Meet Your Peer Advisors for 2020-2021!
Eliannee De La Cruz
Graduation Year: 2021
Area of Interest: Pre-Nursing, Maternal & Child Health, Psychology
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:00PM-5:00PM and Thursdays 9:00AM-10:30AM
Hi Everyone! My name is Daniela (or Dani) and I am a senior from Boston, Massachusetts. I am majoring in Public Health and working towards a minor in Psychology. I changed my major to Public Health at the end of my Sophomore year and it is probably one of the best decisions that I have made. I was originally an Animal Science major and thought that I would be going to Vet school, but then I found my passion for learning about the health care system as well as helping people so decided I wanted to focus my career on that. What initially drew me into Public Health was the fact that you have the freedom to take courses that align with your individual interests and that freedom is what has kept me here. One of my favorite classes that I have taken is Public Health 370 - Public Health Through The Ages because I learned not only how the Public Health field began but also the struggles and changes it has gone through as well as the much-needed change that still needs to happen. Being a part of this major has definitely opened my eyes to things that I was not as aware of before.
Outside of being a Peer Advisor, I am a Residential Assistant. I am also a research assistant in the Movement Observation in Children and Adolescents (MOCA) study, where we measure and analyze physical activity data collected with accelerometers. In my sophomore year, I was a research assistant at the Normark Lab where we studied systematics and evolution of armored scale insects. I am also part of the Student Conduct Hearing board on campus. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with a Neurology lab at MGH where I conducted Quality Improvement research to increase patient-reported outcomes and improve how doctors administered care to patients. Besides academics, I am almost always listening to music, watching TikToks, or spending time with friends and family.
My advice for all students is to not compare yourself to others. Everyone’s path is unique and just because you change your major once or twice does not mean that you will not succeed. College is your chance to find what interests you the most and it is completely fine if you don’t find that passion your freshman year! My final advice is if you don’t know where to start, feel free to meet with one of us!
Graduation Year: 2021
Area of Interest: Healthcare Administration
Office Hours: Tuesday 11:30am-1:30pm & Wednesday 12:30pm-2:00pm
Hi everyone! My name is Olivia Cebi and I am from North Andover, Massachusetts. I am currently a senior majoring in Public Health with a focus area in Healthcare Administration. I also plan to complete The Five College program in Culture, Health, and Science (CHS) and obtain the certificate upon graduation in the spring. I discovered Public Health while I was a Biology major on a Pre-Health track unsure if I was in the right major for me. The Public Health major allowed me to continue to pursue my goals in healthcare while taking classes that I found to be more enjoyable. I knew this major was right for me because of the wide variety of opportunities incorporated in it and the ability to customize your degree with a focus area of interest.
Outside of peer advising, I am the vice president of the Turkish Student Association which is a Registered Student Organization (RSO) on campus. I also spend time volunteering in my hometown at an Assisted Living Home with elderly, and at Horizons For Homeless Children as a PAL for the playspace program in Lawrence, MA. I am also a certified and licensed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in MA.
My advice to other students is to not be afraid to seek help and to use the peer advising program to your advantage. We are all students who have the experience and knowledge of the major to help with any problems or worries you may have. I became a peer advisor to help students like freshman year me who was always too nervous to reach out for help. Join a club and try new things as there are so many opportunities around campus to get involved and meet new people. Looking forward to meeting you all!
Graduation Year: 2021
Area of Interest: Maternal & Child Health
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:30PM-2:30PM, Wednesdays 11:30AM-2:00PM
Hi everyone! My name is Elizabeth (or Liz) and I am from Bridgewater, MA. I am currently a senior here at UMass and majoring in Public Health with a Biology and Psychology minor. I entered UMass as a Biology major but switched my major at the end of Freshman year after taking Public Health 160. I fell in love with how broad Public Health is and enjoyed learning about all the different aspects that embodied Public Health. I quickly found my passion for Maternal and Child Health as I began learning about Reproductive Justice and the health disparities especially for women of color. I hope to attend graduate school after this year and find a career in Reproductive Medicine.
Aside from being a Peer Advisor, I am also a teaching assistant for Public Health 301: Principles of Community Health Education and work at the UMass Undergraduate Admissions Office as an Admissions Representative. I am also the current President of Sigma Psi Zeta and a member of Asian American Student Association on campus. I studied abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea during the Fall 2019 semester and was able to travel to Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Japan while I was there! I love to spend my free time traveling, volunteering, and trying new things (especially food).
