Hear what our students have to say about their research experiences!

Samrah Abbasi:  I was able to work with Dr. Shervin Assari in studying the impact of education on Alzheimer's disease in Black Americans through by participation in the SOAR Program. Throughout my experience, I gained important insight on how research is conducted, and the various steps involved. With the Virtual Symposium, I was able to display the effort made throughout the year, and discuss the findings of our research in front of distinguished faculty and guests, with the opportunity to answer questions based on their interest and expertise. I am thankful for the SOAR team for this opportunity and will utilize all that I have gained through this experience throughout my scholastic and professional career. 

Brandon Arriaga: Having the opportunity to conduct research with medical professors allowed me to gain insight on clinical research. SOAR provided this opportunity by pairing me with a group of students from different programs with the same interest in research topics. SOAR provided me with an opportunity to network and gain further knowledge in breast cancer research. In addition, I had the opportunity to travel to conferences to present the research that was conducted. My most memorable experience from SOAR was when my clinical research team won the Urban Health Institute 1st Annual Research Day Award.  

Shyann Cox: My undergraduate research experience has been extremely beneficial for my future preparation into the health field. I applied to UHI’S Student Opportunity to Advanced Research of Fall 2019. Working closely with well experienced mentors has guided me in being able to understand and appreciate the work that goes into research. Being part of secondary research, I had the chance to develop a scientific manuscript with my group. And our abstract was accepted at Xavier University’s 13th Health Disparities Conference in New Orleans.  

Kimberly Dorrah: As an MPH student, I participated in the Student Opportunities for Advanced Research (SOAR) program where my teammates and I pursued a cancer research project in Dr. Wu’s laboratory titled, “The role of PPM1D in cancer and advances in studies of its inhibitors.” Our results showed that CMD-21 inhibits PPM1D activity and thereby slowed the proliferation of MCF-7 cells. As a result, we were able to publish this data in a peer-reviewed journal called “Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy.” Not only did we publish but the program offered us an opportunity to travel and present at two different conferences. Further, SOAR ensured that my teammates and I attended workshops to improve our writing abilities. This was very helpful especially for the development of our manuscript.

Larenza Elbert: One of my most meaningful experiences so far at CDU has been being a part of Student Opportunities of Advanced Research (SOAR). My mentor and supervisors were very instrumental in teaching me the value of teamwork. Along the way, I learned new professional skills which I plan to take with me as I continue to pursue my degree and career in healthcare. My mentor, Dr. Young was very hands on with making sure that my teammates and I connected our class studies with our research. Although it was a new challenge, I enjoyed every moment of this learning experience. I highly recommend any student aspiring toward a career in healthcare to pursue being part of Student Opportunities of Advanced Research. Thank you Dr. Young, Dr. Kermah, Dr. Prasad, and Ms. Teklehaimanot for making this such a memorable experience for me.  

Kaitlyn Forde: As a participant of Student Opportunities to Advance Research, I was able to gain research knowledge on statistical data about mental health in the youth civic engagement and their perceptions of safety in their neighborhood. I had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Chavez, my groups mentor.  I had an amazing experience in the beginning of my research. Towards the middle of the research it was hectic, adjusting to my classwork along with participating in the research. I learned overall that research is important. It is where we discover the health problems and possible solutions to help improve or end the problem. Finally, I was able to appreciate the teamwork experience.  

Kandace Fung: Through the SOAR program, I was able to work in a team with two other students to analyze the efficacies of cervical cancer screening modalities, as well as identify social determinants of health affecting cervical cancer prevention and treatment in rural Haiti. Under the guidance of our mentor Dr. Young, our team had the opportunity to submit an abstract that was accepted for the Health Disparities Conference at Xavier University and write a manuscript for publication. In the future, I hope to continue integrating both scientific and socials lenses in research and practice as a physician. 

Claudia Noemi Gil: During the Fall semester of 2019, I applied for and was accepted into UHI'S Student Opportunities to Advance Research program. Having access to work closely with my mentor and attend the UHI workshops over the last few months has been a very enriching experience. Not only did I learn about the processes of conducting various types of research, but I was also able to get first-hand experience at writing a scientific paper. As a person without any previous scientific research experience, I was apprehensive at first, but the program provided ample resources for my team and I to ensure our success.  

Kristin Hildreth: I am blessed to be a SOAR participant. I have learned so much about research that that I did not have the opportunity to learn during my undergraduate years. I appreciate how the SOAR faculty supported us step-by-step through the process of a research project from beginning to end.  I now know how to successfully conduct a literature review, create a research poster, and submit a manuscript. My mentor, Dr. Paul Robinson, has especially been helpful in guiding my group and I through this process.  I will always be grateful for this opportunity.

Tenisha Janisse: I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the 2019-2020 SOAR program and it has made a positive impact on my time at CDU. I have learned the value of communication, hard-work and working with others. I have also been able to forge deeper connections with the administrative staff. These mentors have dedicated much time to helping us grow and learn how to conduct proper research. All in all, this program is a great way to get involved in school and the community.

