Engaged Learning

Commitment to Social Justice

by Cristine Jan Catina '26

My name is Cristine, though most people call me CJ. I am a first-year MPH student.

Cristine Jan Catina

I am a San Francisco native, but my academic journey led me to UC Santa Cruz, where I played college basketball and received a degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology. Amidst the pandemic, I found purpose in working as a medical assistant, providing COVID-19 tests to vulnerable populations. Presently, I channel my passion in sports and mentoring the younger generation by working as a high school basketball coach.

I have always wanted to work in healthcare. Navigating through the myriad avenues within healthcare, I gravitated toward USF's MPH program, driven by my community-centric experiences. Joining the MPH program at USF was the best option for learning and harnessing skills that can create meaningful changes in the community that shaped me. The program’s emphasis on preventive and population health fills gaps left by my undergraduate education. USF’s commitment to social justice profoundly resonates with me, reinforcing my decision to pursue my MPH here.

I recently embarked on a two-week immersion trip to Lesotho, a country nestled within South Africa. Immersed in its culture, I gained invaluable insights into the social determinants of health of the country. Sampling local cuisine and experiencing Basotho culture made the trip unforgettable, enriching me personally and professionally.

If you are considering USF’s MPH program, I highly recommend it for many reasons. I feel seen and heard by the MPH community. I have established wonderful connections with my professors and peers. Lastly, I have been introduced to fantastic opportunities, like the Lesotho trip.