My advice to students is to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! College is the time to ask questions, discover your passions, and take those opportunities that may be once in a life-time. Trying new things will only broaden your perspective and lead you somewhere you may not expect. UMass, the School of Public Health, and the community in general has so much to offer, so make sure to take advantage of it! Your four years at UMass will fly by really quick. I cannot wait to meet you all soon!
Eliannee De La Cruz
Graduation Year: 2021
Area of Interest: Pre-med
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10am-11am & Thursdays 10:30am-1pm
Hey guys! My name is Eliannee De La Cruz and I am from Lawrence, Mass. I am a senior working on a dual degree in Biology & Public Health. I am also a Pre-Med student, but I am more focused on maternal and child health in countries where poverty is widespread and resources are not readily available to help women and children. I learned about the public health major spring semester of my freshman year and I fell in love with learning how to become more engaged in helping people and being able to solely focus on a certain area of interest I have always been fascinated with.
Aside from being a peer advisor, I am the treasurer for the Minority Association of Pre-medical students (SNMA-MAPS). I am apart of the volunteer program Big Brothers Big Sisters, I am going to start tutoring highschool students online in Biology, and I work for the Fine arts center box office as well. I am also a PCA (Patient care associate) for senior citizens that live with alzhiemers and dementia.
Some advice I would give to students is to never be afraid to ask for help because there are so many great people and resources that are always there for you. Coming in as a minority and first generation college student was very difficult for me but I learned that people want to help you achieve your goals and help you succeed in every way possible. Never feel too scared to reach out to someone when things become overwhelmed and stressful. Can’t wait to see you all!
Graduation Year: 2022
Areas of Interest: Global Health, Health Education, Psychology
Office Hours: Monday 1:00pm-2:00pm & Friday 12:30pm-3:00pm
Hey everyone! My name is Aly Kosteva and I am from Endicott, New York. I am a junior and my major is public health. Originally, I went to school thinking I would major in nutrition and hopefully become a dietician; however, when I took some of those classes, I learned that the subject was not for me, and I became much more interested in the field of public health. For me, public health is a way to connect to other people and help them understand the many ways our health as individuals, and as a population can be impacted by everything in our surroundings. Learning about disparities and inequities in populations, is also something I have become very passionate about and hope to be someone who can educate people in the community about as well as advocating for programs that can help everyone get equal opportunities to succeed.
Aside from being a peer advisor, I am in the UMass Marching Band, and I have the position of Publicity and Recruitment Manager. Throughout my time at UMass so far, I have also been a New Student Orientation Leader and I also advised incoming first year and transfer public health students virtually for their first semester schedules at UMass. I am also a member of the Music and service based sorority, Tau Beta Sigma, and I spend time working with the music department on campus as well.
My advice to other students is to get involved and don’t be afraid to try new things. The more you leave your comfort zone, the more you will grow. When I got more involved on campus, I met so many amazing people, I gained so much life experience, and I found what I was passionate about. Public health is such a broad subject, so if you ever feel unsure of what you will do after your bachelors, don’t freak out! You will learn as you go, and remember, all of us are here to help you be the best you can be. Can’t wait to meet you!
Graduation Year: 2021
Area of Interest: Health Policy, Health Equity, Maternal Health
Office Hours: Tuesdays 12:30 PM-2:00 PM, Thursdays 12:00 PM-2:00 PM
Hey everyone! My name is Kene Orakwue. I am a senior here at UMass, originally from Westford, MA! I am a Public Health Sciences major with a focus area in Global Women’s Health. I am also pursuing a certificate in Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice, and the 4+1 Accelerated Master’s Program on the Health Policy and Management track. I first fell in love with public health during my freshman year. I had always loved the idea of a career in health or wellness, but after reading an article on the maternal mortality crisis in the US- I knew public health was the career for me, I was horrified by the statistics I read, but was inspired by public health’s population-level approach. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Outside of peer advising, I am very active in the UMass community. I am a member of Greek Life- sister and past president of Alpha Chi Omega. I have also been a TA for PUBHLTH200: Introduction to Public Health. I have been a Research Assistant in the Health Promotion department, I have been a Minute Mover, New Student Orientation Leader, and Tour Guide. I have also studied abroad twice! I spent six weeks of summer 2018 in Ghana, and I spent part of Spring 2020 in Cuba. This semester I am a contact tracer on campus!
