Chelsea entered Northeastern on a pre-med track. She found that while her classes were focused in biology and neuroscience, her extracurricular activities focused on policy reform and social justice. She realized that she wanted a major that would lend itself to her advocacy work on healthcare disparities and help her reach the ultimate goal of transforming the healthcare system. The biology and political science combined major at Northeastern did just that.
Here is Chelsea’s Northeastern story…
Chelsea has always had a strong interest in activism. She participates in a variety of movements on and off campus. Studying political science enabled Chelsea to integrate her on-campus activities with related coursework and co-op experiences.
“I was a neuroscience major. When I was at a point where I was looking to change I really had two routes. One of them was political science and the other was health sciences. And I decided specifically on political science because I’m interested in policy reform and relating that to the general advocacy work that I have been doing.”
Chelsea found Professor Thomas Vicino’s “Growth and Decline in Cities and Suburbs” (POLS 2357) to be an inspiring course. The course allowed her to visualize Boston in ways she hadn’t before. Chelsea’s work has also been influenced by Professor Chambers’ “Introduction to Sociology” (SOCL 1101) course, which she says validated her ideas and expanded the ways in which she thought about social issues and policy reform.
“I feel like there’s a number of individuals who are treated more like interest groups rather than the sole focus sometimes. So, that’s something that I’m looking to learn more about and hopefully one day, possibly reform.”
As an active member of the Northeastern Student Government Association (SGA), Chelsea conceptualizes policy-making at the micro-level as well as the macro-level. She has learned how to represent the interests of the vast student body and campaign realistic policy changes. Chelsea founded Students Against Institutional Discrimination (SAID), an advocacy student group that focuses on racial and social justice for marginalized students. She is also a member of the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), which helps her as an SGA officer to become better acquainted with Northeastern students’ concerns.
Chelsea’s first co-op experience was as an international project coordinator for the Harvard School of Public Health. Later, Chelsea also worked with Phil Brown, University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences, on a grant-funded research project examining perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that have leaked into groundwater sites across the United States. Although seemingly different from her field of study, the policy advocacy that this project entailed inspired Chelsea. Through this intensive work on Professor Brown’s research team, she established valuable networks with activist groups.
During the summer of 2017, Chelsea will join Professor Thomas Vicino and Professor Christopher Bosso in Japan for the Dialogue of Civilizations study abroad program, “The Twenty-First Century City: Tokyo and Kyoto.” Students on this dialogue will study the politics, culture, and globalization of Japan through a hands-on and interactive experience.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in political science and biology, Chelsea aspires to pursue a doctoral degree in medical sociology to study some of the often overlooked dimensions of healthcare, including, but not limited to, racial disparities. This path reflects Chelsea’s determination to delve into her interests, to take social action against injustice, and to keep an open mind to new ways of looking at the world.
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