CIRP Alumni Stories
Students that work at CIRP, whether for three months or three years, remain connected to the Center and its staff. Our students have gone on to pursue a variety of educational and professional opportunities, all with the backing of their CIRP mentors. Here are some stories from CIRP Student Alumni:
CIRP Training Testimonial - Amani Abdallah, MPH
Clinical Research Assistant (Spring 2016)
"During my time as a Research Assistant at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP, I had the opportunity of joining the TeenDrivingPlan (TDP) program team. I was mentored by Jessica Mirman, Suzanne Hill, and Christine Norris, all of whom are exceptionally talented in what they do. Throughout my internship, I supported the program development and evaluation of TDP. I assisted with development and production of the TDP marketing video, also known as the eLearning curriculum video for parents to use. I developed many versions of logic models for various TDP implementation, supported the update of the teendriversource.org website and helped coordinate contracts and agreements. I participated in stakeholder development with the state of Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. While working on TDP program evaluation, I assisted with the program's data repository, developed procedures for TDP implementers, and translated existing survey measures into user-friendly formats using RedCap.
My experience at CIRP assisted me with the skills and tools necessary for program development. In this position, I learned the value of relationship building and the iterative process of logic models. Working closely with Suzanne and Christine will always be invaluable to me because they genuinely cared about my development and learning and shared their wisdom with me.
Since my time at CIRP, I have developed my own program, the Penn MPH Community Service Fellows program, which includes relationship building and dedicating public health service to the community. Throughout this process I learned the importance of interdisciplinary partnerships and the importance of being flexible! I hope to continue being a leader in public health and hope to work with CIRP in the future. Very grateful for the time I spent there and for the lasting mentorship!"CHOP Mentor: CHOP Mentor: Jessica Mirman, PhD; Suzanne Hill; Christine Norris
CIRP Training Testimonial - Emily Sykes
Injury Research Intern/Research Assistant (2015-2016)
"I joined CIRP in April 2015 as a Drexel University co-op student and continued to work as a Research Assistant while finishing my bachelor's degree in Psychology. I became a Clinical Research Coordinator in July 2016. Working at CIRP I coordinate and support several research projects, including: a Teen Outreach Evaluation for Driving Safety grant that focuses on the development of tools and resources for evaluating teen driving programs; a CHOP Chair's Initiative award to develop a hospital-wide governance process to integrate health technologies into pediatric clinical care; a Merck & Co. study to evaluate the technology components of the Merck Engage website and its impact on medication adherence and clinical outcomes; and a University of Pennsylvania grant to understand perceptions of evidence in mobile health applications among consumers, healthcare providers, and app developers by utilizing a national online survey. I began my research career as a Lab Assistant at Drexel University's Electroencephalography Research Laboratory where I gained experience conducting EEG testing and analyzing data. I aspire to continue my education with a focus on the intersection of public health and neuroscience research."CHOP Mentor: Katie Halkyard, MPH
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Alicia Abraczinskas
Injury Research Intern (Spring 2015)
While studying Biomedical Engineering at Drexel University in Spring of 2015, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Aditya Belwadi at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP). Under his mentorship I developed a quantitative visual analysis to assess the effectiveness of supplemental restraint systems (SRS) in mitigating injury in lateral crashes using data from anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) and finite element models (FEMs). Such research allows us to comprehend the source of common injuries sustained by children involved in side impacts accompanied by deploying airbags allowing for improved standards of safety. Guidance from refined standards passed on to the community may provide parents with better information regarding their child’s safety so that more informed decisions can be made regarding SRS purchases. I also initiated a complete literature review for future projects of injury prevention during my time at CIRP.
After working with Dr. Belwadi and the wonderful staff of CIRP, I was inspired to continue my career with a focus on injury prevention research. This led me to my current position with the Injury Biomechanics Division (IBD) at the United States Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL) through the contracting company Laulima Government Solutions. The IBD excels at research dedicated to injury prevention and protection of soldiers, as well as blunt and accelerative impact research. My current involvement in the many projects of IBD focuses on analyzing unique accelerative impact data that would be used to both validate computational models and further develop insight into head and neck impact response and injury thresholds. With the encouragement of Dr. Belwadi and the CIRP staff, I gained extensive knowledge regarding impact analysis and an enthusiasm for injury prevention research that has led me on an extraordinary career path.
CHOP Mentor: Aditya Belwadi, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Christian Parker
Injury Research Intern (October 2014-September 2015)
"As a Drexel student, I alternate seasonally between classes and co-op internships. My first co-op, now over a year ago, took place on the eleventh floor of an externally unremarkable high-rise in the Science Center section of Market Street, at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention. Between October of 2014 and September of 2015, I worked under Dr. Helen Loeb on the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA) and related projects. I was just coming out of freshman year, with no prior experience working in an office, or for that matter, driving. I was a suburban kid in the big city; I was greener than the Wissahickon Valley in April. The SDA team put me to work making targeted modifications to simulator scenarios and refining the data processing algorithms. My communication skills saw almost immediate improvement, and, with time, I began to realize the extent to which my technical and intellectual capabilities were being nurtured. I found the context of my work came to inform its execution: my job was not to carry out one task at a time, but to optimize a portion of a larger system. The skills I learned at CIRP allowed me to thrive at my second co-op with the Streets Department. I have also found, since finishing my co-op, that the CIRP line on my CV is of interest to a variety of potential employers in my field, Civil Engineering. They appreciate the nuance and distinctive richness of my CIRP experience. The questions CIRP answers are complicated and conceived according to the needs of safety and prosperity, making the work meaningful and unique. Every task is different; every project is fresh; every day is a new and rewarding challenge."
