Since April 2017, 14 qualified and talented scholars have been awarded with the Erin Aaberg Givans Memorial Scholarship. The most recent scholarships were given in the Spring of 2023. CSCC and the Givans Family feel confident that these students will carry on Ms. Aaberg Givans’ legacy as an effective advocate for children’s health care issues.
Ruth Bahta was born in Tigray and raised in Sacramento. She graduated with a BS in Business Management and AS in Health Sciences from Pacific Union College. She had the privilege of working with the Health Professionals Network for Tigray, a nonprofit organization that changed the direction of my career path. Her work in Mental Health and Wellness and the Health Policy Subcommittee sparked an interest in health policy and advocacy for individuals experiencing social and economic inequalities.
Currently, she is a Master’s in policy and public administration candidate at Sacramento State University. In her previous semester, she was a Co-Project Manager leading a team on the California public policy problem of too few affordable homes for the state’s population. Her interest in health policy resulted in focusing on this as a primary reason for the need for more affordable housing. Less money spent on sufficient and affordable housing increases a family’s capacity to pay for necessities like healthful food, medical expenses, and transportation. Unaffordable housing has a negative impact on children’s mental and physical health since it causes them to be under continual stress.
She wants to continue pursuing her master’s by conducting research within the scope of health policy and advocacy for Children especially those in families impacted by social and economic inequalities.
Adenike Omomukuyo is a continuing MPH student at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, concentrating in Public Health Nutrition and with specific focus in Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health. Originally born and raised in Atlanta, GA, she is also a first-generation Nigerian American. Over her life’s course, she has spent time in nutritional treatment centers as both a healthcare professional and prior patient. The frustrations of her experience as a Black woman in these spaces has endured various harms from Eurocentric frameworks perpetuating the marginalization of BIPOC livelihoods throughout treatment models, alongside narrowed imagination for racial/ethnic communities at risk of acquiring detrimental food relationships.
Since graduating from Cornell University in 2018 with her B.S. in Human Biology, Health, and Society, she has spent significant time working in the nutrition field as an equity-based public health innovator. Her current role as a Research Assistant with the USDA/Tufts Telehealth Intervention Strategies for WIC (THIS-WIC) project dynamically integrates health equity into understanding population adversities and expanding resource accessibility for vulnerable women and children reliant on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in rural settigs with limited access. Adenike has also cultivated recent opportunities to enhance similar resource delivery to students experiencing food adversities at UC Berkeley. As the head cooking instructor for the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology’s Personal Food Security and Wellness course, she facilitated mindful cooking experiences in a teaching kitchen for campus undergraduates facing food insecurity. She has further partnered with the Berkeley Basic Needs Center as a CalFresh Ambassador promoting outreach initiatives for food funding support to the most at-risk campus communities, and the Berkeley Food Institute to critically implement comprehensive anti-racist tools within nutritional teaching practices. Additionally, her clinical experience working with adolescent girls struggling with eating disorders has greatly developed her capacity for intuitive eating methods aligned with weight-inclusive nutrition philosophies that ensure patient-centeredness for recovery care.
An aspiring Pediatric Registered Dietician, Adenike plans to continue enhancing the nutrition care process for vulnerable BIPOC youth who have been dangerously erased within nutrition interventions. Her mission will position an intersectional lens that expands knowledge on the manifestations of childhood adversities in the eating patterns of BIPOC children; offers language for strengths-based, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive feeding approaches within treatment models; and considers food as an enclave for restorative healing.
Harjeet Kaur was raised in Elk Grove her entire life. Harjeet graduated from UC Davis in 2022 with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Public Health. At UC Davis, she spent several hours volunteering with various organizations like Bhagat Puran Singh Health Initiative (BPSHI), Nishkam Sewa, Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, and more! As the President of BPSHI, she worked directly with patients of the Punjabi community to address health disparities and provide clinic screenings to patients for underserved populations. She created her own community service organization called Nishkam Sewa and started a global health education program for students and children in India. She has also devoted time to the South Asian Heart Center as a Heart Health Coach to explain the importance of lifestyle factors in managing health.
