Nicole (Nikki) DeVille


Nicole (Nikki) DeVille is a PhD student in the Program in Public Health in the Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention at University of California, Irvine. She received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University in 2012 and her MPH with a specialization in Epidemiology from University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 2014. Her broad research interests are chronic disease epidemiology in Pacific Islander and Indigenous populations, maternal and child health, as well as, issues of social justice. She believes that an understanding of scientific and technical issues and political, economic, environmental, and social factors, as well as, an integrative approach to societal problems are necessary in order to increase public health capacity and improve public policy.

Born in California, she moved to Guam with my parents when she was two years old. Her father, her sister and she moved to Hawai’i because of dismal economic conditions on Guam following two super typhoons, Chataan and Pongsona, which struck in 2002. Another impetus of their move was to attempt to gain admission into Kamehameha Schools. Ke Ali’i Bernice Pauahi Bishop, founder of Kamehameha Schools, sought to provide educational opportunities for Native Hawaiians so they could evolve into good and industrious young men and women. Pauahi wished for Native Hawaiians to enrich not only their lives but also the lives of others through their actions. Pauahi’s challenge is to work hard and to be the best person one can be, striving to reach this goal not only diligently but also benevolently. She takes the challenge to heart every day in every aspect of her life.

At Stanford, she learned from individuals from other cultures and greatly enjoyed the diversity that Stanford offers. As an International Relations major, she highly interested in the intersection of public health and public policy, and engaging with individuals from across the globe has allowed her to develop a more worldly perspective. Her experiences residing in Guam, Hawai’i, California, Italy and Palau have been influential, to say the least. Many people live their entire lives attempting to discover themselves, and some never accomplish the feat of self-discovery. Encountering cultural backgrounds for two of her four ethnicities has propelled her far along my path of self-discovery. One of the most significant things I have learned is: what one experiences in life shapes her persona.

She aspires to continue her education in public health and international relations and to pursue a career in academia as a professor and researcher working towards improving health outcomes in Pacific Islander, other Indigenous populations, and disadvantaged or vulnerable populations. Her father, an educator, once told her that he teaches because he steadfastly believes that he has the potential to impact his students’ futures in the classroom and ultimately create a better world. It is because of her father that I strive not only to improve health outcomes in the Pacific but also to educate, with the intent of positively impacting potential future leaders. She believes her experiences in school, at home and through volunteer work have provided her a solid foundation to be an industrious, compassionate and multifaceted leader in the field of public health.

In her spare time, Nikki also enjoys playing/coaching rugby, listening to live music, reading, and traveling.