CHOP Mentor: Helen Loeb, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Cristal Lopez
Injury Research Intern (Summer 2015)
"During the summer of 2015, I worked with the Post-injury Care and Recovery team at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) under the mentorship of Dr. Meghan Marsac, Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams, and Kristen Kohser. My time at CIRP allowed me to gain research skills while assisting with projects, such as a web-based intervention for children post injury.
With the research skills I gained and the wonderful mentorship Dr. Marsac provided, I was able to test my own hypothesis and create an abstract examining the interrelationships between socioeconomic status, parental encouragement of social support, and post traumatic stress symptoms in children post injury. I presented this work in the Spring of 2016 at the Society of Behavioral Medicine's Annual Meeting. The skills and mentorship I gained while at CHOP has been invaluable, as it has motivated me to want to continue a career in research. I am currently a senior at California State University San Marcos, and I will be graduating with a B.A. in Psychology this Spring. I will be continuing my research and will be applying to graduate schools in the fall. Thank you so much, CIRP!"CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD; Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD; Kristen Kohser, LMSW
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Genna Clayman
Injury Research Intern (Summer 2015)
"In the summer of 2015, I joined the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) as a research intern under the mentorship of Dr. Jessica Mirman and Megan Fisher-Thiel. I spent the majority of my time working on a research study that aimed to determine the long-term effectiveness of TeenDrivingPlan, a web-based program that was developed by scientists at CHOP to improve the quality of teen practice driving. During my time at CIRP, I built a repertoire of research skills and established connections within the field of adolescent medicine research.
After my internship experience, I joined The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a Clinical Research Assistant on the P4 Project (Patients, Parents, and Professionals Partnering to Improve Adolescent Health), a randomized controlled trial aimed at enhancing parent-teen communication on various teen health topics. In this role, I conduct recruitment calls, complete enrollment procedures, and perform health coaching sessions with our participants. In the summer of 2016, I will be returning to Temple University to pursue my graduate degree in Occupational Therapy. Without question, CIRP provided me with a foundation of research experience that I not only draw on each day in my current position, but will continue to build on in my future career."CHOP Mentor: Jessica H. Mirman, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Theresa Soya
Digital Communications Intern (Summer 2015)
"In the summer of 2015, I had the incredible opportunity to work at CIRP as part of the Outreach team for 10 weeks. Under the guidance of Lindsey Mitros, Christine Norris, and Suzanne Hill, I served as a Digital Communications intern and learned about how to advance the impact of health and medical science via web-based outreach and intervention. I gained practical knowledge and skills by learning the ins and outs of platforms like Google Analytics and Google Adwords, but more importantly, I discovered my passion for the field of health and medicine. I learned, thanks to the amazing people, culture, and opportunities at CIRP@CHOP, that this is exactly the type of work I want to be doing for the rest of my life.
I will graduate from The College of New Jersey in May with a BA in Communication Studies, and in the fall, I will begin pursuing a Masters in Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania. Before I came to CIRP, I was unsure of the career path I was most interested in. Now, I credit entirely my time at CIRP and the wonderful mentorship of Lindsey, Christine, and Suzanne as the reason I am so excitedly chasing a new dream in the field of public health. Thank you to all of the truly great people at CIRP for such an invaluable experience!"CHOP Mentor: Suzanne Hill
CIRP Training Testimonial - Danielle Kovalsky
CRISSP Intern (June 2014-August 2014)
"During my time as a CRISSP (CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program) intern in the summer of 2014, I was able to spend ten weeks working with Dr. Meghan Marsac. My work was heavily involved in recruitment for the K-23 Parent-Child interaction study, which allowed me to have direct contact with patients and their families at CHOP. This opportunity helped me to improve upon my patient interaction skills and was an invaluable part of my internship experience. With my time as a CRISSP Intern, I was also involved with the development of the Injury Cellie Kit. This included assisting in the creation of a guidebook for parents of children who suffer from traumatic injury. My experience at CIRP gave me a deep understanding of how much work goes into the research process, but also showed me how rewarding such work can be. Working at CHOP this summer has reinforced my love for pediatrics as I plan to work with children no matter what career path I choose. In addition, the mentorship I received during my time at CIRP was above and beyond anything I could have expected. Dr. Marsac and other CIRP faculty made it a priority to help guide and meet with me as much as possible. The advice I was given during this short period of time has helped me immensely.
I am currently a senior at Penn State University and will graduate in the spring with a degree in Bio-behavioral Health. I plan on continuing my research work at CHOP following graduation and eventually going on to medical school. I know that the research experience, bedside manner skills, and mentorship I have acquired at CHOP will surely be an asset in my future career."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial - Gretchen Baker
Summer CIRP Student Intern (June-August 2014)
“I had the amazing opportunity to work for the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) from June through August 2014. At CIRP, I worked under the guidance of Tom Seacrist, Dr. Kristy Arbogast, and Dr. Helen Loeb. During the summer, I worked on a variety of projects relating to biomechanics and automotive safety, including an evaluation of the biofidelity of a new anthropomorphic test device (ATD or “test dummy”) in a low-speed car crash test. In addition, I worked in data processing for a naturalistic driving study, as well collaborated with Dr. Saba Pasha in the Department of Orthopedics on an automated x-ray validation process.
