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Texan chose YSPH for academic opportunities and chance to live in New England

May 15, 2024
by Fran Fried

Student Student Spotlight: Nimisha Srikanth ’25, Social and Behavioral Sciences (United States Health Justice)

Why did you choose the Yale School of Public Health?

I chose YSPH because of the academic offerings and the opportunity to live in New England! I was interested in getting more involved in adolescent sexual and reproductive health research, and learning from faculty experts in the adolescent health and sexual and reproductive health fields. As a student in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, I can attend seminars with experts and researchers from Yale and outside of Yale, and can find new avenues of study that stimulate my interests. Additionally, I was fascinated by the classes offered, and I enjoy expanding my knowledge and expertise in various social and behavioral sciences. Finally, as a lifelong Texan, I wanted to live somewhere else, and YSPH met all my criteria.

What were you doing before enrolling at YSPH?

I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Texas A&M University in May 2023. At TAMU, I ran the student reproductive justice organization Feminists for Reproductive Equity and Education (FREE Aggies). I managed two reproductive health kit services from 2021 to 2023 through FREE Aggies, where I delivered around 400 kits to students, and Jane’s Due Process (a Texas abortion fund), where I coordinated around 310 requests. On top of that, I was an Opioid Task Force ambassador and co-chaired our inaugural Opioid Awareness Week in 2023, researched in Dr. Michael Golding’s lab at Texas A&M’s Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology, and worked as a research intern in Dr. Sarah Messiah’s Center for Pediatric Population Health at UTHealth School of Public Health.

At YSPH, I have found a community of genuine and brilliant peers whom I learn from daily. There are also so many opportunities for students here.

Nimisha Srikanth

What are your favorite aspects of the YSPH academic program?

My favorite aspects of YSPH are the community and the diverse array of opportunities offered to students. At YSPH, I have found a community of genuine and brilliant peers whom I learn from daily. There are also so many opportunities for students here. As someone interested in becoming a researcher activist, there are many classes and extracurriculars that I participate in to increase my knowledge and broaden my horizon of possible future opportunities. I am taking an Advocacy and Activism class with Dr. Tekisha Everette and working in the Connecticut General Assembly for Representative Jillian Gilchrest and the Reproductive Rights Caucus, where I am actively expanding my activism skills while learning more about the political workings of Connecticut. These opportunities are unique to YSPH and were part of the reason I decided to pursue my MPH here.

What was your most impactful experience outside of class?

Outside of class, working in Dr. Ijeoma Opara’s SASH (Substance and Sexual Health) Lab has been the most impactful on my goals as a public health researcher. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the research field, but I needed more experience in the adolescent sexual and reproductive health field. I joined the lab in my first semester, and I have already learned so much and done so much hands-on work in my first six months with the team! The lab has been so welcoming and eager to train me in quantitative and qualitative research, and I feel like I have learned so much more about substance use and sexual health among adolescents in the U.S. and New Jersey in particular. Working in the lab has solidified my desire to pursue a PhD and become a researcher, and I am eager to continue developing my skills with the team during the rest of my MPH.

Do you have a favorite Yale place or New Haven food?

My favorite place at Yale is the Repertory Theatre! My roommates, friends, and I enjoy watching plays at the theater and satisfying our theater cravings. My favorite New Haven food would probably be the ice cream. I am partial to Elena’s on Orange Street, but I haven’t been disappointed by any of the ice cream shops in town.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to pursue a PhD in public health, focusing on adolescent sexual and reproductive health. As for career plans, I am not sure yet, but my goal is to work in the research field and advocate for policies strengthening sexual and reproductive health in the U.S.

Submitted by Fran Fried on May 14, 2024