Karlon Johnson Jr.: The SOAR experience has helped me gain essential research experience to understand real-world health problems and how to address them. My mentor, Dr. Roberto Vargas, and his team have been extremely helpful with me exploring my research interest of cardiovascular disease disparities. I traveled to two conferences, the Xavier Health Disparities Conference in New Orleans and the APHA Annual Meeting and Expo in Philadelphia, to present my team’s research. As a result, I’ve experienced networking opportunities that help me articulate my research and pursue my goal of becoming a research epidemiologist

Vishali Kapoor: Participating in SOAR has given me the opportunity to partake in several workshops which have instilled me with the confidence necessary to delve into novel research projects. Through my experiences in SOAR, I hope to play a pivotal role in the field of cancer research, through determining the most efficacious screening modality for cervical cancer. 

Brittney Luu: I am extremely grateful to have participated in the SOAR program. I never thought I would be involved with research, but through SOAR I was able to find a research topic I am passionate about, have Dr. Chavez as a wonderful mentor, and be presenting author on a manuscript! Additionally, my team and I have been able to submit our research to various conferences and I look forward to being able to present on our topic of adolescent mental health. It is a wonderful opportunity to make connections in your field of interest and learn more about addressing health inequities through community-engaged research.  Dr. Kermah is a very supportive program director too!” 

Jazalene Marshall: During my experience working with Dr. Robinson and SOAR, I’ve found that I’m drawn towards analyzing and most enjoyed researching the reasons behind the disparities. My experience in SOAR has been a good experience. I have been able to grow more in research because of the tasks that were set for me which has helped me to prosper and really advance. The best experience that I had in SOAR was working on our PowerPoint for research day. I liked working on that project the most because we got to put all the information we learned all together. During the program I learned that I am able to push myself past my breaking point when I really thought about the bigger outcome of it. I plan to use the knowledge I gained in this research program in navigating fixture endeavors by using some of the same techniques I did with this one and focusing on how much good can come out of finding the information that others have not found or don’t usually focus on.  

Jason Martinez: My experience with the Urban Health Institute (UHI) has been amazing. Dr. Kermah and the team of UHI have constantly supported, encouraged, and pushed me to be the best version of myself. The program provides a unique environment filled with numerous and substantial opportunities to develop and succeed. The program has included a multitude of amazing, awesome, and incredibly talented individuals from mentors to peers. It has allowed me the opportunity to pursue my research endeavors with guidance and support and has encouraged me to take part in research conferences, writing of grants, articles, and abstracts, as well as numerous networking opportunities. This program allows any individual to thrive at the amazing institute of Charles R. Drew University and is a stand-out example of inclusivity. Alongside the diversity of the program, the environment for success, and the incredible team of UHI, anyone considering getting their feet wet in the field of research should not hesitate to apply to this program. This program will help oneself to gain unique experiences and skills for their future and success. 

Breann McAndrew: Participating in the SOAR program has been invaluable in gaining skills as a researcher and preparing me for further graduate education. My mentors provided training and support throughout the research project and took a genuine interest in my research and professional development. The health equity focus of the research conducted through the SOAR program offered me the opportunity to not only gain research experience, but also to assist in research that addresses health disparities and makes a lasting impact on the community. I am so grateful for my SOAR mentors and the SOAR program, and I cannot recommend participation highly enough! 

Angela Reese:  Being a research assistant with the Urban Health Institute (UHI) is a wonderful experience. With the guidance of my mentor Dr. Angela Venegas-Murillo, I’ve been able to explore my interest in child mental health and learn more about working with community partners. Additionally, UHI offers training courses in SPSS, poster design, and manuscript construction. I really value my experience here because the leadership of the program, along with my mentor, have been immensely supportive in helping me achieve my academic and professional goals.

Joshua Soler: As a student with some previous independent research experience, what appealed to me most about the SOAR program was the eclectic mix of research topics, opportunity to network, and team-based research experience. Not only was I on a team with other students in my program, but I was also grouped inter-professionally. We were placed with students from the other health programs which allowed us to collectively investigate a common health topic but with an interdisciplinary approach. This approach made my research experience all the more thought-provoking and interesting. I decided to pursue the HIV research track with a team that met weekly. This research experience challenged me to work more effectively on a team when it came down to presenting and discussing our research contribution and implementation. SOAR prepared me to be able to understand the meticulous work that goes into everyday research and funded the opportunity to present my team's research at a health disparities conference. 

Ashton Tanner: SOAR was a fantastic program that allowed me to gain the knowledge and fundamentals of research-based projects. While simultaneously contributing to the underserved community by establishing data that can pinpoint the deficiencies within our healthcare system. I'm grateful for the opportunity I was given to be a part of such a great program.

Kristina White: During the Fall semester of 2019, I applied for and was accepted into UHI'S Student Opportunities to Advance Research program. Having access to work closely with my mentor and attend the UHI workshops over the last few months has been a very enriching experience. We learned about the processes of conducting various types of research and were able to get experience at writing a scientific paper. I didn't have any research experience before the SOAR program, which made me terrified about the experience but with all the resources and experienced personnel, I had ample help and was able to get through each and every requirement.