My experiences at CIRP have helped me to develop invaluable research and engineering skills. I am taking these skills back to the University of Kansas where I am pursuing Biomechanics Engineering research. I hope to continue graduate level research after completing my undergraduate degree. My time at CIRP has prepared me to confidently pursue these endeavors while giving me irreplaceable insight and experience in the biomechanics field. Thank you to Tom Seacrist, Dr. Kristy Arbogast, Dr. Helen Loeb, and the rest of the CIRP team for sharing your insight, knowledge, and passion for making a difference in children’s lives.”
CHOP Mentor: Helen Loeb, PhD; Kristy Arbogast, PhD; Thomas Seacrist, MBE
CIRP Training Testimonial - Henry Miller
Injury Summer Intern Student (2014)
"During the summer of 2014, between my first and second year at Temple Medical School, I had the privilege of working with Dr. Kate McDonald at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) in the area of teen driver safety. I had the opportunity to learn how to operate a driving simulator and recruit students to take practice drives to assess some of the simulator's new metrics and reprogramming. In addition, I analyzed video data from teenagers who had driven the simulator to assess whether or not there was a correlation between driving errors and online driving training.
As a medical student, I am taught how to treat people who are already sick or injured. At CIRP, I learned from wonderful mentors, including Dr. Flaura Winston and Dr. McDonald, about the impact of preventive medicine, particularly in the lives of children. I am hoping to apply CIRP’s interdisciplinary and team approach to other medical challenges I encounter in my career."CHOP Mentor: Catherine McDonald, PhD, RN
CIRP Training Testimonial - Miki Takada
Summer Injury Research Intern (2014)
"During the summer of 2014 at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention , I was given the opportunity to work under Dr. Meghan Marsac for the Child Parent Interaction Study and Cellie Coping Kit. I transcribed the interviews, helped create Cellie Sickle Cell Anemia and Injury Coping Cards and the Caregiver Booklet, helped facilitate the Cellie Caregiver’s Café, and created the Facebook page for the Cellie Coping Kit. It was a great experience to see how the process of research works in the real world. My experience at CIRP, along with Dr. Marsac’s mentorship, helped to make clear an idea of what path to pursue in the future. I am currently in the undergraduate program at Barnard College as a Psychology major where I would like to keep working with children. Eventually, I hope to enroll in the PsychD program and within it, earn a Clinical Psychologist license so that I may help children in the world."
CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Carolyn Moy
CIRP Co-Op (2013 - 2014)
"During the spring and summer terms of 2013, I was offered the opportunity to work at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention through Drexel University's Cooperative Education Program and was able to continue my involvement through most of my junior year. I assisted Dr. Meghan Marsac and Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams with studies of parent-child interactions, coping after pediatric injury, and other acute medical trauma. My primary responsibilities included data management and quality assurance using Excel and SPSS, enrolling eligible patients in the studies, and medical abstractions from the electronic medical system. From this experience I have developed invaluable skills that can be applied in any professional work environment. As someone who has decided to pursue a Nursing degree in the near future through Drexel's Accelerated Nursing Program, my interactions with patients and other healthcare professionals will be translatable to my future career, especially since I am interested in working with children.
I am so incredibly grateful to Dr. Marsac, Kristen Kohser, Dr. Kassam-Adams, and the other members of CIRP that I was fortunate to interact with on a daily basis. As a mentor, Dr. Marsac made my professional and personal development a priority, which gave me the confidence to pursue a career that fits my values and personal preferences. I hope to continue my pursuit of a career in healthcare and continue to develop everything I have learned during my time at CIRP!"CHOP Mentor: Dr. Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Cory Czuczman
CIRP Co-Op (2013)
"I began working at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) for my spring/summer co-op at Drexel University and continued my work at CIRP in my senior year. Since joining the team, I’ve been able to assist in recruitment and enrollment of participants, as well as data collection and entry, for two studies examining and encouraging positive coping strategies of children and their families after acute medical events. While at CIRP, I’ve felt extremely welcomed from the entire team; I’ve swapped everything from cookie recipes and tea, to academic wisdom and guidance.
Under the fantastic guidance of Dr. Meghan Marsac, Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams, and Kristen Kohser, I’ve been able to submit my own research abstract on Socioeconomic Status and Coping Strategies to CHOP’s Research Poster Day, Drexel’s College of Arts and Science Research Day, and the 2014 American Psychological Association's annual convention. In the future, I want to take my research experiences at CIRP, combine it with my passion for social justice, and apply it to minority individuals and groups living in poverty, with the goal of influencing and promoting better-informed public policy. I owe much of my research and academic guidance to my time with my mentors, colleagues, and friends at CIRP, and I am very grateful for all the knowledge I continue to gain and put to use while looking towards a PhD program in Community Psychology!"CHOP Mentor: Dr. Meghan Marsac, PhD; Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD; Kristen Kohser, LMSW
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Dandi Zhu
Research Assistant (September 2012 - May 2013)
"During my time at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Aditya Belwadi and Tom Seacrist to analyze and test the biofidelity of current crash test dummy designs. At the time, I was a sophomore studying Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania with minors in Mathematics and Engineering Entrepreneurship. My time at CIRP was a tremendous learning experience for three primary reasons: the availability of my mentors, my hands-on involvement, and the culture at CIRP.
