Kehlet and her cousin, Will, after a successful day of catching pet lizards.

A native Northern Californian through and through, Danika Kehlet spent her childhood making face paint and staining her bare feet with the red Tahoe clay, laughing while running through her grandparent’s rows of grapevines, reading animal books between branches of an oak tree, and catching tadpoles with her cousin in the creek nearby. While she has since grown out of her overalls and Tevas, the imaginative girl with skin browned by dirt more than sun still finds ways to bring back the tree-climbing days. In fact, she chose to attend UC Berkeley because she could see herself studying beneath the trees around campus.

Kehlet is currently in her third year at Berkeley, studying Public Health with an emphasis in Infectious Disease. Her interest in disease prevention led her across the Bay Bridge to UCSF, where she works with a psychiatric research study to prevent and treat Hepatitis C in opiate addicts. This research is closely related to San Francisco General Hospital’s Methadone Clinic, where Kehlet spends much of her time interviewing patients about their addiction and state of mental and physical health. Through the study, patients also receive case management and harm reduction education.

Hiking the Berkeley Hills, no Tevas necessary.

This exposure to urban poverty and its negative effect on health led Kehlet to her minor, Global Poverty and Practice. She has traveled to Honduras twice with Global Medical Brigades at Berkeley, and her incredible experiences sparked a passion– she now hopes to pursue a career in international medicine with an emphasis in maternal health and disease prevention.

Though her basset hound eyes may lead people to believe the opposite, Kehlet is full of laughter and a love for life’s adventures. This summer, she will pack her journal and camera and travel to Quito, Ecuador, where she will volunteer in a Reproductive Health clinic through an organization called Child Family Health International.

While all of her work in Latin America has dramatically increased her love for Spanish, dancing, and Reggaeton, she’s still working on learning to like spicy foods. Goal for the future: save the world with a jalapeño in hand.

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