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. Below are CIRP Training Testimonials from a few of our Alumni:
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 -- Alexandra Conway
"During my time at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, I had the tremendous opportunity to work under Dr. Mark Zonfrillo on research projects dealing with pediatric traumatic brain injuries and pediatric trauma-related disabilities. I gained valuable exposure to the fundamentals of administrative database injury research, injury severity scoring systems, and scientific literature summary writing. In particular, I contributed to the creation of an extensive data dictionary for a collaborative project with the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania. I also acquired proficiency in database design, specifically with Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap). Prior to beginning my internship I was following a pre-med path, and after such an immersion into the medical and research community, I have never been more excited and confident in my decision to pursue a career in medicine.
I must credit my mentor, Dr. Zonfrillo, for his guidance and continuous support, and for truly inspiring my newfound interest in pediatric injury science research. Following graduation, I plan on applying to medical school to pursue a career in pediatrics and perhaps a joint PhD program. I am so grateful to my mentors and the staff at CIRP, as well as the connections I made with others in the CHOP community. Because of this incredible experience, I am confident the skills, knowledge and mentorship I have gained will be invaluable to me as I pursue a career in pediatric medicine and research."CHOP Mentor: Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE
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 -- Christine Evangelista
"During the summer of 2013, I participated in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention under the mentorship of Dr. Aditya Belwadi. I worked on many engineering projects at the center, but I mainly focused on conducting a literature review about how side air bags affect child passengers in car crashes. I enjoyed the unique, multidisciplinary environment at CIRP, and my experience has inspired me to pursue a career in applied mathematics research. I am currently a junior at Elizabethtown College, where I am double majoring in Mathematics and Physics. My time at CIRP will prove to be invaluable as I continue my education and develop my career."CHOP Mentor: Dr. Aditya Belwadi, 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 -- Dakota Jones
"I had the great pleasure of working at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) as a Research Experiences for Undergraduates award recipient from June to August, 2013. I had the privilege of working under Dr. Kristy Arbogast and Tom Seacrist. During my stay at CIRP I evaluated the biofidelity of pediatric anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs or “test dummies”) during the event of a low-speed car crash. This is crucial due to the lack of current data that verifies ATD biofidelity in low-speed crashes.
The experiences that I gained at CIRP have proven to be invaluable as I move on to the next stage of my career. The technical aspect of the summer has greatly aided me in my research projects as I continue my studies at Syracuse University. The seminars, shadowing surgeries, and lectures have all been crucial in my decision to pursue a PhD in Bioengineering. Never before have I experienced a working environment like CIRP, where everybody was helpful and truly determined to make a difference in children’s lives everywhere. As I apply to graduate school, I thank CIRP for helping me grow as a researcher and as a person."CHOP Mentor: Kristy Arbogast, PhD; Thomas Seacrist, MBE
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 -- Erin Song
"During my internship at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, I worked with my mentor, Dr. Joel Fein, on the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) offering case management services following violence-related injuries. I focused on developing a qualitative analysis of the program notes to study the post-assault needs of violently injured youth and the systemic barriers and facilitators of violence prevention. Studying these themes helped me better understand the scope and variety of problems linked to violence in communities and that a successful violence intervention requires interdisciplinary and sustainable approaches. I was also inspired by the VIP’s 'trauma-informed approach' which targets the trauma underlying youth violence and addresses how this influences individual needs and treatment.
Since my internship, I have been using and developing the insights I gained at CIRP about trauma-informed assessment and treatment as a volunteer for the Bridging Program at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, a program providing psycho-education and therapy for families and children following incidents of sexual abuse. As I engage with families and children entering the program and continue my pre-medical studies at Yale, I have been able to appreciate learning more about healing that not only addresses medical needs, but also goes beyond them by considering context and accounting for emotional and social needs, environmental factors, community resources, and more. I have gained so much from my summer at CIRP, and I would like to thank Dr. Fein, Rachel, Laura, Jenna, and the rest of the VIP team for helping me make the most of my REU experience and for their meaningful work in the Philadelphia community."
CHOP Mentor: Dr. Joel Fein, MD, MPH
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 -- Jeffrey Friedman
"During the summer of 2013, I interned at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates under the mentorship of Dr. Yi-Ching Lee, Dr. Aditya Belwadi, and Dr. Flaura Winston. I performed an extensive literature review on teen risk behavior and assisted in the initial study design for an investigation of the effect of positive reinforcement on teen driving behavior. Throughout the summer, I gained invaluable experience in research design and methods selection.
