Gehena Girish ’22


Pronouns: she/her/hers

Hometown: Folsom, California

How long have you been walking backwards, leading tours? Certified to lead tours since fall 2019!

Major: Global Disease Biology

Minor: Political Science

Why did you choose UC Davis?
I chose Davis for a multitude of reasons, like the location from home and the culture on campus. However, the main reason — and probably the reason I speak most about — is my major, Global Disease Biology. I absolutely love my major, and it has really opened many doors for me. Through my course content, I was inspired to pursue so many different paths in public health policy, global health, vector biology and social epidemiology. My professors have engaged me in coursework that has shaped my view of the world and how I plan to create change within it from here on out.

What is your favorite thing about Davis, the town?
My favorite thing about Davis is the trail accessibility. Even before the pandemic, I spent a lot of time outdoors walking around on and off campus, whether it was at the Arboretum or in the neighborhood trails behind my apartment. It is always a plus to see friendly Davis faces, especially those who aren't students, since the Davis residents are kind and welcoming. And on the trails there are lots of dogs, which is really the best part!

What is the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about UC Davis?
I was surprised to see how many opportunities there were for me here at Davis. I got to spend a quarter interning in the Birthing Ward at the local hospital, for example. The research position I held off campus this summer, I found simply through an email from my major advisor. The opportunities are all there and available for us students!

Tell us about your favorite class or professor.
My favorite professor is Dr. Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz, who taught a seminar on gun violence and public health. Dr. Kravitz-Wirtz's course truly expanded my view of public health, and it inspired me to consider a new career path in epidemiology. The course material also connected with an organization I am involved with on campus, which allowed me to understand gun violence and public health from both a hands-on and academic perspective.

How did you find your community on campus?
I found my community at UC Davis through the organizations I joined. I rushed a professional service sorority, Lambda Omicron Xi, and now have been on the board of my sorority for two years. My sisters and I are passionate about service and improving the community we live in. I also joined a preventative health organization, R.I.V.E.R., that is dedicated to exercise and nutrition education. Through my time in R.I.V.E.R., I got involved in my favorite project on campus, the R.I.V.E.R. Pediatric Clinic, which will serve the Sacramento community as a student-run clinic focused on childhood adversity and prevention. These organizations have shaped my time on campus and provided me with a community of like-minded individuals who are also dedicated to changing the world!