Hello everyone! My name is Ruth Mekonnen, and I am a public health major with a concentration in Global Health. While pursuing my PBHL degree, I am also working toward a GIS (Geographic Information System) Certificate at CU Denver.
The summer before entering my First Year as a Lynx, my family and I took a trip to Ethiopia that completely changed my life. Seeing the beauty, progress, and various opportunities for growth in my ancestral country was deeply moving. My parents moved from Ethiopia to Colorado in 1996, and despite the culture shock they experienced as immigrants, they built a wonderful life for my brothers and I, while always reminding us of where we came from. After that trip, I decided I wanted to return “Home” (as I lovingly call the Horn of Africa) and contribute to bringing solutions to the healthcare industry. After looking up various degrees that sought to advance health, I stumbled on public health. That fall, I enrolled in Dr. Hyeyoung Nelson’s Intro to Public Health course and was blown away at the immense possibilities within the field. Throughout my time at CU Denver, I have been motivated to follow my curiosity, fall in love with research, and discover my why. From projects about Sudan in my Global Health Perspectives course, to developing maps that intersect epidemiology with GIS, to my presentation before government officials about the burden of environmental exposures on the health of North Denver/Commerce City residents, I found a passion and purpose that I hope will take me back to Ethiopia and beyond.