Both of my mentors were easily accessible and always willing to provide guidance and career advice. I also gained invaluable skills applying my Matlab knowledge to analyze impactful data and learning how to use video tracking software in conjunction with Microsoft Excel. It was rewarding to transform raw data into visuals, trends, and ultimately, recommendations for future dummy designs. The inclusive culture at CIRP provided a supportive atmosphere to grow, both personally and professionally. I recently submatriculated into the Masters of Bioengineering program at the University of Pennsylvania. Thank you, Dr. Aditya Belwadi, Tom Seacrist, and the rest of the CIRP team for such a rewarding experience!"CHOP Mentor: Dr. Aditya Belwadi, PhD; Thomas Seacrist, MBE
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Jason Tenenbaum
Clinical Research Coordinator (2010 -- 2012)
"I worked at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention as a Clinical Research Coordinator from June 2010-August 2012, coordinating the development and evaluation of the center's simulated driving assessment (SDA). After starting my doctoral studies in clinical psychology, I continued to work on the project as a research assistant and helped support data management, coding, and analysis. Under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Flaura Winston and Dr. Catherine McDonald, I learned a great deal of insight into the methodology of conducting empirically-based behavioral research. Dr. Winston and the rest of the team stressed the importance of approaching behavioral science in a systematic manner and the experience was more than I could have ever asked for.
I am grateful for the supervision and mentorship I have received while working at the center. I am currently a second-year doctoral student in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) at Widener University and plan to specialize in pediatric and adolescent clinical neuropsychology. The skills I have learned through CIRP will be instrumental to my career as a clinician and researcher."
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Julia Lockyer
CIRP Co-Op (2012)
"I began my two years at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) as a Drexel Co-op student under the mentorship of Dr. Allison Curry, PhD in April 2012. My time was split between two studies, Graduated Driver Licensing Decal Law: Effect on Young Probationary Drivers, and Teen Driving Plan, an evaluation of an online intervention for learner teen drivers. Upon completion of my internship, I was invited to stay on as a Research Assistant, working on a new study examining the neurocognitive and visual effects of concussions on athletes at CIRP.
Currently, I am in the process of earning my Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling and Health Psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine while also completing a Psychology practicum in the Sleep Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I am especially grateful for the outstanding mentorship I received and the endless opportunities to challenge myself while at CIRP. In the future I hope to pursue a doctorate in Psychology and work with children and adolescents who have eating disorders."CHOP Mentor: Dr. Allison Curry, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Olivia Klingbeil
CIRP Co-Op (2012 - 2013)
"I completed two 6-month co-ops with the Behavioral Sciences Division of CIRP working with Dr. Meghan Marsac. During my time with CIRP, I gained a great working knowledge of qualitative research methodologies, as well as learned how to present findings in both posters and publications. After completing my two co-ops, I have remained at CIRP, and I plan to continue until, and possibly past, my graduation from Drexel University in the spring of 2014. Eventually, I plan to pursue a PhD program in Clinical Psychology with a focus on Pediatric Psychology."CHOP Mentor: Dr. Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Tyler Chance
CIRP Co-Op (2013-2014)
"I joined the CIRP@CHOP organization on my third and final co-op at Drexel University. Although I was undoubtedly attracted to the world-renowned work the CHOP team was doing, it was the “Digital Communications” job title that reeled me in. Most of my time spent working with the Outreach team involved gathering analytics and organizing that data into easy to understand reports so the team could make informed decisions regarding our website and marketing strategies.
During my co-op I was able to bring together my passion for marketing research and analytics with some of my creative tendencies. I had the opportunity to write pieces that are featured on the CHOP affiliated sites, as well as maintain social networking pages. I also learned about the process of updating pages as an administrator on many of the CIRP sites, something I had no experience with prior to this co-op.
If there’s one thing that I’m ultimately grateful for about this position and my time here at CIRP@CHOP, it’s the knowledge that I’m headed on the right path in my professional life. I’m now confident that marketing analysis and research is what I’m going to pursue in my post-college career."CHOP Mentor: Suzanne D. Hill, BA; Lindsey Mitros, BA; Christine Norris, BA
CIRP Training Testimonial – Christina Stuart
Injury Summer Intern Student (2014)
"During the summer of 2014 I had the great pleasure of interning at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Zonfrillo. My research, focused on pediatric traumatic brain injury and its related sequela, exposed me to the fundamentals of injury research, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Emergency Medicine. I gained invaluable experience conducting literature reviews, performing database queries, and shadowing in both the Emergency Department and Sports Medicine Clinic. In particular, I was fortunate to assist in the early creation stages of the Comprehensive Concussion Registry with Genomic Analysis, a collaboration between several clinical divisions and research centers found within the CHOP network. Working on this project allowed me to put all these newly learned skills to work.
