Our MPH students have a diverse set of academic interests and professional backgrounds. This diversity, combined with world-renowned faculty and a rigorous course of study, provides an unmatched educational experience in public health. Listed below is a brief introduction to some of our current students. 


Deniz Inal is a second year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. She received a B.A. in Anthropology from University of Chicago in 2012. She previously interned at the Helsinki Citizens Assembly – Refugee Advocacy and Support Program based in Istanbul. In the summer of 2010, she interned with the Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme in Kinshasa, DRC. Deniz worked as International Programs Assistant for Global Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights at the Heartland Alliance, based in Chicago, focusing on projects regarding LGBTI rights, gender-based violence, asylum and refugee rights in Turkey and the Middle East. She worked in Istanbul as a caseworker for the International Catholic Migration Commission, which runs the U.S. State Department funded Regional Resettlement Support Center in Turkey and the Middle East between the years 2013-2015. She is interested in women's sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence and torture survivor programs, and urban refugee response and coordination.

Jonathan Lee is a second year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. He joins the department as a fellow in International Emergency Medicine at Columbia University-NY Presbyterian Hospital.  He originally studied Anthropology at the University at Buffalo and went on to obtain his MD from New York Medical College. Prior to coming to Columbia, he completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the South Bronx, a busy level 1 trauma center in one of the poorest congressional districts in the country.  Jonathan has participated in data collection for HIV/AIDS research and outreach for water/sanitation efforts in Uganda. He has also had clinical experience in both Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.  His area of focus is in the intersection of humanitarian emergencies and non-communicable diseases, and also improving the coordination of humanitarian aid.

Yana Mayevskaya is a second year student from San Francisco, California in the Population and Family Health department. Before coming to Mailman she graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies/Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz. For the past 6 years she worked at a community based organization at Burton High School in San Francisco. There she coordinated the teen programs - and coached cheerleading on the side! They focused on implementing the community schools model and supported the students, their families, and the community. She also volunteered abroad in Mexico, Bulgaria, and Haiti. She is passionate about the effect of violence on children and teens, and hopes to further explore this field here at Mailman. She is also interested in migrant and immigrant health. 

Eamon Penney is a second year MPH student. Prior to enrolling at in the Population and Family Health Department at Mailman, Eamon Penney was engaged in healthcare delivery in emergency settings with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). He began by working out of MSF's New York offices, supporting the organization's advocacy efforts, and later as a logistician in South Sudan, helping to address the needs spurred from the ongoing civil war. Before working with MSF, Eamon focused on incorporating participatory methods into development intervention design. This interest led him to study small-scale micro finance in Tanzania, to facilitate community initiatives in Rwanda and Uganda, and to organize resident associations in mobile home parks in his home state of Vermont. 

Terry (Teck Herng) Saw is a second year MPH student in the department of Population and Family Health. He is originally from Malaysia, and graduated with a degree in Film and Animation. After college, he worked as a teacher in a public school before embarking on a journey of self-discovery, rescuing animals and volunteering with animal welfare organizations and teaching Capoeira to under-privilege children and youths, and the hearing-impaired. He worked with the IRC at their Resettlement Support Center in Malaysia, conducting cultural orientation classes, interviewing cases and managing interpreters for refugees resettling to the US. His interest mainly lies in the humanitarian assistance of refugees, but also extends to educational and development programs for youth and children. 

Kelly Sprague is a second year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. She was born in California and raised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where she first became interested in working with vulnerable populations. In 2011, Kelly spent time in Amman, Jordan volunteering at a local hospital as refugees began fleeing to Jordan as a result of the growing social and political unrest in the surrounding Middle East and North Africa. Kelly has since served with City Year as a mentor and tutor for 9th grade students in Philadelphia that are at-risk for dropping out of high school. She has also volunteered at a free clinic in Houston, TX designed to provide homeless individuals with access to primary care and to reduce the overutilization of the Emergency Department. While at Mailman, Kelly hopes to further explore her interests of child health and working with populations in complex humanitarian emergencies.

