Students Making An Impact

June 11, 2013

Great things are happening here at CIRP. With strong mentorship, lots of talent, and hard work, our student trainees are making significant contributions. We currently have 30 undergraduate, graduate, and post-doc students working at our Center, with nine participating as part of our National Science Foundation Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

As fully integrated research team members, student trainees work alongside CIRP scientists helping to advance the science toward creating positive impact on the lives of children, adolescents, and young adults. Here are a couple of highlights:

Emily Matthews started working at CIRP as an undergraduate co-op student at Drexel University in 2009, where she earned a BS in Biomedical Engineering and an MS in Forensic Science. During that time, she worked with her CIRP mentor Matt Maltese, PhD to recreate specific real-world motor vehicle collisions using a rigid body computational modeling program (HVE). Emily recently told me CIRP fueled her passion “to impact vehicle safety for child occupants through injury research.” Inspired, she launched the next phase of her career to attain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University and continues to collaborate on research with Kristy Arbogast, PhD, CIRP Engineering Core director.

Last year Emily was honored with the Adelaide M. Delluva Student Travel Award by the Association of Women in Science, Philadelphia Chapter and in May had the opportunity to travel to Japan and South Korea to present her CIRP-based research at the Japanese Society of Automotive Engineers Annual Congress and the International Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles.

Ariel Pollack, another one of our many undergraduate co-op students from Drexel University, is doing great things in the Behavioral Science Core. She took the initiative and was very successful in relating her own research interests in linguistics with our projects. Along with others on her research team, she enrolled subjects and conducted interviews. Utilizing data from interviews with parents and children who had been hospitalized for an injury, she proposed to study linguistic patterns of parent/child conversations. Preliminary results suggest that linguistic complexity does seem to play a role in a child’s willingness to interact with his or her doctor. 

After analyzing the data, Ariel delivered a poster presentation, “Children’s Willingness to Speak to Doctors: The Factor of Lexical Complexity,” at the 2013 Research Poster Day at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Emily and Ariel are two students making a difference at CIRP. One is a PhD candidate, the other an undergraduate. Both are learning valuable lessons and making valuable contributions. It’s what we hope for all of our students!