As a Biology major with a minor in Mathematics at Villanova University, my time at CIRP allowed me to diversify my training into areas beyond the conventional academic spectrum of my courses. I am grateful for the opportunity, the guidance, and the friends I made during my time at the Center and have never been more confident or excited to pursue a career in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and research."CHOP Mentor: Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE
CIRP Training Testimonial - Lindsay Zajac
Clinical Research Assistant (Summer 2013)
"In 2013, I participated in CHOP’s Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP). Under the mentorship of Drs. Meghan Marsac and Nancy Kassam-Adams, I contributed to two studies exploring strategies for the secondary prevention of posttraumatic stress and examining adjustment in children and families after acute medical events and injuries. I also designed an independent research project on threat appraisals and coping strategies after pediatric injury. Presenting my findings to the CHOP research community at a poster session was a significant experience because it confirmed my deep commitment to research, particularly with regard to how I could translate scientific findings into knowledge that would directly benefit families and inform clinical practice.
Witnessing families cope with potentially traumatic events taught me the importance of developing preventive interventions, as I learned how parents sometimes contribute to children’s psychosocial and emotional burdens.This experience amplified my interest in understanding parent-child interactions and how children respond to other types of adversity, such as maltreatment or disruptions in care. I am currently a graduate student in the Clinical Science doctoral program at the University of Delaware. My research focuses on how adversity, attachment, and parenting in infancy impact children’s peer relations in middle childhood. As a graduate student in the Infant Caregiver Project Laboratory, I am involved with several projects evaluating the effects of the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) intervention, which was designed to help neglecting parents learn to provide nurturance, respond in sensitive ways, and reduce frightening behaviors."
CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD; Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial - Todd Hullfish
Injury Research Intern/Research Assistant (2013-2016)
"Between the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2016, I worked primarily with Dr. Aditya Belwadi as part of my Drexel co-op experience, working first as a full-time Research Assistant and then continuing on part-time while still in classes. As a Mechanical Engineering student with interests and some experience in Biomechanics, I had been looking for a way to bridge the gap between the Mechanical Engineering curriculum and a more human-centric line of work. In the beginning of my time with CIRP I focused primarily on learning the techniques of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and developing computational models of both Rollover and Side Impact vehicle crashes. In both crash modes we were looking to understand how pediatric Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs) interacted with the vehicle interiors through impact, as well as the effectiveness of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) and air bags in mitigating injury. The Side Air bag work was presented at the 10th and 12th Injury Biomechanics Symposium at The Ohio State University.
While a majority of my time was spent developing computational models, I also assisted in physical sled testing of ATDs and in analyzing electromyography (EMG) data collected during human subject testing. In addition to physical and computational testing, many of the projects I worked on involved the analysis of real world crash information collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A portion of this line of work led to the development of contact maps for pediatric occupants involved in rollover crashes which were published in Traffic Injury Prevention in 2014.
I was given the opportunity to develop and propose a project for funding to the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) as a Student Principal Investigator during my second full-time co-op rotation at CIRP. I was fortunateto win funding for the project, which looked into the ways young adult drivers recruit their muscles and position their bodies during braking events on a driving simulator. This project was one of the first studies conducted that looked to combine the worlds of Biomechanics and Simulated Driving and will hopefully lead to further studies at CIRP.
My experience at CIRP working with Dr. Belwadi has helped push me to set my sights on higher degrees andto ultimately pursue a career in Injury Biomechanics research. Being able to work on such a diverse array of projects and having the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of a fully-funded, multi-year project has been invaluable and has aided me in continuing my next steps on my career path. After completing my undergraduate degree in June of 2016, I was hired as a Research Specialist in the Human Motion Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. There I am applying my knowledge of Biomechanics to human subjects and cadaveric specimens, aiming to increase clinicians’ ability to identify and treat musculoskeletal injury, as well as gain insight into the physical mechanisms that lead to injury. While I was sad to leave the wonderful people at CIRP who have helped me so much these past three years, I know that all of the lessons I’ve learned through working there have prepared me for what lies ahead."CHOP Mentor: Aditya Belwadi, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Melissa Dubois
Summer Intern -- 2013
“I worked at CIRP under Dr. Catherine McDonald for the summer after my freshman year in 2013 as part of Drexel University's Students Tackling Advanced Research Scholars (STARS) program. My experience at CIRP was a great introduction to the field of research and has since helped me land three other co-op opportunities: at Exponent, DSM Biomedical (formerly Kensey Nash), and Globus Medical. My CIRP experience was also a great stepping stone to help me gain admission into the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel, which has opened doors to many other opportunities. I am excited to be graduating with my BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering next June, and I hope to continue my education sometime in the future while working in the medical device industry."CHOP Mentor: Catherine McDonald, PhD, RN
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Alexa Stern
Research Assistant (January-May 2013)
"While interning at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention during my senior year at the University of Pennsylvania, I assisted with studies examining how children and their families cope with acute medical trauma and interventions to promote psychosocial adjustment in children who have experienced acute medical events. I also aided in the distribution of the Cellie Cancer Coping Kit to CHOP patients. My time spent with the team was invaluable because it was through my work with them that I realized my passion for pediatric psychology. I owe my mentor, Dr. Meghan Marsac, many thanks for her guidance and encouragement. Now that I have graduated, I will be putting both my bachelor's degree in Psychology and the skills I learned at CIRP to good use as a research assistant for the Behavioral Diabetes Research Program at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. I hope to pursue my PhD in Clinical Psychology and continue working in pediatrics. Thank you, Meghan Marsac, Kristen Kohser, and the rest of the CIRP team for such a positive experience!"CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Annie Ferris
Research Assistant (2012-2013)
"I worked at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) as a Research Assistant for a year and a half while I was applying to medical school. From day 1, everyone at the center was helpful and encouraging to me as a new employee and a future medical student. Dr. Dennis Durbin, Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, and Dr. Flaura Winston were particularly instrumental in mentoring me on my path to becoming a doctor. The other members of the Teen Driving Study I worked on- Dr. Jessica Mirman, Dr. Allison Curry, Chris Gantz, and the other RCs and students- were a dynamic and energetic team such as I have never encountered in any other job. Additionally, there were many other like-minded individuals in the Center who all helped and supported each other on the difficult road to medicine. I was accepted to the majority of schools I applied to, and I credit CIRP and my experience with various aspects of research there as one of the main factors for my success. I will be going to Jefferson Medical College in July 2013, and perhaps doing a dual MD/MPH program. The passions and interests of the doctors and researchers at CIRP helped reveal new aspects of community service that have inspired me to make a difference in Philadelphia."
