Jennifer Ward graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Minor in Environmental Health, Urban & Regional Studies in 2010. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree at the Harvard School of Public Health, studying global health and population and infectious disease epidemiology.
Describe your experience as an Institute of the Environment and Sustainability student.
The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability provided a unique interdisciplinary program in environmental science. The collaborative and applied nature of the program and the ability for students to explore a wide range of topics and areas within environmental science provided a strong foundation for my academic and professional development. Having the opportunity to engage with the UCLA School of Public Health via the Environmental Health Minor was integral in sparking my interests in graduate school and public health in general. The high caliber and passion for the environment of my fellow students and professors made being a part of the IoES a rewarding undergraduate experience.
Discuss your current academic endeavor. Why did you choose this particular field to focus on?
I am currently a graduate student at the Harvard School of Public Health, pursuing a M.S. in Global Health and Population. My research focuses on the ecology of infectious diseases, complex human-environment systems, and the impacts of global environmental change on public health. The emerging field of global environmental health provides an exciting avenue for me to blend my interests in the natural and biological sciences, while creating a positive public health impact. Using a systems approach to environmental health with a focus on global issues is a developing discipline, providing many opportunities and challenges for young professionals such as myself.
How is your present path related to health, the environment, and sustainability?
Holistic approaches to infectious disease control efforts attempt to understand the complex relationships between diseases and their contextual ecosystem. In order to effectively design control programs and ensure their sustained impact, these links must be recognized and studied. On the macro-scale, I am interested in how we can design more climate resilient cities to minimize the negative health impacts of climate change.