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Author Topic: Meet JHU_Jessica  (Read 3853 times)


  • Hopkins Alumni
Meet JHU_Jessica
« on: September 16, 2009, 04:32 pm »
Hey everyone! My name is Jessica and I am a senior public health studies major and environmental studies minor. I'm originally from Tenafly, NJ, where I attended Tenafly High School.
Why Hopkins?
For so many reasons! These are the reasons why I initially chose Hopkins:
- Interdisciplinary majors: It's not every day that you find a school that allows students to view a subject through more than one lens.
- Location: I don't like the cold, so I knew I didn't want to go north from my home state of New Jersey.
- Size: I didn't want to be overwhelmed by the population of a large school, but didn't want the limited major choices of a small school.
- Rachel Carson: Sure, maybe this isn't the best of reasons. But my mentor since 5th grade, Rachel Carson, went to graduate school here, so that too made me love the school.

My Classes:
I've taken classes in so many departments. Here is a list of them:
Fall 2007
- Calculus I
- Introduction to Fiction/Poetry I
- Issues in International Development
- Freshman Seminar: Conversations with the Earth
- Biostatistics

Intersession 2008
- Vaccine Development
- Sex and Sexuality in the 17th Century
(read about these classes in this blog entry)

Spring 2008
- Introduction to Social Psychology
- Introduction to Fiction/Poetry II
- Climate Change: Science & Policy
- Introduction to Public Health
- Fundamentals of Health Policy & Management
(read about these classes in this blog entry)

Fall 2008
-Global Public Health Since WWII
-Population, Health and Development
-The City in Time and Space: Historical Sociology of the Urban World
-The Environment and Your Health
-Environment & Society: Towards Sustainability
(read about these classes in this blog entry)

Intersession 2009
- Medicine, Media, Markets and Motherhood: Health and Infant Feeding in America

Spring 2009
-Sociology of Disability
-Medical Sociology
-Population/Community Ecology
-Fundamentals of Epidemiology
-Oral Presentations
(read about these classes in this blog entry)

Fall 2009
-Elements of Macroeconomics
-Gender and Development
-Introduction to Global Health
-Water Resource Development
-Independent Research (on TB and smoking)
(read about these classes in this blog entry)

Spring 2010 (Study Abroad in Geneva, Switzerland)
- Principles of International Health
- Beginners French
- Controversies in International Health
- Internship at the World Health Organization
(read about these classes in this blog entry)

Fall 2010
- Basic Black & White Photography: Wet Darkroom
- Spanish
- Honors in Public Health - Seminar
School of Public Health classes during Term I and Term II:
- Statistical Reasoning in Public Health I & II
- Couples and Reproductive Health
- Challenges in Global TB Control
(read about these classes in this blog entry)

Spring 2011
- Elements of Microeconomics
- Spanish
- Honors in Public Health (Thesis)
- Photoshop/Digital Darkroom
School of Public Health classes during Term III and Term IV:
- Spatial Analysis and GIS I
- Public Health Biology
My Current Extracurriculars:
- Public Health Student Forum
Since freshman year I have been involved with the executive board of this group. Currently I am the senior student advisor. The Forum's two main events are Public Health Awareness Week and the Undergraduate Conference in Public Health. The group aims to aware the Homewood campus of public health issues.

- Center for a Livable Future
I've worked at the Center as a work study research assistant since Fall 2008. The Center is within the Bloomberg School of Public Health and focuses on modern food and health issues. Currently I work with the director of communications to promote the research and events the center is having.

- 4K for Cancer
During the summer of '11 I will be biking from Baltimore to San Francisco as part of a 4K for Cancer, a non-profit that grew out of a student group at Hopkins. In the mean time, I'm getting in shape, fundraising $4,500, and volunteering at Baltimore's Hope Lodge. Read more about it in this blog.

- Student Admissions Advisory Board
Probably my favorite group to be involved in. This group provides prospective students with an opportunity to learn more about Hopkins through these message boards, publications, a Facebook group, blogs, twitters, and video. I absolutely LOVE the diverse board that makes up this group.

- Admissions Representative
Since junior year I have been an Admissions Representative, meaning I interview prospective students on-campus approximately once a week.

- Omicron Delta Kappa
A national honors leadership society, providing an opportunity for leaders on-campus to meet other leaders on-campus.

(Over the past years, I've been involved with Circle K (a vounteer organization on-campus), Club Soccer, and I have worked at the Undergraduate Admissions Office and AMR II Housing & Dining Office)

My Homes Away From Home (past to present):
- Building A: As a freshman I lived in Building A. There were so many great things about my suite/the building: mainly my fantastic, randomly selected roommate and the close proximity to the cafeteria, classes, and the rec center.
(read/view my cribs entry here)

- Charles Commons: JHU_Lauren and I got lucky with our sophomore year lottery number for housing. We loved living in our two-bedroom suite in Charles Commons. The best part was our fabulous view of Baltimore.
(read/view my cribs entry here)

- Homewood: During the fall of my junior year I lived in a spacious studio in Homewood. The greatest feature was being able to easily move out for my semester abroad....