Anaise Williams is a second year student in Population and Family Health. Anaise studied medical anthropology in undergrad at University of Rochester. Before coming to Mailman, she lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh and studied postpartum depression in urban slums on a Fulbright Fellowship. Anaise also worked on program planning for Telehealth services around family planning and refugee health services in Portland, Maine at Medical Care Development, Inc. At Mailman, Anaise is an RA at Averting Maternal Death and Disability and a GA at the Program on Forced Migration and Health. Her interests lie in domestic violence prevention, human rights and emotional wellbeing for vulnerable populations. 

Christina Wilson is a second year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. She served in the Army for 5 years as an Arabic and Pashto linguist. Following her enlistment, she attended school at the American University in Cairo but, not far into the first semester, she decided to leave university and go to Afghanistan as a Pashto linguist in support of the U.S. Military. She spent 4 months as an interpreter for a Forward Surgical Team and 6 months providing language support for Special Operations Forces whose mission included running free clinics and medical training seminars for the surrounding villages. She spent as much time as she could teaching hygiene practice, wound care, women’s health, etc. and wanted to do more. After returning to the States she received her B.A. in International Studies from American University in Washington, D.C. and prior to coming to Mailman she taught Pashto at the Defense Language Institute in California. She is interested in program planning and improving access to healthcare and health education in conflict and post-conflict areas as well as in displaced communities. 

Sarah Tsay is a second year Master’s student in the Department of Epidemiology with a certificate in Public Health and Humanitarian Assistance. She was raised in the Washington, DC metro area and obtained her degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of Maryland Baltimore County. Prior to Mailman, Sarah worked in the field of clinical research, where she performed data and regulatory management, as well as operational support activities for NICHD’s Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act. She also served as a consultant in pharmaceutical development and provided strategic consulting to clients on patient-reported outcomes measures across a wide range of therapeutic areas to establish recommendations for the measurement of health-related quality of life for use in clinical trial development. At Columbia, she hopes to explore her interest in health systems strengthening, access to healthcare, immigrant and migrant health, and measuring health in complex emergencies and displaced populations.

Hilary Wartinger is a second year PHHA student in Population and Family Health. She received her BA in International Relations and a BS in Journalism from Boston University. After spending a year volunteering on farms worldwide and working in kitchens, Hilary joined the Peace Corps and spent three years in Swaziland, two as a rural health educator and one as a livelihoods consultant with the World Food Programme. Her interests are food security, female empowerment and sexual health, and breaking down barriers to care wherever they arise.

Jessica Milberg-Haydu is a second year MPH student in the Population and Family Health department. A 2010 graduate of Barnard College with a BA in Economics, her background and interests lie in women’s and reproductive health and community-based health care delivery. She has volunteered as a rape crisis counselor and advocate for survivors of gender-based violence for the past 8 years. Originally from Massachusetts, Jes arrived at Mailman after two years doing community health and youth development work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. She is looking forward to exploring care delivery and coordination among post-conflict populations during her time at Mailman and beyond.

Carolyn Briody is a second year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. She was born and raised in New Jersey, and received a B.A. in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to coming to Mailman, Carolyn worked as a data analyst for Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a large health care organization in New Jersey. While living in Baltimore, Maryland, she worked for Health Care for the Homeless conducting surveillance and outreach. Carolyn is interested in several areas related to complex emergencies including program planning and evaluation, as well as utilizing technology for measurement methods and coordination of aid. She is also interested in human rights, and the protection of vulnerable populations during times of humanitarian emergencies.

Stephanie Grow is a second year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. Prior to enrolling in Mailman, Stephanie worked as the Program Manager for the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA) in Seattle, where she developed partnerships between global health organizations to improve efficacy and efficiency of their global programs. Before WGHA, Stephanie developed corporate partnerships at the global health nonprofit, PATH. She also co-founded a small Ethiopian-based nonprofit that has been providing clean water solutions to rural communities in the Gondar region since 2011. Stephanie graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelors in Environmental Science and a focus on Sustainable International Development. She is interested in applying strategy and program planning to a wide range of issues in complex emergencies, such as water and sanitation and women’s health.

Eliana Rieders is a second year student in the Department of Population and Family Health. During her undergraduate studies in International/ Intercultural Studies and Environmental Policy at Pitzer College, Eliana spent a semester working with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in Botswana. Upon graduating, she moved to Berlin, Germany, where she worked as a project assistant and researcher on topics of human rights and EU immigration policies. In her current studies, Eliana’s interest in humanitarian assistance primarily focuses on human rights abuses, gender-based violence, and vulnerable communities’ access to potable water.

