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Meet Keren Herran

INDS Spring 2021 Graduate Highlight Series

April 9, 2021 12:52 PM
B.S. INDS: Global Health Considering Environmental Factors

Degree Mentors
  • Dr. Dawn Biehler, Department of Geography and Environmental Systems
  • Dr. Fizza Gulamali Majid, Division Chief of the Maryland Department of Health Division of Newborn and Childhood Screening
  • Carrie Sauter, Individualized Study

Why did you choose to major in INDS?
Environmental factors are often ignored by mainstream health programming. At an empowerment and development level, if communities are equipped with an understanding of how ecological factors affect human health, they can better manage their ecosystems and their population’s wellbeing. Thus, the shortfall of environmental knowledge and consideration in global health interventions spurred the formation of my degree. The Individualized Study Program has been the perfect place for me to develop the skills necessary to be a global health team manager because it has enabled me to glean perspective and knowledge from health sciences, geography, and environmental science in order to better comprehend and work to address environmental issues that impact population health. An interdisciplinary approach to studying the gap between global health and environmental factors has empowered me with an integrative way of thought that matches the multidimensional nature of public health crises.

What are your plans for after graduation, and how do you see using your INDS degree?
As an aspiring mixed methods researcher and the daughter of Latin American immigrants, my intellectual passions include designing, implementing, and evaluating collaborative social behavioral interventions that benefit marginalized migrants, women, and youth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). My drive to advance implementation science research in LAC motivates me to earn a PhD. Therefore, after graduation, I will immediately enter into a PhD program in public health (I am still deciding which of my PhD program offers to choose for fall 2021). The rigorous process of developing and defending my own undergraduate degree plan has instilled in me transferable skills relevant to graduate school. For instance, working with multiple mentors has enhanced my skills in stakeholder management and communication. I also gained experience in applying for and earning grants, managing a project budget, and synthesizing distinct insights and theories from across my coursework in order to ask innovative questions. All of these experiences will provide a key foundation for my doctoral training. Most importantly, the strategies of integration and scholarship of interdisciplinarity that I have gained through my degree enables me to approach problems from a different perspective which will enrich the projects and classes I partake in.

**Keren was recently selected as a Presidential Fellow at the University of South Carolina where she will be attending graduate school

2020-2021 URA Scholar

2020 URCAD Presenter

  • Student Researcher, Brown University School of Public Health || June 2020 – August 2020 || Virtual/Telework
  • Student Researcher, University of Virginia Minority Health International Research Training Program (UVA MHIRT)|| May 2019 – August 2019 || Charlottesville, VA and Quito, Ecuador
  • Student Researcher, University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Biomedical Informatics (UPenn IBI) || June 2018 – August 2018 || Philadelphia, PA
  • Student Researcher, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Undergraduate Research Award Scholar || May 2020-May 2021 || Baltimore, Maryland
  • Head Supplies Coordinator, UMBC Global Medical Brigades, Fall 2020 – Spring 2021
  • Emcee, UMBC Cru Leadership Team, Fall 2020 – Spring 2021 
  • Vice President, UMBC Global Medical Brigades, Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 
  • Vice President, UMBC Individualized Study Council of Majors (CoM), Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 
  • Vice President, UMBC Geography and Environmental Systems CoM Fall 2019 – Spring 2021 
  • Member, UMBC Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science, Fall 2019-Spring 2021 
  • Latin Dance Team Member, UMBC Hispanic Latino Student Union, Spring 2019 
  • Child Health Promotion Workshop Coordinator, UMBC Global Medical Brigades, Fall 2018-Spring 2021 
  • Department Liaison, Geography and Environmental Systems CoM, Dec 2018 – May 2019
  • Student Ambassador. Harvard LEAD Conference. November 2020 – February 2021
  • Scholar. UMBC France Merrick Scholarship Program. September 2019 – May 2021
  • Peer Advisor. UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars Program Scholar. September 2019 – May 2021
  • Student Representative. Individualized Study Committee. September 2019 – December 2020
  • Volunteer English Teacher. Esperanza Center – Catholic Charities of Baltimore October 2017 – December 2017
  • Peer Note-Taker. Office of Student Disabilities Services – UMBC September 2017 – Spring 2018
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