- Switzerland: The spring of my junior year was spent in Geneva, Switzerland. All of the students in my study abroad program lived in the same building. The best feature? Looking down the street and seeing Lac Leman.
(read/view my cribs entry here)

- Off-Campus: Although it was a bit challenging finding off-campus housing while abroad, I ended up with a great studio in a nearby building for the ball semester. During my final semester, I have moved in with my freshman year roommate. My college housing will have gone full circle!
Follow Me:
Please feel free to reply to this thread with any questions. Really, I'll answer anything from where I got my XL-twin sized sheets freshman year to where I see myself in ten years.

No questions? Check out my blog entries:
Freshman Year
Sophomore Year to the Present

I hope to hear from you soon,

Jessica K.
Public Health '11

Read my blog
or ask me a question!
"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities
of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."

- Rachel Carson (a Hopkins alum!)


  • Hopkins Alumni
Meet JHU_Jessica - Tenafly, NJ
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 10:17 pm »
Meet Me Threads: Archives
Here are a few of the questions that I've been asked on the forums...

" I was wondering, if i want to become a psychologist, where would you say a good place to study abroad would be? 

Answer: I myself am not a psychology major (although I did enjoy the psychology class I took freshman year) and I have not studied abroad yet...although I'm heading to Geneva soon. I am looking forward to it. Studying abroad is rarely linked to a specific academic major unless a student is studying language/cultural studies or engineering. Even so, you don't have to be in one of these programs even if you're in the major associated with them.  I think this is beneficial because it really allows you to go to anywhere that interests you. Many natural science students choose a study abroad site that interests them and then take a breadth of programs...JHU_Michelle is a great example of that. Check her out on Hopkins Interactive to learn about her experience. She's a neuro major who went to the UK to focus on theater. Because Hopkins doesn't have a core curriculum, there is not much of a stress to take certain classes (unless of course you're planning for med school), but most people are able to fit in a semester worth of non-required major courses. I hope you can tell that Hopkins is flexible in not only it's curriculum but its study abroad options.
Check out the study abroad website to learn more about options: http://www.jhu.edu/~advising/StAbd.htm. The study abroad office is open to freshmen, so they can advice you in choosing the right program, one that will suit your interests. This past year Dr. Citti, the director, did a study abroad information session just for freshmen.
I'm just wondering can i be a social sciences major n still fill my pre-med requisites?
Answer: I do not know too much about the med school process. However, I believe the pre-med requirements are:
-A year of Chemistry along with the appropriate laboratory courses
-A year of Organic Chemistry along with laboratory courses
-A year of Biology along with laboratory courses
-A year of Physics along with laboratory courses
-A year of English
-A year of Calculus or other advanced math classes, including Statistics

Major requirements/checklists can be found on the Hopkins advising site (http://www.advising.jhu.edu/) The public health (social science) requirements include a year of biology with laboratory courses (which I AP-ed out of), a year of english, and Calculus I and Biostatistics. However, they do not include organic chemistry, intro to chemistry, or physics. Additionally, students that are planning to go to medical school usually take more advanced science courses like anatomy, developmental biology, biochemistry, cell biology, etc. Additionally, pre-med students frequently take classes like Calculus II. With that being said, those that are looking for a public health major and plan to go to medical school frequently are public health (natural sciences) majors, since the major requirements meet and go beyond the pre-med requirements. I do not know of any public health (social science) student that is on a pre-med track, although no one is stopping someone from doing it, the natural sciences track just fits so perfectly with the pre-med requirements, that that would be the more obvious choice to make.

I must say that there are certainly people that are social sciences majors and are "pre-med." Public health (social science) is not the only major considered social sciences--Anthropology, Economics, International Relations, Political Science, Sociology, etc. are also social sciences majors at Hopkins. There are plenty of people that major in one of these and also are fulfilling pre-med requirements. If you have an interest in social sciences there is no one holding you back from majoring in a social sciences major and also fulfilling pre-med requirements, instead this shows that you can do more than just science...which is awesome!

I hope this helped! Feel free to ask me anything else!
I'm also majoring in Public Health-social science concentration. I also want to minor in women/gender studies or bioethics or maybe do all three;) but I'm not sure if I would have to time/schedule ability to do it all. Based on your experience, do you think it is capable to major in public health and have two minors?
Answer: To answer your question simply... definitely!

Why? Well...
1) You already know what you are interested in majoring in. Many people spend their entire first year exploring classes that may not even end up counting for the major that they end up deciding on (this is definitely not a bad thing and there is time in college to do this). I definitely recommend exploring classes, but the public health major is SO interdisciplinary that you can explore while fulfilling major/minor requirements.
2) Public health majors do not have distribution requirements like most other majors. This is because the major (especially social sciences) is again SO interdisciplinary that there is really no reason to require other classes.
3) Hopkins doesn't have a core curriculum so while at other schools you may spend over a year fulfilling core requirements, at Hopkins you have this extra time to explore classes of interest to you while taking time to fulfill major/minor requirements.
4) The two minors you are interested in are very interconnected to the public health social sciences major (see the major/minor checklists here: http://www.advising.jhu.edu/checklists.html). For example, the bioethics minor requires general bio (a pre-req in PH SS) and Bioethics seminars which are usually S-discipline classes (S simply means Social Sciences) that you could even count, with advisors permission, to your S-credit public health courses. And the WGS minor also requires upper level WGS classes which are usually S-credit classes. Before you assume that you can cross-list courses, definitely double check with your advisor.

