An Immersive Medical Research Experience

Name: Olivia Pura

Year: Junior

Major: Neuroscience, Slavic Languages and Literature

CFS Class: Field Studies in Public Health

Employer: NorthShore Evanston Hospital, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

When I first began my CFS internship search, I was nervous that I would be unable to find an internship that aligned with my future plans of completing a PhD and spending my life in research. To my surprise, the Field Studies in Public Health offered plenty of these opportunities, including working as a research assistant in the OB/GYN department at NorthShore Evanston. While I had previously done work in microbiology at Feinberg, my internship really opened up my eyes to the “day-to-day” of research. I work under Dr. Keenan-Devlin, who is currently studying the relationship between stress trajectories during pregnancy and breastfeeding outcomes, both on a social and biological level. My tasks change often, which has really kept my interest in the internship and makes me look forward to starting each day. From conducting participant phone surveys, to coding data entry programs, to attending research team meetings, I have been exposed to aspects of the research process that I had never seen before, and have gained a much larger appreciation for the collaboration and variety of skills that are needed for this kind of work. The OB/GYN has been extremely welcoming and appreciative of my time, making the CFS experience all that much more pleasant. The opportunity to spend 3-4 days a week surrounded by brilliant teams of doctors, researchers, and public health experts is unbelievably fascinating – in just three short weeks I have learned more about maternal health and research than I would have expected to learn all quarter.