Research Mentors: Pamela Hull, Ph.D. and Staci Sudenga, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Thesis Topic: Longitudinal Studies Assessing the Population-level Impact of Human Papillomavirus Vacination on Reducing Precancerous Cervical Lesions
I completed a dual degree from the University of Georgia (UGA), obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Behavior (B.S.H.P) and Master of Public Health in Epidemiology (MPH) in 2017. During my time as a dual degree student, I interned at Women's Healthcare Associates of Athens where I created patient education materials and worksite wellness flyers, as well as developed the clinic's first patient satisfaction surveys. During this internship, I worked as a research assistant, working on reproductive epidemiology and sexual health projects, as well as interned part-time at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the CDC, I had the opportunity to lead two research projects, one with the Surveillance Team at the Division of Viral Hepatitis and another with the Rare Diseases and Health Outcomes Team at the Division of Human Development and Disabilities. My main research interests include reproductive and sexual health, maternal and child health, and infectious diseases. Here at Vanderbilt, I have the pleasure of working with Dr. Pamela Hull's research team, particularly focusing on clinic-based interventions to increase human papillomavirus vaccination rates among community-based pediatric practices.
I chose Vanderbilt's Epidemiology PhD program mainly because of the program's emphasis on epidemiological methods and data analysis. One of the things I looked for in a PhD program was the chance to develop advanced programming skills (e.g. STATA, R, SAS), and this program does just that. Being placed on a research team from day one allows students to begin their research early, as well as the opportunity for collaboration, such as with biostatisticians, clinicians, community partners, etc. I believe Vanderbilt's rigorous coursework coupled with the ample opportunities for research will challenge me in all the right ways to help me become a successful epidemiologist.
"The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing that we can do is play on the one string that we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes."-Charles Swindoll