To look at classes for the fall semester, click here: http://www.jhu.edu/registr/course%20schedu...edule_Ugrad.pdf

Anyway, the simple answer is that you definitely can do this andddd at the same time explore during your freshman year. Don't feel obligated to fulfill minor requirements, because most likely your minor requirements will hopefully be fulfilled simply by taking classes you are interested in. But definitely check out Intro to Bioethics (or another Bioethics course) and a WGS course and see if you like them and then continue from there.
As you can see, I love to answer questions. Feel free to ask me anything! (Well, maybe not anything...)
Jessica K.
Public Health '11

Read my blog
or ask me a question!
"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities
of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."

- Rachel Carson (a Hopkins alum!)


  • Newbie
Meet JHU_Jessica - Tenafly, NJ
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 12:28 am »
hi jessica!

I'm really interested in biology and was planning to select that as my 'potential major'. However, while checking out the other majors on the jhops academic blog pages, I stumbled upon the public health major and liked what I read! Is it true that the public health major is a combination of biology and its impact on society? Or what exactly is the public health major? Are you able to still do some undergraduate research? I read the public health's webpage's "about me" section but I'm not really sure if I fully understand the major correctly haha :)

Also, (assuming my understanding of the public health major is correct), could you explain the difference between the natural science emphasis and the social science emphasis?

thanks! :)


  • Hopkins Alumni
Meet JHU_Jessica - Tenafly, NJ
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 10:59 am »
Thanks for the questions! I first want to say to not stress too much about what you list as your "potential major." It's very common for people to think they're interested in one thing and then change their intended major throughout their first couple of years at Hopkins. With that being said, it's definitely good to have a sense of the majors offered at the schools you're applying to, and I especially like that you've been using our academic blog.

A public health major means many different things depending on the person you talk to.  Some public health majors will graduate feeling prepared for med school, others for law school, and others for the developing world. Perhaps this is why it's hard for you to truly find a single definition.

Public health is the student of health on a population-scale. It's particularly concerned about preventative medicine - which can range from vaccinations to well, handwashing! Are you concerned about preventing carcinogens from appearing in our meat supply? Interested in the development of vaccine to prevent HIV? Worried that people in the USA do not have health insurance? Interested in ways to prevent infection in an intensive care unit in a hospital? Well, then this major is for you. Yes, all of these topics range, but they are all united with the common goal of preventing people from getting sick away from the individual clinical setting, which brings me to my next point...

The public health major is what YOU make of it. I first recommend that you checkout the major checklists: http://www.advising.jhu.edu/degree_checklist.php. You'll notice that there is a new public health checklist, click that and read it.

Notice that there is no longer a natural science and social science emphasis, everyone is now united. This means that for those who really love the natural sciences, or want to be pre-med, these classes (outside of general biology and calculus) will be taken on a student's own time. Don't worry, there is room in a student's schedule to get these other classes you might be interested in. The major, for everyone, is more about understanding how to track diseases (epidemiology), behavior change, cultural factors in health, etc. During a student's senior year, some classes are taken at the School of Public Health - where one has the option of taking everything from immunology to tuberculosis control to reproductive health.

If you're not interested in these topics and are more interested in pure biology, then biology the major for you (and I suggest asking Sarah S. of Hopkins Interactive questions about the biology major!). It is possible to double major in public health and biology, but many times public health majors are encouraged to only major in public health allowing room for study abroad and course exploration.

Undergraduate research? Of course. In ANY major at Hopkins, students will be encouraged to explore research opportunities. I suggest you check out the public health undergraduate research journal: http://www.jhu.edu/ep/. This school is founded with a research philosophy and will continue to have one. I have done research in Brazil on the epidemiology of AIDS/TB, at the World Health Organization on intellectual disability, at the School of Public Health on TB and smoking. And I'm currently writing a historical undergraduate thesis on TB funding. Don't worry, there is tons of research for more natural sciences-minded people in public health who LOVE being in lab. I should also mention that people in other majors, including biology, may find themselves doing public health research even through bench research.

I should also mention that in the public health studies major, as you'll see in the newest checklist, applied experience is a requirement. This experience could be anything from volunteering at the local health department to volunteering at a senior center. This applied experience is a unique feature of the public health major.

So again, don't stress because you can change your intended major throughout your first two years. However, know that at Hopkins you'll have the option to take tons of biology courses (and truly fall in love with cells), but you'll also have the option to view the cell on a more interdisciplinary level with majors like public health studies.

Let me know if you have anymore questions.

Good luck with the application process!

Jessica K.
Public Health '11

Read my blog
or ask me a question!
"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities
of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."

- Rachel Carson (a Hopkins alum!)