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Alyssa Jones
"As a member of the 2012 CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP), I spent the summer working with Dr. Meghan Marsac on various projects designed to help children adjust to pediatric injury and illness. I specifically helped assess feasibility and usability of 'Cellie: The Sickle Cell Coping Kit.' As a senior at Harding University, I am now interning at the James L. Dennis Development Center of the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock assisting a psychologist who specializes in hyperactivity, inattention, impulsivity, and learning problems in children. Dr. Marsac and other CIRP researchers have helped guide my career path and inspired me to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. My time at CIRP provided me with invaluable clinical and analytical skills important for a future as a clinician and researcher."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Daniel Martinez
Drexel University STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholar
"Beginning at the end of my freshman year at Drexel University, I spent a nine-month tenure with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) under the mentorship of Dr. Aditya Belwadi, working mainly on a 3D Child Restraint Systems (CRS) project related to pediatric biomechanics. The period of time I spent at CIRP helped me to develop skills with the software Hypermesh and other 3D modeling software to recreate images of child restraint systems on a computer to overlap and analyze the data as related to the geometry of car seats. Throughout my sophomore year at Drexel, I created a plan of study to prepare for my 5-year BS/MS program in Biomedical Engineering, which I will officially began during the summer of 2013. Additionally, I have begun learning Chinese in preparation for studying abroad in Hong Kong in fall 2014. I look forward to doing research in the field of Biomechanics under my Master's program, and I am grateful and certain that the experience I obtained at CIRP under Dr. Belwadi will greatly benefit me in my future academic and career ventures."CHOP Mentor: Aditya Belwadi, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Kristina Puzino
CIRP Clinical Research Assistant
April 2012 – July 2013
"During my time at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Flaura Winston, Dr. Jessica H Mirman, and Dr. Yi-Ching Lee on studies relating to child passenger safety, teen driving, and driving simulators. I was able to gain invaluable experience in study recruitment, data collection, qualitative data analysis, poster presentations, and manuscript preparation. Being exposed to various areas of pediatric translational research has fueled my desire to continue working in pediatric health psychology, both as a researcher and a clinician. Since working at CIRP, I have graduated from the Masters of Science program in Experimental Psychology at Saint Joseph’s University. In the fall of 2013 I will begin the School Psychology PhD program at Lehigh University, with an emphasis on pediatric health, where I am confident that the research skills I have acquired at CIRP will demonstrate to be essential to my success within my program and my career."CHOP Mentor: Jessica Mirman, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Anne Bakker
PhD Student (2011)
"As a PhD student at the Association of Dutch Burn Centres/Utrecht University in the Netherlands, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams, Dr. Meghan Marsac and their team on behavioral research projects in the fall of 2011. I helped pilot test an innovative web-based intervention for children who have recently experienced a medical trauma and helped compose a manuscript on child and parent depression and traumatic stress reactions following treatment in the emergency department. Back in Amsterdam, I am currently finalizing my PhD research project on the psychological consequences of pediatric burns. My time at CIRP was inspiring, energizing, and made me a more well-rounded researcher in the field of pediatric medical traumatic stress."CHOP Mentor: Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD, Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Dan Nessenson
Research Assistant (2011-2012)
"My stint at CIRP as a Research Assistant under Dr. Meghan Marsac afforded me the opportunity to work on a wide variety of tasks and research projects. Through implementation and study of the ‘Coping Coach’ coping tool, piloting a behavioral study, and helping to shape the ‘Sickle Cellie’ coping kit, I got experience in all aspects of research, from conception to completion of a research idea. And I did that all as a part-time assistant during the 2011-2012 academic year! Though I ultimately decided that a career in injury science was not for me, the skills and experiences I gained from CIRP are applicable to almost any career. In fact, I recently interned for HGTV/DIY networks conducting media research, and my CIRP experience definitely was applicable. Currently, I am finishing up my BSE in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and expect to graduate in May 2013."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Kelsey Lewis
Research Assistant (2011-2012)
"My internship with CIRP was spent as a research assistant working under the guidance of Thomas Seacrist on Pediatric Biomechanics research. Our area of study focused on head and spinal kinematics of pediatric volunteers. My primary responsibility was to analyze data gathered by low-speed sled tests using motion analysis software. I am now finishing my Mechanical Engineering degree as a senior at Rowan University. My current research project, 'Origami Engineering,' is centered around developing a curing method to create one contiguous rubber sheet containing multiple magnetic poles. Working with CIRP has improved my networking and communication skills, expanded my field of knowledge, and inspired me to research new and upcoming areas of study that will benefit the world."CHOP Mentor: Thomas Seacrist, MBE
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Marley Gilb
CIRP Co-Op (2011)