Adriana Marquina was born in Orange, CA to undocumented Mexican immigrant parents. She graduated with BA in Political Science and a minor in Arabic Studies from Davidson College in 2013. While at Davidson, she studied Arabic in the Middle East, first in Syria and then in Jordan, and traveled to Mexico and Nicaragua. After college, Adriana moved back home to Nashville, TN and worked for a small ethnic based community organization (ECBO) as the Refugee Resettlement Program Manager. As such, she developed a cultural orientation curriculum for new arrivals and conducted essential health screenings for all 200 arrivals resettled by the ECBO. In the future, she hopes to work on developing and evaluating programs in refugee camps to better prepare teens and families hoping to be resettled or in secondary countries with migrant families adjusting to new situations. After working hands-on with these communities, she hopes to pursue a PhD or DrPH to study the effects of lengthy family separations on members of the family, the development of parent-child relationships, and the impacts of both on health outcomes and happiness. 

Tsion Firew was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and now lives in New York City. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and earned her MD afterwards. She did her residency in Emergency Medicine, and now is pursuing a fellowship in International Emergency Medicine at Columbia University. Her current projects include development of Emergency Medicine in Ethiopia and simulation based team training in low- resource settings.  



Jamie Hamilton is a second year MPH student in the department of Epidemiology. He comes to Mailman after three years of work with homeless children and families from New York City and Long Island. Prior to that he lived in Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania, doing youth development and small scale agriculture, before eventually moving north and earning a BA in Sociology from Stony Brook University. Jamie is most interested in social epidemiology and the applicaiton of epidemiological methods to culturally mediated population health issues at home and abroad. 


Yasmine Anwar is a second year student in the department of Epidemiology. She is from Lausanne, Switzerland and graduated from Tulane University, New Orleans with a degree in Public Health and Portuguese. She studied for a year in Salvador, Brazil where she first became interested in Public Health. After college, she traveled to South America where she interned for a Bolivian non-profit organization that works on improving access to education and health care services in rural communities through road infrastructure development and health practitioner training. While at Mailman, she hopes to further explore her interests in human rights, and improving access to healthcare services for vulnerable populations.


Nafkote Gizaw is a second year MPH student. 

Lauren Parks is a second year MPH student. 


Hayes Wong is a first year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. Originally from Atlanta, she received a B.A. in International Relations at Kenyon College in Ohio. After graduation, she collaborated with the Chinese CDC in Beijing on a hepatitis B vaccination program to prevent mother-to-child transmission in rural China as a Fulbright Scholar. Her passion for both public health and clinical medicine led her to medical school at Wake Forest University where she directed the free, student-run clinic in her second year. She completed residency in emergency medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle where she had the privilege to serve as Chief Resident and work with the WHO’s Emergency Medical Teams Initiative in Geneva. She joined Columbia as an International Emergency Medicine Fellow, and her interests include humanitarian emergencies, disaster preparedness, medical education and health care advocacy.    

Jamie Greenberg is a first year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. She received a B.A. in Biology and Community Health from Tufts University in 2011. After graduation, she interned at Population Services International and Malaria No More in Washington, D.C., and most recently spent three years working in the Health and Education Departments of the RAND Corporation in Arlington, VA. She is interested in access to reproductive care in forced migration, fragile or conflict settings. 

Joolan Saroor is a first year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health with a certificate in Public Health and Humanitarian Assistance. Born in Yemen, she has firsthand experience in resource scarcity and welfare uncertainty brought on by internalized conflict. At a young age, she and her family relocated to the United States for political asylum. Joolan went on to college where she graduated with dual bachelor degrees in Biochemistry and Biology from Virginia Tech.  Prior to working in healthcare administration, she conducted biomedical research as an intern with the National Institutes of Health and volunteered on medical mission trips abroad. An avid supporter of human rights and health interventions, Joolan assisted in documenting vulnerable patients in Yemen and in writing affidavits to support those requiring proper medical care overseas. While at Columbia, she hopes to further explore her interests in improving the health of marginalized populations, investigate violations of medical neutrality within complex emergencies, and examine the impact remnants of war has on healthcare access in post-conflict context. 