If I could give any advice to public health students, it would be to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. Public health is such a vast field. The more experience one can get can help them better understand what part of public health they are interested in. Experience can come in many forms- maybe study abroad, working with a professor, or even taking an interesting class! Public health is everywhere, you just have to look for it!
Graduation Year: 2020
Area of Interest: Pre-Med
Office Hours: Thursdays 1:00-4:30 PM
Hi, my name is Imane! I am a Senior from Quincy, Massachusetts. I am a Public Health major on the pre-med track. I came to UMass as a Biology major, not knowing much about Public Health. After realizing that I wanted to explore all aspects of health, I attended a Public Health information session to learn more about the major. I truly felt inspired by the endless possibilities this major provided me with, not only am I able to learn the science behind health, but also every other factor that plays into it. My passion for service and health only grew with every class I took, each one bringing a new discovery and sparking a new desire.
Aside from being a Peer Advisor, I am a research assistant in the Movement Observation in Children and Adolescents (MOCA) study, where we measure various intensities of physical activity and mode of activity from hip- and wrist-worn accelerometers in children and adolescents. I am also part of Arab Cultural Association, Muslim Student Association, and the American Medical Student Association.
My advice to other students is to always reach out when you need help, with all that this school has to offer, your problems can be solved or pointed in the right direction. Also, I encourage students to get involved as it will help you branch out and create long lasting friendships. I’d love to help answer any questions about the Public Health major, pre-med classes, applying for research, joining on or off campus activities or anything else!
Graduation Year: 2021
Focus Area: Health Policy
Office Hours: Wednesdays: 11:30am-12:30pm; Fridays: 10:00am-12:30pm
I’m Shauna Pandell, a senior from Lenox, MA. My focus area is health policy and I’m also completing the Spanish and Health certificate. I transferred to Umass in Fall 2019. I’m extremely happy I did so as the Public Health faculty is helpful and welcoming and the program is flexible and easily accommodating to every students’ interests. Throughout college, I have been interested in Public Health as it has a unique study combination of science, culture, and populations but have developed a main interest in health policy due to global current events.
Since I transferred during my junior year, I spent most of time networking with professors or finding opportunities within the SPHHS so that I could make meaningful connections. At my previous school I was also a peer advisor, but the role mostly consisted of orientation leader responsibilities, such as welcoming the students within the first two weeks and answering their general questions about the Public Health college and major. I have also taken service learning courses and plan on taking more, as I feel like they give me perspective and insight on what populations I like working with best and how to help them.
Locally, during the summertime, I work as a waitress or at an inn. In my spare time, I love passing time with friends, going on hikes or to swim, and reading the news or a new book.
My best advice to first year Public Health students is to take advantage of how broad the major is rather than feel overwhelmed by it. If you believe that you’re interested in Public Health in one way or another, odds are there truly is something in the field for you!
Lastly, we all understand how daunting college may seem, whether it be with your schedule or finding the right resources. We’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to drop in or come say hi!
Graduation: Fall 2020
Areas of Interest: Pre-Med
Office hours: Mondays 12:00PM- 2:30PM, Wednesdays 9AM-10AM
Hi Everyone! My name is Thu and I am from Holden, Massachusetts. I am a senior majoring in Public Health on the Pre-Med track. I chose public health because I am interested in learning about all aspects of health that is not just limited to medicine. I quickly took an interest in health disparities that greatly affect those who seek healthcare. Learning about the different sectors of public health helped me solidify my passion for helping others while being mindful of how these differences affect every individual.
Outside of peer advising, I am a Certified Nursing Assistant at a rehabilitation center where I help senior citizens with daily activities and provide personal care. I also enjoy working with children and have volunteered as a tutor for children from disadvantaged families. In my free time, I enjoy taking walks and spending time with family and friends.
My advice to students is no matter what major or career you intended to pursue in the first place, it is never too late to try something new or add a new class to your curriculum. These changes may feel overwhelming at first, but college is the time to explore your interests and gain valuable insight. The results will be satisfactory when you follow your passion! I encourage students to reach out to advising and peers with any questions. I will be happy to answer any questions and concerns!
Graduation year: Fall 2022
Area of Interest: Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Global Women’s Health
Office Hours: Mondays 9am - 11am, Fridays 9:30am - 11am
Hi, y’all! My name is Natalia (or Nat) and I’m a junior public health major currently residing in Colorado. My focus area is global women’s health and I am also completing the Spanish & Health Certificate. This semester I am applying to the 4+1 program for epidemiology; I’m hoping to pursue infectious disease epidemiology into grad school and as a career.
