Graduate Student Ambassadors

Graduate Student Ambassadors represent a diverse group of students that strive to inspire, connect with, and represent past, present, and future College of Public Health graduate students.

What we do

  • Communicate and connect with prospective and admitted students through:
    • Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter
    • Podcast episodes that feature current students, faculty, and experts from the field of public health
    • College events such as student panels, visit days, and student tours
  • We reach out to alumni through:
    • Alumni board lunches, during conferences, email correspondence, and networking events
    • Conference socials
    • Networking Events
    • Social Media

To connect with a graduate student ambassador, please email us at

Meet Our Ambassadors

Jada McDonald

(2nd Year MPH HMP)

My name is Jada McDonald, I am the CPH Graduate Ambassador President, and I am a 2nd year Graduate student in the HMP department getting my MPH in policy. I received my B.A. from the University of Iowa in Public Health with a minor in Social Justice. I am a member of the American Public Health Association and the Iowa public Health Association as well as a member of several student organizations. One being the Health Policy Student Association. I have worked for several organizations working on policy libraries, community engagement, and social justice projects. Now, I am an Outreach and Programming assistant for the Women’s Resource and Action Center at the University of Iowa where I founded the “Period Project.” An initiative to improve access and education to menstruation products. Additionally, I work as a Violence Prevention Assistant at the University of Iowa, and I am a member of the Maternal Health Scholars. My primary interests include women’s health, maternal health outcomes, maternal health policy initiatives, and addressing racial inequities and social determinants of health. Outside of school I like to go to the gym, travel, and watch movies!

Portrait of Amy Wu of the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Amy Wu 

(2nd Year Biostat MS)

Amy is a second-year master’s student in Biostatistics from Ankeny, IA. She received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University in molecular biology and genetics with a minor in statistics. During her gap year, she worked in pharmacogenetics at GlaxoSmithKline and in biotech for a cancer genomics company in Boston. Her academic interests include mediation and survival analysis of race, environmental factors, and mortality risk. She currently collaborates with the department of ophthalmology on wet-macular degeneration and genetic risk factors. She is also involved in the College of Public Health’s student podcast: From the Front Row. 

Grade Gerdts

(1st Year PhD Epidemiology)

Grace is a first-year PhD student studying Epidemiology with specific interests in the continuum of care for children with chronic genetic disorders in Iowa and mixed methods research. She is originally from Solon, Iowa and received her MPH focused in Biostatistics in 2023 from the University of Iowa. Prior to joining the College of Public Health, she received her B.S. in Biology and Mathematics from the University of Iowa in 2021. She currently works as a research assistant for the Department of Epidemiology, in addition to collaborating with Johnson County Public Health on evaluating the Johnson County COVID-19 response. Grace is a current Maternal and Child Health scholar and can be found in a wide range of CPH organizations 

Allison Darling

(1st Year MPH OEH)

Allison is from Kansas City, MO and is a first-year MPH student studying Occupational and Environmental Health. She received her B.A. in Business Administration and Environmental Studies, as well as a minor in Economics from Coe College in August of 2023. Allison is a TA at the College of Public Health, and works for Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman, PLC which is a law firm located in Cedar Rapids. Her interests include health law and environmental law! 

Emily Jensen of the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

Emily Jensen

(1st Year MHA)

Emily Jensen is a first-year Master of Health Administration student in the Department of Health Management and Policy. Emily is from Williamsburg, Iowa and she received her bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Iowa. Throughout her undergrad, she worked on several projects aimed towards reducing health disparities in rural communities. These experiences developed her passion for improving health equity and access to healthcare and bringing a public health focused lens to the field of healthcare administration. She currently holds a graduate assistantship in the College of Medicine with the Office of Statewide Clinical Education Programs. Emily is involved in several other professional student organizations including the Iowa Student Association of Healthcare Leaders serving as the first-year representative and the Student Association of Rural Health.  