Lainey Freels is a first year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health with a certificate in Public Health and Humanitarian Assistance. She joins the program from California, where she studied the complexities of globalization in urban China as a Global Studies major at UCLA. Prior to enrolling, Lainey helped address the staggering rates of road traffic injuries in high-risk countries as a Princeton in Asia Fellow in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, developing national behavior-change campaigns, public policy initiatives, and educational awareness interventions. She worked as an International Programs Advisor and Student Coordinator for two years at the UCLA International Education Office. Lainey has supported local health clinics and clean water initiatives in Honduras as well as children's rights and early development in Northern Thailand. Lainey is deeply committed to promoting more equitable health outcomes and aspires to be an informed advocate for vulnerable communities. She is interested in exploring the use of technology in humanitarian responses as well as health disparities in urban informal settlements. 

Victoria Sergent is a first-year MPH candidate in the Department of Epidemiology. She received her B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University in 2012, with a concentration in Social and Personality Development. For the past two years, she worked as a Community HIV/AIDS Outreach Volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in South Africa, where her main area of focus was mitigating the social and structural drivers of HIV. At Columbia, she hopes to explore her interests in emerging health systems, as well as the health outcomes, including long-term mental health effects, that are associated with complex humanitarian emergencies, and refugee and migrant populations.

Betsy Dankenbring is a first year MPH student in the department of Population and Family Health. Prior to attending the Mailman School, Betsy served as the interim clinic director at Clinica Verde, a non-profit health clinic in Boaco, Nicaragua. While there, she and clinic staff designed and implemented a prenatal nutrition and child development program that has since been adopted and expanded by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health across multiple rural clinics. Betsy served in Malawi on the Breast Milk, Microbiome and Immunity Project, studying the ethical, cultural and social aspects of the interrelationship between the human gut microbiome, breastfeeding and malnutrition. She also worked in refugee resettlement in Saint Louis, MO and aims to combine these experiences to work in maternal, child and reproductive health in conflict and post-conflict areas and with displaced communities. Betsy holds a Bachelor’s degree in International and Area Studies from Washington University in Saint Louis.

Christine Chen is a 1st year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. She is an emergency medicine physician and global health fellow at Mt Sinai St Luke's-West Hospital Center.  She completed her undergraduate studies in Molecular Biology from UC Berkeley in California, followed by a short stint as a substitute teacher before enrolling in medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Christine just finished her emergency medicine training at NY-Presbyterian/Queens, serving the immigrant population of Queens in Flushing, NY. While in various parts of her training, she volunteered in several small public health service projects including building stoves in Guatemala and helping launch several public health initiatives in Rwanda, and piloted a water bio-filtration project in a rural village. Her interests are broadly for the health improvement of those in vulnerable populations such as immigrants and refugees, but more specifically for women and children caught in conflict areas and their protection during humanitarian emergencies.


Ahmed Mahmoud is a first year MPH student in the Department of Population and Family Health. He was born in Sudan, but grew up in Virginia where he completed his undergraduate studies. After earning a BS in Biology from the Univesity of Virginia in 2013, Ahmed went on to work as an intern in Virginia Hospital Center's Cardiology Department and as a surgical tech for Cardiovascular and Thoraic Surgery Associates. His interests include emergency medicine, as well as mental health outcomes in forced migration. Ahmed hopes to utilize his education in public health and medicine to work  with intervention and treatment development for forcibly displaced populations with mental and psychosocial disorders. 

Laura Zebib is a first year MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology. She was born and raised in South Florida where she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Miami. After completing a graduate certificate in geospaital technology, she became worked on projects relating to the geo-demographic indicators of gun violence in Miami.  Her interests include human rights, gender-based violence, and women’s issues in post-conflict settings. Laura hopes to pursue a career intersecting public health and law to understand human rights issues within the Middle East. 


Hannah Collins is a first year MPH student.

Sarah Hofer is a first year MPH student.
Anna Hoover is a first year MPH student.
Ian Rodgers is a first year MPH student.
Sonya Stokes is a first year MPH student.
Samuel J. Wolfe is a first year MPH student.