Outside of peer advising, I am the UMass For the Kids (FTK) Team Captain for Public Health Club and have worked as the Event/Outreach Coordinator at the Women of Color Leadership Network. After studying abroad in Cuba during Spring 2020, I was a Spanish/English contact tracer under the Academic Public Health Volunteer Corps. Currently, I am a research assistant in a qualitative research project about the current COVID-19 pandemic, which I will continue into my honors thesis project my senior year.
My advice is to definitely pay attention to the weekly public health newsletters! There are always new events, opportunities, and scholarships available. Try to make connections and put yourself out there as early as you can. Finally, your peer advisors are here to help you. I became a peer advisor to be a resource for all public health students; I’d love to answer your questions, address your concerns, or just chat about public health!
Area of interest: Health promotion, policy and management
Office Hours: Thursdays 9am-12:30pm
Hi everyone! My name is Alandra Ricci and I am from Salem, Massachusetts. I am a Junior pursuing a dual degree in Public Health and Business Management. Growing up, I never really knew exactly what I wanted to do. I always was changing my mind and was interested in so many things. As I got older, I realized public health would be a field that would allow me to pursue my many passions: working with families, learning about medicine, managing policies, and working for change and justice in our country. Since coming to UMass, I’ve fallen in love with all of the different aspects of Public Health. Being part of a major where there is so much room for growth and exploration has really helped me to widen my knowledge while taking a unique mix of classes to make this major my own! If 2020 has taught me anything it's that there is still so much work to be done in the field of public health. Whether this be from an epidemiological, environmental, or social justice standpoint. This year has solidified in me that I have chosen the right major hope to help other SPHHS students feel the same.
Outside of peer advising, I am heavily involved on campus. I play Trombone in the UMass Marching Band. I serve on the student-run administration staff where I focus on Audio and Visual tasks. I am also a sister and social chair for Tau Beta Sigma, a service sorority that focuses on services to bands and empowering women in music. I am also a research assistant for the Public Health Department where I have gotten to learn the behind the scenes on how research and publishing are done.
My advice to students is to not be afraid to be ambitious. Public health is a major that has so much to offer both in its field and at UMass. Decide what is important to you and set goals to achieve them. That might mean having to change your plans or even adding another major. There is no “right” way to do things when it comes to your education. Lastly, whenever you feel stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out to us peer advisors! We are all here to help you.
Graduation: Spring 2021
Area of Interest: Women’s health + Epidemiology
Office Hours: Monday 10am-12pm, Wednesday 10am-11:30am
Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Robinson and I am from Wilbraham, Massachusetts. I am a senior majoring in Public Health and minoring in Political Science. Additionally, I am part of the 4+1 Accelerated Master’s Program, where I am getting my MPH in Epidemiology. Along with epidemiology, I am also interested in promoting and protecting women’s health. You may recognize me if you have ever taken My Body, My Health, as I have been a teaching assistant for the past year. I chose public health as my major because I thought it was the perfect combination of science, helping people, and working collaboratively. There are so many different paths you can take with a degree in public health and I’m here to talk about them with you!
Outside of school, I’ve spent my summers teaching a leadership and public speaking course for ESL students. I’ve served on a panel for my former high school consulting incoming high school seniors about how to transition to college. I like to bake and cook for fun and hike in the nature preserve by my house. I love all dogs and even more so when people share photos of theirs!
My advice to students would be to take advantage of the opportunities and resources available through UMass. There are so many great relationships that can be formed through mentoring other students, working with professors, and having internships. I encourage all students to reach out to your advisor and peer advisors to learn more about these opportunities if you need help finding them. Most importantly, many of these experiences are sent to you via email, so be sure to check it at least once a day!
Graduation: Fall 2020
Area of Interest: Management & Policy
Office Hours: Monday 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. and Tuesday 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Hi everyone! My name is Kesanet and I am from Boston, MA. I am a senior Public Health major with a minor in Political Science. I entered UMass as a Political Science major, but found myself looking for other alternatives. I took introductory Public Health courses and found myself really enjoying the content and conversations. I appreciated how the major reflected many of my passions in terms of health equity, addressing health disparities, hospital management, health care systems, and more. Public Health is a broad major which I believe centers on improving population health and effective community engagement.
