New student Zoë Harris aims to ‘be a better relative’
Hometown: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Major/Program: Community Health Sciences PhD Program/School of Public Health
Graduation Year: 2025
What is one thing you want people to know about you?
I do have a life outside of work and school. When I am not reading articles or doing research, I do a lot of finger weaving, and it is my favorite pastime.
What degree are you pursuing and what inspired you to choose this path? Is there a personal experience that comes to mind?
I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences. I chose this path because even though community health science is broad, it encompasses so many of the things I am passionate about. Whether that is health disparities, traditional medicine or nutrition, I can study so much more than what a lot of other disciplines allow.
Why did you choose UIC?
I chose UIC because this institution exemplifies diversity. From an education standpoint, there is everything from a medical school to a college of architecture, and disciplines are encouraged to learn from one another. And from a demographic perspective, there are people from so many racial, gender, sexual orientation, disability and other cultural backgrounds, so you are able to get a much richer learning experience because you can learn from people’s own lives.
Are there specific experiences and/or learning opportunities you are looking forward to having as a student?
My curriculum is designed to teach you new skills and tools. So, I wish I could say I was looking forward to something in particular, but I honestly don’t know what I don’t know, and that is what is exciting to me.
Looking in the future, what do you want to see for yourself, your community, the world?
What I have always aimed for, for myself, is to be a better relative, and I want to see that for my community and the world. And when I say “be a better relative,” I do mean calling my family more, but I also mean being more aware of my surroundings and the beings in it. Whether that is by trying to be more environmentally conscious or buying coffee for a friend who is having a bad day, I think that people are forgetting what it means to be a good relative. And I hope that people try to upon improve that.
What Chicago places/activities/neighborhoods are you looking forward to exploring?
I love music, so once it is safe again, I really want to go Lollapalooza.
How do you like your pizza: deep dish or thin? What toppings?
Thin, but only because I have not had deep dish yet. And classic pepperoni.
What was your favorite subject in middle school?
I loved math, although once they started introducing letters, I did not like it as much.
Who or what inspires you?
The public health field inspires me. It is multidisciplinary by nature and because of that it allows me to do learn about everything that I have wanted to learn and things I didn’t even know I wanted to learn.
What is your favorite place on the UIC campus so far?
The Atkins Medicinal Plant Garden on the west campus, it is pretty and informative!