Nuzhat Zuman, Bachelor of Public Health ’21

Major: Public HealthNuzhat Zaman

Minor: Health Disparities in Society and Anthropology

Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL

Why major in public health?: I want to dedicate my life to serving marginalized communities through advocating for systemic change with health policy. Health disparities persist around the world because of historical systems of oppression, and to target the health inequities that result from these, the root problems must be addressed through policy change, education, and advocacy.

What is most interesting about public health?: The most interesting thing about public health is that it is so versatile. You can pursue any career with a background in public health, especially now, when the world is finally realizing how essential public health is to the wellbeing of all societies.

Why did you choose UF?: I chose UF because I wanted to get away from home (haha) and I also knew that a school like UF would best challenge me not only academically but personally. I came into UF as a health science major on the pre-med track, and quickly realized I had a passion for public health more than medicine. This worked out since UF is one of the only schools in Florida with an undergraduate public health program.

What experience at UF has been most influential?: Last summer, I volunteered with Gators for Refugee Medical Relief at two back-to-school drives for two refugee communities in Jacksonville. We collected and distributed supplies for the Burmese and Syrian refugee communities. I talked to a lot of the kids there, as well as their parents. The conversations were often difficult, but eye-opening, as I realized just how much privilege I have to be a US citizen, a student at UF, and more. I talked to a lot of the parents about their health as well as their children’s health, and it only stressed to me the importance of eliminating health disparities. Refugee communities are among the most vulnerable people in the world, and this experience really reiterated to me that I want to dedicate my future to supporting and giving a platform to those who are marginalized within society.

Do you participate in extracurriculars? If so which?: I am a sxster of Delta Phi Omega Sorority, Inc. within the Multicultural Greek Council here at UF. I am also a member of Islam on Campus and Bangladeshi Students’ Association, as well as First Generation Leadership Program.

Do you have any jobs while in college? What do you do?: I recently started my first real job! I work as a Research Interviewer at the UF Department of Epidemiology for a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. I conduct interviews with EMS personnel across the country on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected drug use and drug overdoses in different communities.

What are your professional goals?: My professional goals are to become a public health policy analyst and developer at the CDC and work towards eliminating health disparities both here in the US as well as globally.

What do you like to do for fun?: I like going to boba shops, finding good places to eat around Gainesville, and playing with the cats in my apartment complex.

What advice do you have for prospective students?: Do all things with intention. Join organizations and clubs that you actually care for and want to serve, rather than just for a “resume boost.” Study what you are passionate about, make friends who bring out the best in you and you do the same for them. When things are done with intention, everything else will fall into place.