Franklin & Marshall
Class of 2022
Class of 2022
Problem-inspired and people-driven public health enthusiast who is committed to mobilizing underprivileged communities and advancing health equity. Certified peer health educator and a peer advising mentor who is highly skilled in supporting students and executing programming that promotes wellness. Proficiencies include collaborative leadership, project management and community engagement.
Hermela Assefa is an aspiring public health professional who is problem-inspired, people-driven, and equity-minded. She is finishing up her last year of undergraduate studies as a first-generation college student at Franklin and Marshall College (F&M) where she is studying public health on the sociology track. Hermela was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to the Washington D.C metropolitan area at a young age. Her participation in SIP includes winning gold at the 2013 FCCLA national competition and successfully completing a SIP internship that allowed her to facilitate personal development seminars for both cohorts focusing on their Clifton Strengths and their college search process. She currently serves as a first-year advising mentor and a peer health educator on campus and has previously served as the co-president of F&M’s African Caribbean Association.
During the summer of 2021 Hermela became a CDC CUPS Scholar with the University of Michigan Future Public Health Leaders Program (FPHLP) and program intern with Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) where she developed an online resource hub focused on creating a comprehensive directory of employee lactation spaces within the health system. Hermela is determined to serve underprivileged communities to alleviate systemic inequities, racial injustices, and tackle the social determinants of health.
Hermela’s dedication to service has led her to become a recipient of the Alice Distler Award which recognizes F&M students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in volunteer service in the community. Outside of school, she volunteers as a team leader with Habesha Health, a virtual health platform dedicated to increasing awareness and addressing Ethiopian and Eritrean health disparities in the diaspora. In 2021 Hermela became a trained birth doula and looks forward to exploring her passions for maternal & child health after graduation.
Ms. Assefa’s future goals are aimed at working with underserved populations to eradicate racial health disparities and increase access to quality health resources while empowering and equipping communities to thrive. She strongly believes that access to quality healthcare should not be a privilege and she strives to develop culturally sensitive and robust solutions that advance health equity in all the work that she does.
“After the pandemic canceled my scheduled internship last summer, I did not let this limit my quest for knowledge and my ability to gain hands-on experience. Mx.DeHart played a significant role during this time as she helped me strategize a possible solution. This process resulted in me becoming the first-ever STEM Impressionists intern.
The most rewarding thing about this internship was using my critical thinking and analytical skills to plan and facilitate three virtual seminars. The first two seminars were leadership development seminars exploring Clifton Strengths, an online talent assessment that allows you to understand how to maximize individual strengths. During these seminars, my goal as a facilitator was to guide discussions and create a reflective space for individuals to analyze how they can build a stronger strengths-based team. In the third seminar, I shared my experiences and challenges as a Black woman and first-generation college student who attends a predominately White institution. Other scholars within my network were also able to provide unique perspectives on their college experiences, providing SIP members with a multi-faceted understanding of the journey to college and beyond.
Mx.DeHart helped me create personalized and thought-provoking exercises during each seminar, which allowed members to actively apply the knowledge they were learning. As a mentor, she provided me with valuable advice and resources throughout all planning, revising, and successful execution of all three seminars. I am immensely grateful for this internship because it has allowed me to advance my leadership skills and has provided me with the platform to empower Black and Brown students to strive for higher levels of excellence.”