Harjeet’s passion for child health was sparked with her research in Adverse Childhood Experiences as an Undergraduate Public Health Scholar at UC Davis. She learned and researched Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Sikh community and dedicated her senior year to an independent thesis project on this topic. Harjeet will be continuing her research in child health through the CDC program, MCHC Rise Up at UC Davis.
Harjeet will be starting her MPH at UC Davis this coming Summer 2022 and is excited to pursue her education further in public health. She is very passionate in addressing health disparities in underserved communities. She is honored and humbled to have been selected for this scholarship and thanks the scholarship committee for the opportunity.
Gabriela Soto was born and raised in Oxnard, California. She graduated from UCLA in 2022 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Public health. During her undergraduate career, Gabriela invested her time in providing educational and health care services to minority and underserved communities, working with Sonriendo Con el Corazon, based in Tijuana, Mexico as well as the Migrant Education program in Los Angeles.
Such experiences inspired her to focus her attention on public health interventions that would work upstream at a systematic level to improve children’s health and educational trajectories. This led to her working on projects with UCLA Health that resulted in a published paper in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, regarding Pediatric transmission of COVID-19. In addition, she recently began working with the Health Tomorrow’s Parks Project to provide a mental health and mindfulness curriculum to vulnerable children populations in East and South LA.
Gabriela is excited to continue her education at UCLA in the Fall of 2022 to earn a Master’s in Public Health Policy and Management with a focus in Maternal and Child Health. What motivates her most is the realization that an achievement gap and health disparities exist. Her goal is to advocate for equitable education and healthcare policies to support the lifelong trajectory of minority and disadvantaged children and adolescents globally. She is honored and grateful to be receiving the 2022 Erin Aaberg scholarship as it will aid in her pursuit to invest her time and knowledge into underserved and vulnerable communities.
Jacqueline Robles was born and raised in Los Angeles California. She lived in foster care from the age of five years old until 21 years old. Her time in foster care fueled her to pursue higher education and graduate from California State University Long Beach in 2020 with a B.S. in Business Management. Her time in foster care made it clear that she needed to pursue a graduate degree in public policy in order to help fix the inequities she saw in the healthcare system growing up, specifically medical recipients. Jacqueline is most inspired to pursue her passions because she witnessed various populations, including her peers in foster care who struggled to receive adequate healthcare.
After graduating from California State University Long Beach she applied and was accepted into UCLA Luskin School of Public affairs to pursue her Master of Public Policy. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Jacqueline hopes to work on policies that tackle disparities that are found in foster care, the homeless population, low-income individuals and people of color.
Jacqueline is excited to receive the Erin Aaberg Givans scholarship and is excited to continue following her passions at UCLA and one day make a difference in children’s lives.
Vida Sandoval was born and raised in Sacramento, California. She graduated from UC Davis in 2017 with a B.S. in Neurobiology and a minor in Chicana/o Studies. While at UC Davis, Vida helped lead efforts to increase health care access by volunteering at a student-run free clinic, Clinica Tepati. She also began to nurture her love for working with children by volunteering in the neonatal intensive care unit and the pediatric emergency department. After graduating, her passion for children’s health advocacy led her to participate in research aimed at using telemedicine to improve the care provided to critically ill children in underserved communities.
Vida’s experience witnessing health disparities in her community inspired her to pursue a career as a pediatrician who would advocate for vulnerable children. She entered the Program in Medical Education for Leadership and Advocacy (PRIME-LA) at UCLA in 2018, a combined MD/Master’s program with an emphasis on addressing health disparities in medically underserved populations. While in medical school, she has continued to advocate for vulnerable children through her pediatric research in prenatal food insecurity and volunteer work with children at a transitional housing facility in LA. She has completed her third year of medical school and is now excited to pursue a Master’s in Public Health in Health Policy & Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She aspires to one day become a health services researcher with a focus on childhood health disparities policy and advocacy work, and a fierce advocate for children at both the local and state level.
Vida is honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the 2021 Erin Aaberg Givans Memorial Scholarship and thankful to all who made this award possible.
