Student and Alumni Spotlights

Anjali Patel

Combining Natural Science and Public Health

Anjali Patel

Public Health/Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Class of 2024

  • Hometown:Jefferson Township, NJ
  • Activities/Organizations: Reach Out and Read, The Examiner, Voices of Diversity Student Advisory Board
  • Personal interests: Reading, playing board games, sewing, trying new foods, watching Netflix, listening to music


Anjali Patel loved science and from early on was considering a career in medicine.

“I chose Rutgers because it has so many opportunities to encourage personal growth as well as for students to get involved and become fully engaged in their learning,” she said.

She started her Rutgers career in a natural science-focused major—cell biology and neuroscience. While taking her core curriculum requirements in her first semester, she took a public health class and fell in love. After taking a few more classes, she decided to declare it as a second major.

“I took ‘Drugs, Culture, and Society’ with Professor Alexandra Lopez. She is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable and made the class really engaging. She fosters such a respectful and safe classroom environment that makes students feel comfortable sharing their own personal experiences related to the course material.”

Anjali still plans to attend medical school but hasn’t decided on a specialty area. “I do love working with kids, so that is something I am considering,” she said.

One of her biggest pieces of advice for future public health students is to keep an open mind. “Public health is such a broad field,” she said. “You may come into the major with an idea of what you want to focus on. Take classes that you may not have previously considered, and get involved with student organizations and research opportunities as a way to learn outside of classes while engaging in something you care about.”