Thank you for your interest in UPHS! 

The 2024 application cycle closed on Tuesday, February 20. Please check back in January 2025 for the next application cycle. 

The goal of the Undergraduate Public Health Scholars program is to provide a mentored summer research experience in public health sciences, with an emphasis on systemic health inequities. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in one of the many types of research activities conducted by faculty in the department, from epidemiology of health disparities, to environmental health and health policy. Students will receive a stipend of $5000 for a 10-week program in research for the summer of 2024. Students are expected to work 40 hours per week, meet weekly with faculty mentors, attend a weekly scientific skills seminar conducted by Educational Enrichment & Outreach Programs (EEOP)/ Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program (BUSP), and present their research at the EEOP/BUSP Poster Session.

  • Eligibility: UC Davis undergraduates who have completed at least 3 years and have at least 1 more year prior to graduation. UPHS prioritizes students with a strong understanding and commitment to health equity, who are interested in pursuing careers in public health. 

Students from the following backgrounds are encouraged to apply: 

  • Identify as a historically excluded racial or ethnic minority (African American, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, Hispanic/Latinx)
  • Have a disability
  • Participate in the BUSP or BUSP-STARS
  • Come from a disadvantaged background as defined by the NIH (See the EEOP eligibility page for specific details)
  • Students do not have to be in the College of Biological Sciences. Students from ALL majors/disciplines (including non-STEM majors) are encouraged to apply

The Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program is funded by the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences.

Other Undergraduate Opportunities in Public Health

UC Davis MIND Institute RISE-UP

CDC Internships and Fellowships for Minority Health

CDC-Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities National Internship Program

Health Career Connection: Paid internships for rising seniors and recent graduates

UPHS Student Testimonials

"I participated in UPHS the summer of 2023 where I had the opportunity to develop HPV awareness and prevention educational material for Hispanic/Latinx community health educators with my mentor, Dr. Laura Fejerman. As a first-generation student, UPHS allowed me to explore research in public health for the first time and has provided me with mentors, resources, and knowledge that I did not have prior to the program. Today, I continue to work in the Fejerman Lab and am now helping lead the program as we prepare to pilot the materials I developed to assess its effectiveness in reducing HPV related cancer health disparities among the Hispanic/Latinx community." - Daisy Montoya, 2023 Cohort 

Kimberly Aguirre smiles in her white coat.

"Hello, my name is Kimberly Aguirre, and I am grateful to have been part of the 2021 UPHS cohort. During the program, I conducted research with my mentor, Dr. Alda Pires, in the Department of Population Health & Reproduction at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. My project focused on evaluating whether grazing events impacted sheep facial microbiomes and pathogen shedding on mixed crop livestock systems. This program helped solidify my interests in public health and my project introduced me to new areas of focus that I hope to incorporate into my career, specifically epidemiology, livestock health, microbiology, and Zoonotics/foodborne diseases. Currently, I am a second-year veterinary student in the dual degree DVM/MPVM program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. My goal is to become a livestock/public health veterinarian, and promote food safety through clinical work, research and academic teaching." - Kimberly Aguirre, 2021 Cohort. 

Sofia Ledesema smiles while wearing a UC Berkeley Public Health sweatshirt in front of pink flowers.

"Hello, my name is Sofia Ledesma (she/her/hers), and I am a 2020 UPHS Scholar. The UPHS program played a critical role in the trajectory of my public health academic and professional career and helped me get to where I am today! UPHS was my first experience doing public health research, and at a time when things were very uncertain due to the onset of the pandemic, Dr. Ko and the UPHS faculty adapted the program in a matter of weeks. My research project was about the readability of health communications for Spanish-speaking agricultural workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. My mentor was Dr. Kent Pinkerton, Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety Director. Dr. Pinkerton was a fantastic mentor who helped me navigate the research project and explore my interest in addressing health inequities among Latine Agricultural workers. UPHS helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in public health and prepared me for graduate programs. In particular, the journal clubs prepared me for graduate school seminars. Today, I am currently in my last year of graduate school at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. In the future, I hope to use my skills to inform system-level approaches to addressing health inequities through centering community-driven programs. I would not be where I am without the UPHS program, the guidance of my faculty mentor, and Dr. Ko!" - Sofia Ledesma, 2020 Cohort. 