Aside from being a Peer Advisor, I am the Public Relations coordinator for Student Bridges, a student-run agency that works to improve college access and success for underrepresented students on and off campus. I have been a Resident Assistant for the past two years, where I have worked to acclimate freshmen students to the campus environment, provide support, and connect students to resources on campus. I was also a Teaching Assistant for Public Health 301: Principles of Community Health Education. I have been involved with the Black Student Union, Boltwood Project, and MASSPIRG.
My advice would be to discover what you are passionate about and follow a path that closely aligns with it or designate time for it outside of academics or work. I think it is important to do what you enjoy and discover what fulfills you. I would also suggest looking for a community on campus through cultural organizations, student-run agencies, student organizations, and more. There are many avenues on campus to create a sense of community and it is important to seek it out and become open to things you may have not originally anticipated. Also, seek out various opportunities to discover more of your interests such as research, internships, and co-ops. These years go by quickly, so enjoy it and everything it has to offer!
Graduation Year: 2021
Area of Interest: Pre- Physicians Assistant
Office Hours: Tuesday 10 am - 12:30 pm; Wednesday 4pm - 5pm
Hey Everyone! My name is Maya Torres and I am from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I am a senior Public Health major with a focus in health science and a minor in Biology. After transferring to UMass as a Biology major sophomore year, I switched to Public Health. I have always wanted to work in healthcare and my goal is to become a physician's assistant. The public health major is perfect because there are so many options and areas to choose from to fit each person’s interests. I love being able to see a different side of healthcare and better my understanding of health all around the world. I hope to make a difference in our healthcare system using what I learn in Public Health and PA school. I chose my focus area as health science because it lined up perfectly with my future education goals as well as my interests in public health. After graduation I hope to get my Phlebotomy license to gain health care experience and hopefully go to PA school shortly after.
Outside of being a Peer Advisor, I have held various leadership positions for my sorority, as I am currently the Recruitment Chairwoman for Chi Omega. In my free time, I also enjoy spinning, volunteering, traveling, and spending time with my friends. I also work at the UMass admissions office as a student staff member.
My best advice to students is to do what you love! College is the time to find yourself and explore areas that truly interest you. Sometimes it may not be easy but always use your resources, we all want you to succeed and are here to help. Planning can be good but do not be afraid to take chances and challenge yourself. Get involved on campus and meet new people, those will be the things you remember years from now. “Nothing will work unless you do” - Maya Angelou
Graduation: Spring 2021
Area of Interest: Pre-Dental
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:30-4:30 and Thursday 2:30-4:00
Hi everyone! My name is Maggie and I am from Quincy, Massachusetts. I am a senior majoring in Public Health on the Pre-Dental track with a minor in Education. When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to do something health/medical related and I wanted to help people. Initially, I wanted to be a nurse, however, I ended up entering college undecided on the Pre-Medical track and I chose Biology as my major because my summer advisor suggested that to me. Unfortunately, I was unaware that I had other options such as Public Health. After realizing that Biology was not the major for me, I started exploring other majors. Public Health really stood out to me because of how broad it is and how you can tailor the major to your specific interests. After taking a couple of Public Health classes, I completely fell in love with it and declared it as a major.
Aside from being a peer advisor, I was a Residence Assistant at a freshman dorm last year so I have experience in aiding first year students transition into college academically, socially and emotionally. As a Residence Assistant, I had to be available to assist students in different aspects and serve as a good role model to them as well. I am a member of the Pre-Dental Society and I was involved in Asian American Student Association (AASA) as a freshman. I served as the secretary for two years in a RSO called, R.U.B.I., whose mission is to spread Asian Awareness, promote women empowerment and representation. I was also a research assistant that took part in a genome biology research under Professor Alberston. I have also accumulated 200+ volunteer hours over the years by tutoring kids, helping out at a senior home and helping serve the homeless at a local shelter. I have also fundraised for causes such as Breast Cancer and raised money for local hospitals.
My advice to students is to find things and do things that you are passionate about. As well as putting yourself out there as much as you can in order to experience new things and be open to new opportunities. For example, go to as many career fairs as you can, reach out to professors, get involved on campus and make new friends. It is also important to take care of yourself in that process and make sure to utilize all the resources available on campus. I would love to answer any questions you may have about Public Health, applying for internships, campus RSOs, Pre-Dental and more!