Below are the current student ambassadors for the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program in Environmental Health Sciences. These students are happy to answer questions you may have about the application process, the program, or student life in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

2023 -2024 Ambassadors

Alex Acosta

Hi everyone! My name is Alex Acosta and I am from Hendersonville, NC. Of course, I’m majoring in Environmental Health Sciences but am also pursuing a minor in creative writing (don’t feel as if you have to only study STEM at UNC!) Outside of academics, I like to volunteer in my free time with Habitat for Humanity, the community gardens, and the Boys and Girls club! I also love to hike (Western NC is perfect for this), and play all kinds of sports with my friends.

Please reach out if you have any questions about the major or just about life in general at UNC. I was definitely one confused kid coming to UNC and would love to help in any way I can. Email:

Raj Aghera

Hi! My name is Raj Aghera (R-aa-j) and I am from Wake Forest, NC. I have always been a Tarheel, all my life, as my older sister was a student here and my twin brother is in Gillings as well!

As a student, I am majoring in Environmental Health Sciences with a minor in Chemistry. I am looking to begin the accelerated bachelor’s to MPH program in the Environment, Climate, and Health concentration this year. The crossroads between how the environment around us plays a role in our well-being has always interested me!

Beyond this, I worked in the Gillings ESE student services office this past year and am currently on the ESE Inclusive Excellence Committee. Outside of Gillings, I have been involved with clubs such as GlobeMed and Fleece & Thank You here at UNC. Please reach out to me if there’s anything I can help you with (!

Halle Evans

Hi! My name is Halle Evans (Hal-Lee, rhymes with alley) and I’m from Macomb, IL. Along with majoring in ENHS, I’m pursuing minors in geography and music. I’m interested in infectious diseases, global health, health equity, and more recently, renewable energy technologies. Throughout college, I’ve had multiple opportunities to do research. At UNC, I have been a member of IDEEL (the Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Ecology Lab). There, I’ve worked on projects related to diagnostic resistant malaria in Ethiopia and a longitudinal malarial study in the DRC. Then within Gillings, I was a member of the ECUIPP Lab as a data processing volunteer.

Outside of UNC, I completed an NSF REU Fellowship at UMaine. Then this summer, I’m doing a data science internship through the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) within the Department of Energy.

The last experience I wanted to briefly mention was study abroad. I was able to study abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy. I’d be happy to talk about anything environmental health/geography-related, internship experiences, and study abroad!

Please reach out! My email is

Emery Hoos

My name is Emery Hoos (Em-er-ie H-ooh-s) and I’m majoring in Environmental Health Sciences and Biology. I am interested in environmental epigenetics, particularly related to cancer. I’ve had the opportunity to work on multiple research projects in labs both within Gillings and in other UNC departments, so I’m happy to talk through the process of getting involved in research in any capacity! Currently, I am researching racial disparities in endometrial cancer in Dr. Rebecca Fry’s lab. This upcoming summer I’ll be studying cancer vaccines at the National Institutes of Health.

Outside of research, I am involved with the Carolina Cancer Association. I have also loved my experiences studying abroad, both in Florence, Italy and Edinburgh, Scotland. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about Gillings or anything else UNC-related!


Pema Herr

Hello everyone! My name is Pema Herr (pay-muh) and I am from Chapel Hill, NC. Beyond majoring in Environmental Health Sciences, I am pursuing a minor in Chemistry. I am particularly interested in the intersection of health equity and environmental health.

I’ve done extensive research on antimicrobial resistance in E.coli in private well water in NC. Currently, I am involved in clinical research in UNC’s Emergency Department that addresses barriers to care and social determinants of health of patients. I am also a Clinic Advisor at SHAC Medical Clinic which is the nation’s oldest student-run free clinic. Lastly, I am currently working as a medical scribe at UNC’s Emergency Department.

For those of you who may be pre-health students, I have experience with navigating this and would love to talk to you about how important public health is in the medical field! Feel free to reach out! My email is


Contact your Academic Coordinator.
Assistant to Chair: Rhoda Cerny
Looking for someone else?

135 Dauer Drive
166 Rosenau Hall, CB #7431
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7431
(919) 966-1171