I think the goal of any research is to ask and answer questions. When I first came to the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), I knew I wanted to study strokes because of my family’s medical history. Therefore, I cold-emailed professors and physicians at UPMC and Pitt, who study strokes. For anyone wanting to get started with research, I believe it is always important to ask yourself what you are passionate about and want to learn more about. From there, find mentors with research you find interesting to answer those questions you have. Something I learned after working in multiple labs is that if I am not interested in the research, I lose drive and motivation – important characteristics in the competitive research world.
As a person of color and aspiring physician, I was driven to look at the BIPOC experience in the medical field. After taking HPS 0612: Mind and Medicine, I noticed many discrepancies in medicine that dealt with implicit racial biases. The uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement brought to my attention the true discrimination BIPOC patients face. At the same time, I was taking an introductory course with Professor Matheson, my mentor, who focuses on psychological theories on how people think. Thus, my research focuses on why people allow racial bias in the medical field to exist and persist, so working with Professor Matheson allows me to use the psychological concepts to explain and understand the complex concepts associated with my research.
My future goals include becoming a physician and being involved in public health. As I get closer to graduation, I realize that I want to further my experience in these fields to ask and answer more questions I am interested in. For instance, I want to shadow more physicians from different fields or do an internship at a public health organization. I hope to use the experience and knowledge I attain from the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship to find my niche within the intersection of public health and medicine.