Congrats to our newest Global Health Student of the Month, Ashley Emuka! Ashley is a second year, Global Health major and International Studies Minor from Sixth College.

With her short time in the program, Ashley has gotten involved in numerous activities to help promote the program and has many initiatives in her pipeline including completing field experience this summer in Cambodia where she will be helping children with disabilities.

Ashley was also recently announced as one of the newest members of the Global Health Student Advisory Committee for next year. Way to go Ashley!


  1. Why did you choose to pursue Global Health as a major/minor?

Because my parents are from Nigeria, I have always been a globally minded person. Nevertheless, Global Health was not my first choice. Last year, I started college as a Human Biology major and planned to become a physician. I was mainly interested in the international realm of health and solving overseas medical issues, so I wanted to join the Doctors Without Borders program. However, I quickly realized that medical school was not for me, and that caused some internal dilemmas. Reflecting back on my interests, I recognized that transnational health and human rights have always been my passion. The Global Health Program encompassed all of that, and I changed my major to Global Health the summer before the start of my second year of college. Global Health is truly the best fit for me; I am grateful to study what I love.

  1. What Global Health related activities/projects do you have going on right now?

Right now, I am wrapping up my lower division courses and exploring exciting upper division ones, such as Global Health 181. However, all this year, I have been preparing for my Field Experience this summer. I am going to Cambodia for two weeks with Alternative Breaks, one of UCSD’s premier service organizations. We are going to Cambodia to care for children with disabilities and to teach underprivileged youth. I am really excited about it! We have been educating ourselves on the Cambodian culture, language, and the various disabilities that we may encounter, such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down’s syndrome, and HIV. I have also been attending Gun Violence Intervention Group meetings and I am hoping to become one of the Global Health Program Student Representatives.

  1. Do you have a favorite professor in the department?

Picking favorites often leads to trouble, but I have no problem confirming that Professor Cathy Gere is the one professor I have wholeheartedly enjoyed this year. Her class was the first Global Health course I took and it really set the bar for the rest of my classes. I appreciate clarity and understanding in a professor and Professor Gere has an excess of both. I loved that we had a whole class day devoted to just discussion of the readings or any related health issues. I liked Professor Gere so much, I also took her class Winter Quarter, too! Although I am not enrolled in her class this quarter, I still keep in touch with her through email.

  1. What are your future plans?

I always refer to my future plan as a mosaic art piece. From far away, you see a completed picture but close up, you can see that that big picture consists of dozens of little tiles. My big picture is being part of the United Nations as an international diplomat or ambassador. I want to be part of the committee that makes universal health policies or laws for all countries. I also want to help countries develop or improve their healthcare systems. Getting a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego, joining the Peace Corp, and receiving a doctorate are some of the little tiles that will perfect the masterpiece.

  1. What is the most interesting book/article/blog you’ve read lately?

I have been reading a lot about the issue of police brutality as a major public and global health concern. The killing of people of color by police is affecting our morbidity, mortality rates, and other statistics. It is tied into our society’s systematic oppression and “new” racism, and thus is a difficult issue to solve. I am hoping to reform this in the United Nations someday soon.

  1. What advice do you have for young Global Health students or students considering Global Health?

For anyone considering switching into Global Health, I say take the plunge! The Global Health Program is very unique, in the sense that you have the freedom to study anything you want within the major. Many of us have the same Global Health major, but are able to focus on different aspects of it. My concentration is political science and international studies, but several people are pursuing anthropology, clinical biology, sociology, and the like. You have the ability to set your own path; however, if you have no idea what you want to do, the broad range of disciplines will quickly help you. We take courses in economics, history, psychology, literature, communications, math, and even urban studies. The Global Health program is structured to help foster extremely well rounded scholars, and at the end of the day, that’s the best thing you can be.

  1. Tell us one: favorite movie, favorite song, or favorite part of campus.

My favorite movie? That is so hard! Okay well, I would have to say the Disney movie Meet The Robinsons is my favorite movie of all time. Although it is a REALLY cute movie for kids, re-watching it has gotten me through some difficult adult times. I always remember the “Keep Moving Forward” theme when I am worried or stressed and it has motivated me like nothing else. I also have a slight obsession with the character Wilbur Robinson, but that is a story for another time.