"I recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Digital Media Design program. During the summer of 2011, I had the wonderful opportunity to work on a 2D computer game aimed at helping children learn how to express their emotions after a traumatic event and how to help and understand others going through stressful experiences. My co-worker Eliot Kaplan and I worked to integrate the knowledge and existing research our mentors had accumulated into a simple yet visually appealing game that could be expanded as new ideas develop. This experience opened my eyes to the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children. I hope that more interactive media is designed to help children and others cope with stressful situations so that they may be happy and healthy."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD, Kristen Kohser, LSW
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Daniel Huber
CIRP Co-op (2010)
"During my time at CIRP I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Meghan Marsac, Kristen Kohser, and Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams. I was exposed to many different projects that gave me invaluable insight into what I wish to do with my career. I was able to work on projects that gave me experience in data collection and research design, as well as one-on-one interaction with sick children. These experiences led me to continue my education and further my knowledge of pediatrics, science, and healthcare. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and am now working on a dual master's degree in Biomedical Science and Public Health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey with the hope of pursuing a career in pediatric medicine."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Lauren Corregano
Summer work-study (June 2010-August 2010)
Research assistant (August 2010-September 2011)
Research coordinator (September 2011-June 2013)
“I first started working at CIRP as a work-study student during the summer of 2010 on the NCOSS project. From there, I moved on to a Research Assistant position and then to my final role as a Research Coordinator for a year and a half. I was given the opportunity to work on multiple projects in the teen driving and child passenger safety areas. Most notably, I was part of a team that turned research into action by evaluating new technology for car seats. Through our findings we were able to impact design, with the seat brought to market in the spring of 2013. I was also given the privilege to have co-authored a manuscript and present posters at national conferences. My experience at CIRP has been beyond valuable and has helped shape me into the professional I am today. Above all, the mentorship I received at CIRP was unlike any I have received before. I will forever be grateful for my experience and will be taking many of these skills to my new position at Rockefeller University.”CHOP Mentor: Jessica Mirman, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Alexander Reibstein
CIRP Co-op (2009)
"Upon leaving CIRP in 2009 I went on to complete my Civil and Environmental Engineering degree at the University of Maryland. Recently, I've begun working for the City of Philadelphia Streets Department as a Traffic Engineer. I have been appointed to the city's Traffic Operations Center, which is currently under construction. The valuable lessons I learned while at CHOP in engineering practice and professionalism continually benefit me as I begin to shape my career."CHOP Mentor: Shresta Marigowda, MS; Flaura Winston, MD, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Alyssa Mathew
CIRP Trainee Research Assistant (2009-2010)
"I was part of CIRP for a year, working with Dr. Meghan Marsac, Kristen Kohser, and Dr. Nancy Kassam-Adams on projects that sought to understand responses that both children and parents had to acute injury. I also contributed to the development of a website for children coping with the stress of their injury in a gaming form. I am currently a student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and will soon move out of the classroom and begin rotating through hospitals. The year I spent at CIRP gave me the confidence I needed to continue pursuing medicine. The pediatric trauma knowledge I gained at CIRP has been critical to my contributions to group discussion in my classes and will prove to be integral to my success on hospital rotations."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Amanda Chapman
CIRP Co-op (2009-2010)
"Since leaving the Center in 2010, I graduated with a BS/MS dual degree in Biomedical Engineering. I'm now working in Data Management at DSG Inc., a clinical trial software company in Malvern, PA. My experience with human subject data, data analysis and MATLAB programming at CIRP have been invaluable to me since I've started my career."CHOP Mentor: Sri Balasubramanian, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Besa Orana
CIRP Co-Op (2009-2010)
"During my one year experience with the Outreach and Advocacy team at CIRP, I helped to develop the award-winning teen driver website teendriversource.org. The projects and people from CIRP not only helped me improve as a young professional, but also contributed to my experiences at my next two co-ops as a Business Development Coordinator at a successful digital advertising agency and as a Marketing Specialist at ARAMARK Education. I am grateful for the broad range of experience I have been able to attain through my co-op opportunities, and I began working at ARAMARK Education after graduating from Drexel University in December 2012.”CHOP Mentor: Christine Norris, BA
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Brendan Quinn
Government Affairs Fellow (2009-2010)
"I worked as the Government Affairs Fellow from July 2009 to May 2010 under Suzanne Hill, Ayana Bradshaw and Dr. Joel Fein. While at CIRP, I worked on efforts to arrange a coalition of small safety groups and major automotive companies to push teen driver restrictions at the national and state level. I also helped the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center liaise to communiy agencies with similar missions. After graduating with a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, I commissioned as an officer in the US Army. I recently completed a year-long deployment and am back seeking civilian employment working in government affairs or a similar field. The experience at and support of CIRP has been absolutely essential for my career search and I loved every day I spent working with the team."CHOP Mentor: Suzanne Hill, BA; Ayana Bradshaw, MPH; Joel Fein, MD, MPH
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Lindsey Swigart
Penn Work Study Program (2009-2012)