One of the highlights of my time at CIRP was working with the CHOP IRB to develop the study protocol. I plan to pursue a career in research, and this experience will be important in my future work. In the fall of 2013 I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BSE in Biomedical Engineering and I am continuing my studies to earn a MSE in Biomedical Engineering. In the future, I plan to pursue a medical degree and a career as a physician scientist. The skills and experience that I have gained through CIRP have expanded my understanding of clinical and translational research as well as their effect on public policy and public safety."CHOP Mentor: Dr. Yi-Ching Lee PhD; Dr. Aditya Belwadi, PhD
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 -- Katie Casty
"During my summer as an REU student at CIRP, I worked with Dr. Yi-Ching Lee on a study aimed at understanding the effects of peer passengers on teenage drivers’ responses to stressful traffic events and risk-taking tendencies. I focused on understanding how teenage participant pairs interacted with each other and on analyzing drivers’ eye movements during a driving simulation. As a junior at Muhlenberg College with plans to pursue a graduate degree in statistics or biostatistics, I feel that my summer at CIRP has given me a better understanding of my field and injury science as a whole.
I gained experience in working with human subjects, following IRB protocols, literature review, survey collection, coding, eye tracking, and general data management. I will continue to use these skills as I continue my research throughout college and into my professional career. Dr. Lee and others at CIRP have influenced me to shift my educational and career interests towards mathematics, statistics, public health, and pediatric medicine."CHOP Mentor: Dr. Yi-Ching Lee, 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 - Gabrielle Loeb
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Student (2013)
Since participating in REU in the summer of 2011 under the mentorship of Dr. Flaura Winston, my research at CIRP has enabled me to gain further experience by presenting at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and by training nonprofits to use the same online dissemination techniques that gave us such success with www.aftertheinjury.org. Further pursuing my interest in medicine, I spent a summer volunteering at Einstein Medical Center and focused my Senior Thesis on the History of Organ Donation in France. After graduating from Princeton magna cum laude with a major in French and Italian and a minor in Neuroscience, I am thrilled to officially embark on my career as a medical student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.CHOP Mentor: Dr. Flaura Winston
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Alexa Stern
"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. 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 one, 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 with which I worked on the Teen Driving Study -- Dr. Jessica Mirman, Dr. Allison Curry, Chris Gantz, and the other Research Coordinators 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 that all helped and supported each other on the difficult road to medicine. I was accepted to the majority of schools to which I applied, and I credit CIRP and my experience with various aspects of research there as one of the main factors for my success. I entered Jefferson Medical College in July 2013 and will perhaps pursue 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."CHOP Mentor: Dr. Jessica Mirman
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Ika Kovacikova
“During my internship with Dr. Joel Fein at CIRP during the summer of 2012, I saw firsthand the importance of collaboration and communication to the multidisciplinary field of public health. I learned how to turn research results into discrete action steps that improve public health and/or inform further research. I learned that being organized, asking questions, and persevering are all important characteristics for successful research, and because of this, I am confident that CIRP provided me with a strong foundation for any future research endeavors.
On a more personal level, I saw firsthand how big of a difference a violence intervention program can make in the life of a minor. As a four-year varsity swimmer and captain on the Wellesley College Swim Team, I was inspired to combine my love for swimming with my newfound respect for violence intervention, and on August 19th, 2013, I successfully swam the English Channel in an effort to raise funds and awareness for violence intervention research.
While training for the English Channel this past summer, I also interned with Dr. David Ansell at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL as a 'Health Disparities Research Fellow.' Through social epidemiology, sociology, critical race theory, and biology literature, I explored how the social and physical structures that shape society can impact health. My research efforts contributed to the building of new chapters in a new book aiming to illuminate health disparities in urban centers.