Lucia Garcia was born and raised in Chandler, Arizona. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2019, with a B.S. in Public Health and a minor in Spanish. During her undergraduate career Lucia held a variety of internships, two of the most notable at Women’s Infants and Children (WIC), and at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. In both roles, she saw firsthand how policy implications can make a difference in the life of patients, especially children, which ultimately motivated her to pursue a career advocating for children’s health through policy and administration.
Thus, after graduating from Arizona State, she moved to Los Angeles to begin her Master’s in Public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, within the Health Policy and Management department. She is excited for the opportunity to work as an administrator in a hospital or healthcare foundation in California upon graduation, to advocate for improved children’s health outcomes. She aspires to work in hospital management to affect high-level policy and create more equitable health practices to benefit children.
Lucia is honored to have received the Erin Aaberg Givans Scholarship and is excited to continue her legacy through her work in children’s advocacy in the healthcare field.
Tamiko Huey grew up in Rodeo, California and graduated from John Swett High School in 2016. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with her B.S in Human Biology in June 2020. During her time at UC Santa Cruz, she gained clinical experience as a physical therapy volunteer for Precision Physical Therapy and as a volunteer at the Radiology and Mammalogy department at Sutter Health Hospital. She was also an active member of her campus as the President of the Pre-SOMA Bay Area and Medicine organization and a student representative of the Student Health Advisory Committee promoting for equitable healthcare access on campus.
Tamiko’s interest in Public Health peaked during her internship with Prep Médico – a pipeline program sponsored by UC Davis and the Permanente Medical Group. She had the opportunity to learn about health disparities in Latino and other underserved communities, social determinants of health, and cultural humility. By the end of this internship she found her passion for Public Health and wished to pursue a career in which she could be an advocate for Maternal and Child Health in marginalized communities in Northern California. This led her to her internship with Health Career Connection (HCC). HCC paired Tamiko with Children First Medical Group (CFMG) during the summer of 2019. At CFMG she was able to serve a population she truly cared about – children of the Bay Area and children enrolled in Medi-Cal. Tamiko continues to work with CFMG even after her internship ended to continue providing equitable resources and care for all.
She began attending SFSU in August 2020 to obtain her Master’s in Public Health. Her ultimate career goal is to help foster a world where a child’s socioeconomic status is not a reflection of his or her health status and to mitigate power imbalances in the healthcare system. She is honored to be receiving the 2020 Erin Aaberg Givans scholarship and is extremely thankful to all parties who made such an esteemed scholarship possible.
Anna Peare grew up in Lafayette, California and graduated from Acalanes High School in 2012. She attended UC Davis, where she completed a B.S. with honors in Community and Regional Development and Spanish minor in 2016. During her time at UC Davis, Anna worked for Amigos de las Américas, an international youth development organization, both domestically on training programs in the Sacramento-Davis region, and internationally on youth leadership and community health programs in in Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Mexico. After graduating from UC Davis, Anna moved to Washington D.C. where she worked creating and facilitating group prenatal, pediatric, and chronic care programs at the health clinic Mary’s Center. While at Mary’s Center, Anna solidified her desire to work in the maternal and child health realm of public health, and to find creative solutions for pressing health issues facing women and children.
During her first year as an MPH student in Community Health Sciences at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, Anna was a Trainee with UC-LEND (University of California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities). She aspires to influence programs and policies that create and improve access to culturally appropriate and high quality care for women and children, especially for immigrants and for individuals with disabilities. She is honored to be a recipient of the Erin Aaberg Givans Memorial Scholarship, and is immensely thankful to all those who have made this scholarship opportunity a reality.
Kimberly Hazard grew up in El Dorado County and attended Union Mine High School. After graduating in 2009, she went to UC Berkeley, where she completed a B.S. in Society and Environment in 2013. After graduating, she served as a Climate Corps Bay Area fellow working with the Alameda County Early Care and Education Program as the Greening Preschools Coordinator, educating preschoolers and staff on recycling and waste. Health emerged as an important topic within “green childcare” as providers frequently requested more information and support on asthma-safe practices and non-toxic product purchasing. Kimberly helped secure grant funding to stay on with the County and grow the green childcare program to promote environmental health and sustainability.
