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Meet Julia Banas (CAS ’19)—On Switching Majors, Realizing Her Passions, and Helping Others

Boston University senior Julia Banas is someone that we can all be inspired by. The president of the Undergraduate Public Health Association started at BU unaware that she would develop a passion for the subject. A political science major, she faced a bit of a crisis her freshman year. To get her science distributional requirement out of the way, Julia took a class called Cinema Physics, a class where students had to analyze uses of science in movies (for example, they had to calculate if it was possible for the temperature to drop as fast as ghosts in The Sixth Sense caused it to). Even though it was a challenging class, she made some of her best friends and made some great memories. This class was one of the factors that made her realize she wanted more science in her schedule. At this point, Julia considered switching to a major in Sargent College. However, she ultimately realized that she wasn’t interested in spending countless hours in the lab. It was then that she discovered BU’s Public Health minor: a program that balanced her passions for health and social science. 

Photo credit: Julia Banas

Pictured left to right: Aboli Goghari, Zara Ahmed, Priya Kaushik, Julia Banas

When she’s not in class or helping to lead meetings of UPHA, Julia is involved with Relay For Life and research on the Medical Campus. Having enjoyed doing Relay in her hometown in Pennsylvania, she decided to continue it once she moved to Boston. This year, the event will be held on April 13th at the Track and Tennis Center. You can read more about Relay For Life here and sign up here! In addition to this, Julia also is a Research Assistant on a project at the BU Medical Campus. Currently, she is helping with a large study that collects health data from African-American women. Her project’s specific focus is determining if there is a relationship between breast density rates and breast cancer rates for this group. She got this job by taking advantage of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Her passion for helping others is a trait that makes her a great role model. 

Photo credit: Julia Banas

Outside of balancing coursework and extracurriculars, Julia loves reading and watching Queer Eye on Netflix. As for the future, she is going on to earn her Masters in Public Health. Having always planned on going to some form of graduate school, Julia knew that she would need an MPH in order to get the type of jobs she’s interested in and wanted to continue studying the subject she loves. While she’s still exploring what exact career she wants, she is considering becoming an epidemiologist. Whatever she decides, I’m sure she’ll succeed. 

In terms of advice for Her Campus readers, Julia’s main point was that a school as large as BU has many resources open to undergraduates, and we should try and take advantage of as many as we can. Even though they might not be well-known or advertised, seeking out resources that could help you is always worth it. In addition, she stressed the importance of exploring your interests. Like Julia, take a class that interests you that you normally wouldn’t think of taking. It might change your perspective and possibly your entire trajectory. 

We can all learn from Julia how to help others, be a great leader, and make the most of our college experience. 


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Katie is a freshman at BU majoring in Sociology. She is passionate about intersectionality, public health, and sitcoms, so please talk to her about those things. Katie is from Long Island, which means she drinks iced coffee all year round, uses frequent curse words, and hates Boston bagels.
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