I am very grateful for both of these summer opportunities because they helped me recognize the potential for physicians to catalyze change within their communities. As a pre-medical student, I now hope to not only bridge the gap between patients and their treatment, but also to bridge communities with the medical institutions that exist to serve them.”CHOP Mentor: Joel A. Fein, MD, MPH
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 -- Amanda Parks
"During the summer of 2012, I worked at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention as a Research Experiences for Undergraduates intern under the mentorship of Dr. Stephen Leff. I worked on several community-based participatory research projects over the summer, but my main responsibilities included assisting with literature reviews on a newly funded cyberbullying grant, as well as on preschool-based prevention and intervention programming on socioemotional outcomes. Because of my proximity, I was able to return as a student researcher for the 2012-13 school year, and I gained clinical experience in the field as a co-facilitator of the Preventing Relational Aggression In Schools Everyday (PRAISE) intervention at a West Philadelphia elementary school. In May 2013, I completed my Honors Psychology Program thesis and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. My experience at CIRP was invaluable because it taught me about interdisciplinary research and how to properly network, and it gave me skills and amazing connections, which will make me a strong candidate in the future when pursuing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology."CHOP Mentor: Stephen Leff, 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 -- Danielle Grams
“In the summer of 2012, I was a Research Experiences for Undergraduates intern at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention. Under the direction of Dr. Jessica Mirman, I assisted on a psychology-based study evaluating the proper use of car seats. Throughout the summer I gained experience with a variety of components of the research project including survey design, recruitment, data management, and data collection. I especially enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of CIRP because it illustrated to me how people with differing research backgrounds can come together to solve complex problems. I am currently a senior at the University of South Florida where I will graduate in the spring with a degree in Biology. This experience has further fueled my desire to become an academic physician and combine my interests in research, clinical practice and teaching."CHOP Mentor: Jessica Mirman, PhD; Kristy Arbogast, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Elizabeth Hedges
"During the summer of 2012 I was a Research Experiences for Undergraduates intern at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Zonfrillo. I had the opportunity to work on several projects including compiling an extensive literature review on how age at injury affects functional outcome following a traumatic brain injury, coding of a survey distributed by Safe Kids to better understand child passenger safety misuse, and coding of a survey designed to acquire information on the demographics of users of the Safety Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Through my experiences I gained a better understanding of translational research and of the many possibilities for practicing physicians to engage in research. I graduated in May 2013 from Cornell University with honors in Biological Sciences as well as a degree in Chemistry. I began medical school at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in the fall of 2013. I am grateful for my experiences at CIRP and know that the skills and mentorship I received will help me immensely as I pursue a career in pediatric medicine and research."CHOP Mentor: Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Jessica Harrington
"In my time as an intern at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Aditya Belwadi primarily on the Rollover Project which seeks to determine the sources and risk of injury sustained by children in motor vehicle rollover crashes. My focus with the project was to aid in the development of finite element models using Hypermesh and running computer simulations through LS-DYNA of frontal, offset, and rollover crash scenarios, including some with child occupant models embedded. As a rising senior, I am currently a Mechanical Engineering major at the University of Delaware with a minor in Biomedical Engineering. I recently began an internship at DuPont Company where I will perform experimental testing and finite element modeling of composite materials. Following graduate school for my MS in Mechanical Engineering, I plan to pursue a career in the fields of Mechanical Engineering and Medicine. I am so grateful for my research experience at CIRP, which provided me with valuable career experience and honed my desire to initiate a positive change in medical science."CHOP Mentor: Aditya Belwadi, PhD; Kristy Arbogast, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Julianne Lewis
"During the summer of 2012, I worked at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) as a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) intern under the mentorship of Dr. Allison Curry. I was involved in the epidemiologic evaluation of a teen driver Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law. One of my specific tasks was to conduct an in-depth literature review, which gave me valuable skills that I still use today. A large portion of my time during the internship involved grouping the different citations from a database in Microsoft Excel, and once I completed that task, I started to categorized the groups in the statistical software SAS. I am currently a senior at Cheyney University, and my anticipated date of graduation is May 2014. My internship experience at CIRP helped me build a passion for research, and I have completed a study on “College Students’ desire for money and professional success and students’ subjective well-being.” I submitted a proposal to the American Psychological Association (APA) and my proposal was accepted to present at the Annual National Convention. Since my internship I have received two awards: Professional Development Award and Women’s Soroptimist Award. My future plans include attending a PhD program in Psychology or Educational Psychology and my career goal is to be a University Professor."CHOP Mentor: Allison Curry, 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 -- Nishi Mehta
"During my time at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, I was involved in studies targeting secondary prevention of posttraumatic stress and the promotion of optimal recovery in children and families experiencing acute medical trauma or chronic illness. This instilled in me a passion for translational research, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have received the mentorship and support of Dr. Marsac and Dr. Kassam-Adams. I will be spending the next year as a Visiting Student in the department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, before returning to complete my undergraduate degree at Tufts University. In the future, I hope to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and to try to continue to positively impact the lives of children as my colleagues this past summer at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do every day."CHOP Mentor: Meghan Marsac, PhD; Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Oluwabukola Famakinwa