Lauren Kloft

(2nd Year MPH Epidemiology)

I’m Lauren and I am a 2nd year MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology. My journey in public health began when I earned my B.A. in Public Health at the University of Iowa in 2021. The academic environment at the university and my passion for public health led me to pursue my master’s degree here at Iowa. I am currently the philanthropy advisor for Upstream Initiative, an interdisciplinary group of graduate health professions volunteering at the High-Risk Obstetrics Clinic at UIHC working to connect patients with resources to combat food insecurity and transportation needs. Outside of school I spend time hiking, hanging with friends and working at the State Hygienic Lab 

Caroline Carter

(1st Year MPH HMP)

My name is Caroline Carter, and I am a fourth year Public Health student pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Public Health and my minor in Global Health Studies. Currently, I am in the Undergraduate to Graduate Program in the Health Policy Department. Within public health, I have specific interests in healthcare administration and child and maternal health. Outside of my education, I love hiking, running, and spending time with family

Parker Harlow

Parker Harlow

(1st Year MPH HMP)

Parker Harlow is a first year MPH student in the Department of Health Mangement of Policy. She is part of the Undergrad to Grad program and is currently finishing her B.S. in Public Health. She has been an ambassador for the past three years in the undergraduate program. She is also involved with research on campus in a preterm infant lab.   

Kasi Rupert

(1st Year MHA)

Hi! I’m Kasi (reads like Cassie). I use she/they pronouns and I’m a first year Master of Health Administration student. I earned my BA in Biology from Coe College in 2021 and previously worked as a pharmacy technician for about 5 years. I have been involved with many political and LGBTQ+ organizations and I love all kinds of music and games! I’m so excited to be a Hawkeye and have loved living in the Iowa City area for the past few years. 

Natalie Doering

(1st Year MPH- Policy)

Natalie is in her first year of her MPH in the Department of Epidemiology. She is from Ankeny, IA and is currently participating in the Undergraduate to Graduate (U2G) program at the University of Iowa with a B.S. in Public Health and a B.A. in Spanish. Her research interests include maternal and child health (MCH) and global public health. Upon completion of her MPH, she hopes to combine her public health background and medical interests as a physician. 

Rasika Mukkamala 

(2nd Year MHA)

Rasika Mukkamala is a second-year MHA student. She spent her summer interning at UCHealth in her hometown of Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Rasika has a Graduate Assistantship at the University of Iowa Community Clinics. She enjoys clinic operations, human resources, and organizational development. Rasika enjoys being on the podcast and getting to know others in the Iowa community. 

Lauren Lavin

(2nd year PhD in health services and administration)

Lauren is a second year PhD student in Health Services and Administration from Sioux Falls, SD. Lauren completed undergrad at the University of South Dakota with a BS in Psychology and minors in Business Administration and Economics. After undergrad she launched a bakery, Bakologie, in her hometown before deciding to head back to school. Currently, she is doing research in the Emergency Department on the impact of COVID-19 on telehealth for underserved populations. She is also interested in rural health topics. Lauren also loves to get involved on campus and is a part of several graduate and professional student groups such as leading the student podcast, From the Front Row.

Meredith Malloy

(2nd Year MPH HMP)

My name is Meredith Malloy and I am a second-year Health Policy Masters of Public Health student. I graduated from the University of Iowa with my Bachelors of Arts in Public Health and a minor in Political Science in May of 2023. During my undergrad I participated in the U2G program and a variety of student organizations. I currently work for the University of Iowa Public Policy Center at the ISRC and intern at Johnson County Public Health in the Community Health Division

Grace Ellis

(1st Year MPH CBH)

I am currently in the Undergrad to Grad program in the Community and Behavioral Health Department. I am an Iowa City native and enjoy morning sunrise walks. The College of Public Health has welcomed me from day one and I want to share that experience with other students. Being an ambassador is important to me because I want to help every student in the College to feel like they belong.