Kimberly also worked with the UCSF School of Nursing, California Childcare Health Program on several projects, including developing an integrated pest management intervention for family child care homes, the California Statewide Disaster and Emergency Plan for early care and education, and an online curriculum promoting healthy beverages in child care.
In 2018, Kimberly entered the Environmental Health Sciences graduate program at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health to research how environmental exposures influence the health of young children, from harmful chemicals to climate change, and to study applicable interventions. She is currently coordinating a 5-year study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, quantifying children’s exposures to harmful pesticides in California childcare centers, and looks forward to disseminating findings and using them to advocate for healthier early learning environments throughout California. She is honored to receive the 2019 Erin Aaberg Givans scholarship and thankful to all who make the award possible.
Lizzie Jekanowski graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies. As an undergraduate, Lizzie advocated for youth sexual health education and promotion in partnership with Advocates for Youth and the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. Featured in The New York Times, CNN, NPR and BBC America, Lizzie received international attention for her advocacy leadership when threatened with expulsion for distributing comprehensive, queer-inclusive sexual health information and resources at a Catholic university. This opportunity to challenge unjust institutions and affirm youths’ right to healthcare, regardless of religious affiliation or choice of university, launched Lizzie into her lifelong passion for reproductive justice advocacy for youth.
Since 2013, Lizzie has continued this passion in the Bay Area. She provided counseling, education and support for sexual assault survivors as young as seven years old at the San Jose Rape Crisis Center. She worked as a Health Services Specialist at Planned Parenthood clinics in the Peninsula and East Bay and trained to be a Young Teen Specialist to serve the unique needs of young patients ages 13-15.
Lizzie completed a Masters of Public Policy and a Masters of Public Health dual-degree University of California, Berkeley. During her program, she did a summer internship at California Latinas for Reproductive Justice with the financial support of the Health Policy Advocacy Fellowship from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. She is delighted to receive the 2018 Erin Aaberg Givans Memorial Scholarship and to honored to continue Ms. Givans’ legacy.
Catherine Yount grew up in Rocklin, California and attended Whitney High School. After graduating in 2011, Catherine went to UCLA, where she completed a degree in Human Biology and Society in 2015. While studying at UCLA, Catherine had the opportunity to spend a semester studying at the University of Accra, in Ghana. During her time in Ghana, she completed an internship at a Special Education school and did research regarding disability infrastructure in Ghana. It was here that she gained a passion for working with children with disabilities. Catherine went on to work in a Special Education classroom and worked for Disability Services in Irvine, California while she pursued a Master’s in Public Health at UC Irvine.
In the second year of her graduate degree, Catherine completed the California Leadership and Education for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (CA-LEND) Fellowship at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. She also partnered with the California Department of Public Health, Biomonitoring to complete a data analysis research project about sources of perchlorate, a chemical that has the potential to impact fetal and infant neurodevelopment. Catherine aspires to influence programs and policies that create access to health care for all children, especially those with disabilities. She is exceptionally grateful to all those who have made the Erin Aaberg Givans scholarship possible.
Vanessa Gutierrez grew up in South San Francisco, California and attended San Francisco State University (SFSU) where she completed a degree in Criminal Justice Studies in 2013. While studying at SFSU, Vanessa had the opportunity to work closely with the Kawasaki Disease Foundation (KDF), a non-profit organization that strives to address issues relating to Kawasaki disease. Vanessa’s involvement with the KDF arose from her daughters’ diagnosis with the disease. While her daughter was treated on time and is doing well today, Vanessa continues to advocate for children’s health via her involvement as a Board Member for the KDF. Through this journey, Vanessa gained a passion and interest in advocating for children’s health at the policy level. This motivated Vanessa to pursue a Master in Public Administration at SFSU, which she completed in the Spring of 2018.
Simultaneously, Vanessa worked at a San Francisco non-profit agency specializing in adult and children’s mental health as a Contracts and Communications Liaison. Vanessa’s main focus revolves around creating strategies that create financial sustainability for organizations that focus on children’s health. She feels honored to be awarded the Erin Aaberg Givans scholarship, and is very indebted to the family, friends and donors of Mrs. Givans for making this scholarship possible.