Past UPHS Scholars and Mentors

Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Alumni 


Nicole Ibewiro, Dr. Brittany Chambers. African American Birthing People's Perinatal Care Experiences during Covid-19

Ellie Lee, Debbie Fetter. Using Culturally-Inclusive Recipes to Promote Engagement with College Campus Food Access Resources

Daisy Montoya, Laura Adame, Jesus Bastian, Najla Dabbagh, Yelitza Campos, Laura Fejerman. Development of HPV Awareness and Prevention Education Materials For Hispanic/Latinx Community Health Educators

Nimra Nazar, Dr. Michelle Ko. Experiences of Low-Income Undergraduate Students with Disabilities at University of California, Davis

Isabella Pahulu, Dr. Jennifer Falbe. Reviewing the Literature of Diet-Related Chronic Disease Interventions for Native Hawaiians

Natalie Reyes, Yury Garcia, Dr. Miriam Nuno. Differences in Health Care Utilization in CA using the CHIS Database

Alejandro Tapia, Krista Thongphanh, Charles Li, and Kent E. Pinkerton. Health Implications of 4th Generation E-Cigarettes


Miriam Bermejo, Miriam Nuño, Yury Garcia. Characterizing Vaccine Missingness in Children using 2019-2020 NIS-Child Database 

Natalie Madrigal, Chase Boyer, Andrea C. Bühler-Wassmann, Leah Hibel.  Sleep and Its Effect on Emotional Regulation 

Jesús M. Magaña, Kent Pinkerton, Priya Upadhyay.  Health Implications of Engineered Silver Nanomaterials 

Elissa Perez-Rodriguez, David Seth Jabonero Carillo, Kent Pinkerton. Structural remodeling of the human lung due to inhaled particle deposition and retention 

Linda Sancrant, Caitlin Jones, Kathryn Conlon. Landscape Use and Wildfires - A Summary of the Literature and Conceptual Framework 


Kimberly Aguirre (Mentor: Alda De Andrade E Pires, D.V.M, M.P.V.M, Ph.D, School of Veterinary Medicine)

Jessica Rangel (Mentor: Candice Price, Ph.D., Molecular Biosciences )

Harjeet Mann (Mentor: Leigh Ann Simmons, Ph.D., MFT, Human Ecology)

Catelyn Edwards (Mentor: Leigh Ann Simmons, Ph.D., MFT, Human Ecology)


Joan Ashby (Mentor: Miriam Nuno, Public Health Sciences and Surgery): Winner, ABRCMS Presentation Awards in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health 2020 

Sofia Ledesema (Mentor: Keny Pinkerton, Pediatrics- School of Medicine, Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine): Winner, ABRCMS Presentation Awards in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health 2020 

Bianca Puente (Mentor: Leigh Ann Simmons, Human Ecology) 

Neha Singh (Mentor: Kent Pinkerton Pediatrics- School of Medicine, Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine) 


Sheccid Torres (Mentor: Kent Pinkerton, Pediatrics- School of Medicine, Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine) 

Earl Morales (Mentor: Miriarm Nuno, Public Health Sciences and Surgery): Winner, ABRCMS Presentation Awards in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health 2019 


Yemi Lawrence (Mentor: Michelle Ko, Public Health Sciences) 

Lia Lopez (Mentor: Efrain Talamantes, Internal Medicine) 

Ricky Rios (Mentor: Miriarm Nuno, Public Health Sciences and Surgery) 

Rosario Lopez (Mentor: Lorena Garcia, Public Health Sciences) 


Sonam Kumari (Mentor: Michelle Ko, Public Health Sciences) 

Veronica Zepeda Pontifes (Mentor: Miriam Nuno, Public Health Sciences and Surgery)