Friday, March 6, 2015

Precious Gem: Unnati Mehta

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of interviewing this week’s Precious Gem, Unnati Mehta of Team BRAIN BLAST. Originally from Clarksville, MD, Unnati is a Behavioral and Community Health major with a minor in International Development and Conflict Management (IDCM). She is also part of the Global Semester program on campus, for which she interns at the National Institute of Health three days a week conducting HIV/AIDS outreach. She enjoys her internship because not only is she helping her community, but she is also gaining experience in the field of public health, which she hopes to work in one day. This semester Unnati is focusing mostly on her IDCM minor, as she is taking the minor’s two capstone courses that focus on development and conflict. Although the material is dense and requires much reading, she says that these are her favorite courses she is taking this semester.

One may expect that with her course load and work from her internship, Unnati would try and relax with whatever free time she has—but in her case, she uses time outside of class to engage in various extracurricular activities. Unnati has been part of the dance team Entouraas for her past two years at UMD and while she did not originally plan on joining the team this semester, she was asked recently to come back to fill an open spot. She has a great love for dance so she jumped at the opportunity and even participated in a competition in Miami the weekend before our interview. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity at the University of Maryland. Unnati also loves to travel: she has studied abroad in both London and Amsterdam, where she studied the cities’ public health systems. She also travels to India every year to visit family.

Gemstone has reinforced Unnati’s love of research to the point that she sought additional research opportunities outside of the program. She has conducted research in the dietetics department at UMD and would like to incorporate research into her future career. She plans on attending graduate school after her time at UMD is complete in order to pursue a Master’s in Public Health, followed by a Ph.D. in epidemiology. Currently in the process of researching graduate programs, she would like to attend graduate school somewhere on the East Coast, her current preference being Columbia University. While Unnati does not have her exact career planned out yet, she is certainly setting herself up for success. She lives by the motto: “do what you’re passionate about,” and will certainly be able to continue to uphold this after she receives her graduate degrees. Whether she is at her internship, attending a fraternity event, fulfilling her love of dance, or in the lab for BRAIN BLAST, Unnati will undoubtedly be doing something exceptional if you spot her around campus.

-6 March 2015, Nate Nenortas

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