Research In Action
Research In Action
As a senior in college majoring in Public Health, many difficult decisions loomed ahead of me. Where should I move? Should I go straight to graduate school or take a year off? Where will I work? The list seemed to be endless.
One decision that was a no-brainer was to accept a full-time, semester-long internship at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP. I quickly got involved in helping to plan the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) Industry Advisory Board meeting, analysis and manuscript writing for a qualitative study and planning for a follow-up quantitative study on perceptions of active safety technology under the mentorship of Eve Weiss, MS.
While I always knew I wanted to go to graduate school, my experience at CIRP led me to pursue an MS in Epidemiology in Philadelphia at Drexel University. Best of all, I was given the opportunity to continue my work at CIRP during my two years in graduate school, transitioning to a graduate research assistant role with Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD. She taught me the importance of data archiving, and I also assisted in standardizing de-identified data collected from child trauma studies to ultimately merge many studies into a large database and create a resource for researchers.
I also got the opportunity to complete my master’s thesis under the mentorship of Aimee Palumbo, PhD and Thomas Seacrist, MBE. They helped me develop an independent research question that explored the association between self-reported driver risk behaviors and crash risk using naturalistic driving data.
My time at CIRP offered me invaluable job experience and many transferable skills. I learned about how to communicate with stakeholders, data analysis, programming languages such as SAS and SPSS, data archiving, and much more. I also got to author my first, first-author paper. Having such diverse learning experiences was so important to guiding me towards my current path.
For the past year, I have been working as a clinical research coordinator at CHOP’s PolicyLab and Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness (CPCE), where I evaluate the influence of multi-level factors on health behaviors and chronic disease outcomes as well as aim to improve pediatric care and health outcomes as part of primary care-based projects. I am so grateful to CIRP and my mentors there for guiding me to a career in research and in helping to shape my early professional career.