Student and Alumni Spotlights

Brandon Olivares, Public Health profile feature

Family Health Struggles Inspires a Passion to Make Positive Change

Brandon Olivares

Public Health, Class of 2024

  • Hometown: North Plainfield, NJ
  • Activities/Organizations: Eta Sigma Gamma, Rutgers Peruvian American Student Association (RUPASA)
  • Personal interests: Collecting Rilakkuma plushes, cat video enthusiast, listening to albums of all different musical genres

A first-generation college student, Brandon Olivares watched his extended family struggle with health issues.

“Their concerns inspired me to become more knowledgeable on how we have been affected by these experiences. This, along with a passion for helping others through volunteering, helped shape my interest in making an effort to steer the community toward better opportunities and outcomes.”

Brandon — who graduated with high honors and a certificate in Health Disparities — says that being at Rutgers has been an amazing experience. He chose Rutgers knowing he would find the resources and experiences to feel supported and successful. “Rutgers has many opportunities just waiting to happen, from the diversity of clubs to the research being done by the faculty. There is still so much more to gain from me being here.”

After graduation, Brandon hopes to enter a career as a community health worker to pursue the passion for making a positive change in the health of others. This sentiment was inspired by taking Global Health Perspectives talk by Professor Mark Robson.

“Learning about infectious diseases and developing knowledge of how social factors affect the health of the population— paired with the personal experiences Dr. Mark Robson talked about in class—reeled me into wanting to learn more about community health.”

Advice to future students:  Take the opportunity to learn more about how we are all shaped by society. Look into the courses the Bloustein School offers and envision the many paths you could take within public health and the many opportunities you will have to help and connect with others through organizations such as Eta Sigma Gamma.