"During the summer of 2012, I worked on the Teen Driving Plan Project with Dr. Jessica Mirman for 10 weeks. As one of the eight REU interns, I was able to have my first hands-on clinical research experience where I learned a great deal about translational research. My specific tasks were coding information into a qualitative data program and helping with recruiting the 500 participants needed for the study. I am currently a senior at the University of Maryland College Park, where I am completing my last set of courses for my major in Neurobiology and Physiology, as well as Human Development. I am actively involved in many organizations, and I was recently recommended by a former professor to apply for a research position in the Laboratory for Scientific Thinking, Reasoning, and Education due to my outstanding research experience at CIRP. After graduation, I plan on applying to medical school to pursue a career as a Family Practitioner and perhaps a joint PhD program. I am extremely grateful for the time I was able to spend at CIRP, for the knowledge and research skills I was able to gain throughout my experience and for the great mentors and staff with which I had the privilege of working. Interning at CIRP has changed my overall perspective about research and I am grateful to everyone who contributed to my wonderful experience."CHOP Mentor: Jessica Mirman, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Alec McGinley
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Student (2011)
Student Researcher (September 2011-May 2012)
Full-time CIRP employee (May 2012-June 2013)
"My work at CIRP began as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and continued throughout my senior year at the University of Pennsylvania. Working with Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, Dr. Kristy Arbogast and their team, my primary focus was the project ‘Minds Matter: Improving Pediatric Concussion Management.’ The mentorship I received at CIRP really opened my eyes to the opportunities to combine research with clinical practice, something that I plan to pursue. My work also afforded me the privileges of presenting at conferences and submitting a co-authored paper that is currently under review. After graduation, I returned to CIRP to serve as the research coordinator on the ‘Minds Matter’ project. I am set to begin medical school at Thomas Jefferson University where I am confident that the research skill set I have acquired will be an asset."CHOP Mentor: Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE; Kristy Arbogast, 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 -- Gabriela Romero
"During my summer internship at CIRP, I helped evaluate the effectiveness of a violence prevention program for adolescents in West and Southwest Philadelphia and gained a great appreciation for community-based participatory research. I was inspired by my coworkers' passion for working with and helping the community, as well as my personal interactions with the youth in the program. This has led me to want to work in the future on community-based participatory research, particularly with underserved populations. The skills and experiences I acquired during my time at CIRP will be invaluable in both the completion of my undergraduate degree and my future pursuit of a doctoral degree in psychology."CHOP Mentor: Stephen Leff, PhD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Kellyann Martin
"As a part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at CIRP, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Yi-Ching Lee on her research examining how stress reactions of novice drivers can increase their likelihood of driving error. Working on these influential projects has provided me with an appreciation for injury science research and an interest in continuing my career with a focus in health psychology. I am now pursuing my master's degree in Clinical Psychology and am confident the skills and knowledge I have gained from my experience at CIRP will be beneficial as I continue my career."CHOP Mentor: Yi-Ching Lee, 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 -- Melanie Ward
"I have gained valuable exposure to translational research from my time as part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at CIRP. It has inspired me to continue to pursue professional and academic work in public health and injury prevention. As I complete my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, I plan to pursue further research assistantships in health services and/or behavioral interventions research before applying to graduate school for public health. I am also helping to encourage other undergraduates to pursue research and advanced degrees as a Peer Research Instructor for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program at the University of Michigan."CHOP Mentor: Mark Zonfrillo, MD, MSCE
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 -- Jenny Smolen
Summer Student Volunteer (2010)
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Student (2011)
"While working at CIRP during the summer of 2010, and as an REU student during the summer of 2011, I worked with Dr. Joel Fein on the ‘Safe Neighborhood Tips’ project. I assisted in several steps of the project, from helping edit the tips to assessing potential dissemination methods and eventually running and analyzing the project's Facebook page. My experience has deepened my understanding and interest in community-based research and how new media can aid and foster that partnership. The freedom and support I was given within my project gave me confidence to pursue a career in research, and the next summer I applied for a Fulbright Scholarship. In February of 2014 I will begin working on community-based research projects in Feira de Santana, Brazil and taking classes with a Master's in Community Health program there."CHOP Mentor: Joel Fein, MD
CIRP Training Testimonial -- Lauren Corregano
Summer work-study (June 2010-August 2010)
Research assistant (August 2010-Sepetmeber 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 ResearcAassistant position, to my final role as a ResearchCcoordinator 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 and through our findings were able to impact design and 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 my new skills to my new position at Rockefeller University.”CHOP Mentor: Jessica Mirman, PhD
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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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 non-profit free clinic for uninsured and underserved populations on the Northside of Chicago. I will 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