fun! Make sure to take every chance you can get because I guarantee it will absolutely be worth it. Remember: time management, priorities first, wise decisions and especially, have fun!
Hi! My name is Rebecca Balk and I am from Hamilton, Massachusetts. I am on the Social Science Track, planning to graduate in May of 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health as well as a certificate in International Relations.
I absolutely loved my first year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying Public Health. One of the highlights during my freshman year – and Public Health career overall – was taking My Body, My Health taught by Dr. Dan Gerber. It really opened my eyes to how health education can and should be taught, and sparked my interest in Community Health Education. Another highlight was a research paper I wrote for Public Health 129, Healthcare for All, taught by Dr. Paula Stamps. My class discussed our opinions about the possibility of universal health care in the United States. That paper is one my proudest accomplishments from my freshman year. After taking this class, I realized that I want to help change and improve the health system in America.
Public Health is an amazing major, and even though it was by chance that I applied into the program at UMass Amherst, I am 100% glad I did. I love my major, classes, and professors. Every day in class I find myself critically challenged, inspired, and curiously questioning my previous beliefs. Whatever I end up doing with my degree, I am sure it was be something amazing.
Social Science Track
Double major: Public Health and Psychology
Certificate: Civic Engagement and Public Service
Citizens Scholar Program
My name is Avery Hennigar and I am from Hamilton, Massachusetts. I am graduating in 2015, pursuing a double major in Public Health on the Social Science Track and Psychology. In addition, I am a member of the Citizen’s Scholar program as well as the Commonwealth Honors College. On campus I am a member of the Rotaract and Public Health Club, and work as a lifeguard and Spinning instructor at the Recreation Center.
I became a Public Health major because I wanted to pursue my interests in the social and global issues relating to health. My favorite Public Health class so far is Public Health 129: Healthcare for All. This course showed me the health disparities that are extremely engrained in our healthcare system and has been a major reason for my desire to see a change in healthcare in the United States. I am really interested in volunteering for the community and I hope to be able to combine my love for Public Health by working with communities to better their healthcare needs through health prevention and promotion.
Being at such a large university can definitely be intimidating when you are first starting out. Through my experience, the best thing to do is to get involved right away! My advice is to participate in multiple clubs and activities that interest you because they are an excellent way to meet people with similar interests. Don’t be afraid to try something new because you might discover what you really enjoy doing.