"During my undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania, I was part of the Penn work study program at CIRP under Rachel Myers and Chrissie Forke. We worked on several studies surrounding relationship violence in adolescents and young adults, most recently on a study that would help college faculty and staff understand how students view and use campus resources available to them for dealing with violent relationships. My work at CIRP fueled my desire to complete my senior nursing thesis on the role that student health nurses play in caring for college students dealing with relationship violence, and how they can promote awareness and education for healthy relationships. I graduated from Penn in May 2012 and now work at NYU Langone Medical Center in an oncology unit. I am looking forward to using my experience at CIRP as a foundation for providing evidence-based care throughout my nursing career, and hope to continue working in violence prevention in the future."CHOP Mentor: Rachel Myers, MS, Chrissie Forke, RN, MSN, CRNP
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Martekuor Dodoo
Penn Work Study Program Research Assistant (2009-2012)
"I joined CIRP during my undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania as a Research Assistant for the Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center. During my three years, I worked on a variety of tasks, including literature searches, staffing surveys, manuscript preparation, and IRB submissions. Since leaving CIRP, I earned a master's degree in Biomedical Science and am currently (exactly) half-way through medical school.
My time at CIRP provided me with a great deal of knowledge and experiences that have shaped my career plans. This position taught me about the administration behind the clinical research that I would come to love. I was also able to see the work that goes into running a large research center, from grant writing to the collaboration of a large and diverse staff. I’ve already used some of this knowledge on research projects and in running my school’s student-run free clinic. However, the most important effect of my experiences is that I added clinical research and public health to my future career plans as a doctor. I look back on my time at CIRP fondly and am grateful for the amazing mentorship I was lucky to receive."
CHOP Mentor: Rachel Myers, PhD; Joel Fein, MD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Mary Lauren Magargee
CIRP Research Assistant (2009)
"I spent several months working at CIRP under the mentorship of Dr. Meghan Marsac, evaluating the effectiveness of a website to help parents better understand their child's reaction to an injury from a potentially traumatic event. Since then I have graduated with a degree in Sociology from Boston College and am currently working as a research coordinator in the surgery department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA. My experience at CIRP taught me patience, understanding, and the importance of communication between a research subject and the research team. What I learned at CIRP has been an invaluable part of my life and I continue to use many of the skills I gained during my time there."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Katherine Donlon
CIRP Co-op (2008-2010)
"I spent almost two years at CIRP working under the mentorship of Dr. Meghan Marsac helping to compose and submit two publications on childhood injury, one of which has currently been accepted for publication. Currently, I am in my second year of the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Virginia Tech, helping to conduct research in the area of trauma. I was drawn to this lab because of my pediatric injury work at CIRP. The experience I gained at CIRP and from Dr. Marsac was invaluable in informing my decision to pursue graduate school and in developing my future career objectives, in addition to providing me with a platform to begin conducting professional research. I look forward to completing my graduate work and returning to the pediatric setting.”CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Ewa Kalicka
CIRP Co-op (2007-2009)
"I recently graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine with an MS in Counseling and Clinical Psychology. I am currently working at an inpatient drug and alcohol facility as a counselor. If it was not for my internship at CIRP, I would not have the appreciation for research that I do today. The CIRP staff I had the pleasure to work with helped me better understand the importance of research as a vehicle to inform policy and practice."CHOP Mentor: Ken Ginsburg, MD, MSEd
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Danielle Erkoboni-Wilbur
CIRP Research Coordinator (2005-2009)
"I worked as a Research Coordinator at CIRP for over four years on both Partners for Child Passenger Safety and the Young Driver Research Initiative. For many years I also worked closely with Dr. Flaura Winston on a NHTSA-sponsored project designing an intervention promoting booster seat use in underserved communities. This work later brought me into urban neighborhoods in Beijing, China to pilot the program across cultural boundaries.This work taught me the skills I now use every day to work in communities and serve as an advocate for children's health and safety. I left CIRP in 2009 to begin my degree at Chicago Medical School (CMS). In my time at CMS, I have continued to distinguish myself as a community leader, running a nonprofit free clinic for uninsured and underserved populations on the Northside of Chicago. I am currently applying to pediatric residency programs, and I look forward to continuing my career as a strong advocate for children's health."CHOP Mentor: Flaura Winston, MD, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Aiko de Vries
CIRP Co-op (1998)
“During my research year as a Dutch medical exchange student at the University of Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to work at CIRP to study pediatric and parental psychological effects after traffic injury. Through the excellent guidance of seasoned research professionals, I was able to build a study that eventually led to a new and flourishing research line at CIRP. The atmosphere I experienced was innovative and ambitious, yet open and safe for researchers at the start of their careers. At CIRP, I built the foundation that helped me obtain a PhD in renal transplantation and pursue a career in academic medicine.”CHOP Mentor: Flaura Winston, MD, PhD