Research In Action

Research In Action

Aminata Kante, former CIRP REU student
Creating a Career in Caring for Others

Understanding how to cure injury and illness is critical to me but prevention is also vital. Creating services to keep communities healthy, not just individuals, makes the most sense to me. That’s why I am choosing to pursue my master’s in Public Health, with a long-term career goal to become a Physician's Assistant.

Before the pandemic, I volunteered as a Bedside Buddy at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). I directed patients and families to their desired destinations, and I enjoyed interacting with them at the bedside, in the playroom, or the waiting room area. In this role, I also assisted in unit programming, preparing materials for special events, and maintaining a safe, clean environment.

One of my most memorable moments as a volunteer occurred when a nurse asked me to spend time with a preteen girl who was fighting neuroblastoma. As we waited for her family to arrive, she told me all about her life -- school, friends, and the close relationship with her siblings.

Hearing her story was very sad but also inspiring because she had such a positive attitude. Volunteering at CHOP made me realize that I wanted to have an impactful career, one like the physicians, nurses, and other medical staff with whom I worked pursued. Like them, I want to help people by identifying problems, finding treatments, and sharing prevention methods.

Injury Science REU Program

Shortly after volunteering at CHOP, I applied to the Center for Injury Research and Prevention’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, and I was accepted. Due to COVID-19, I didn’t attend the program in person; but through the virtual program. I instantly fell in love with the culture and diversity at CHOP. I had the opportunity to meet and learn from so many talented individuals who spoke to my REU class about their careers. Everyone was so welcoming and passionate about their career choice. I knew I would love to be a part of an organization that made me feel at home.

At the beginning of my senior year when I was starting to job-hunt, I kept my desire to work in a friendly environment in mind. I also knew that I needed to gain clinical exposure. I looked for entry-level positions that would allow me to work closely with healthcare providers. During my search, I applied to a Cares Team Assistant position at CHOP and received an offer. Within this role, I will assist physicians and nursing staff as they work at the highest scope of their practice, ultimately improving the quality of care provided. This position is a perfect fit for me, and I am excited to see what this new chapter in my life holds.