Students illustrate what they gained from working in our lab

“Working on this project with the team has been my favorite part of 2020. Amidst the chaos, I acquired a well of knowledge about the pandemic and the people who were the most vulnerable. Our weekly zoom meeting at 3 o’clock on Tuesday was always the highlight of my day. Words can’t express the lifelong knowledge I’ve gained and the gratitude I have for the incredible people I had the pleasure of calling teammates.”

William Bice, class of 2021

“My undergraduate research experience as part of GaIL this summer has been extremely beneficial for my future preparation as a physician in the fields of global health and research. I was grateful to be able to not only transfer some of the concepts that I had learned in my Immigrants & Refugee Health class to research along with my classmates, but also to work with professors who were dedicated to ensuring that we learned new research skills along the process. During this process, I learned how to design phone protocols and conducting phone surveys, the IRB process, using Qualtrics, and statistical analysis. This experience was different from my previous work in research in that I was able to actually do "field work" instead of only analyzing samples data retroactively, which was especially unique given the challenges posed to surveying people due to the pandemic. It was immensely fulfilling to do research regarding this vulnerable group at a difficult time, and I look forward potentially using our report to improve the conditions of immigrants and refugees living in the United States and disaster preparedness in the future.”

Julia Ayumi Schmidt Meguro, class of 2021

“Looking back at my freshman year, I made a decision that set the stage for my UM experience. I was sitting in my dorm room scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw a post advertising a class on immigrant and refugee health. I had extra room in my schedule, so I decided to sign up and loved it. I was one of only 9 students in the class, so I was able to get to know my professor very well. My younger sister goes to a large state school, and I know that she hasn’t had opportunities like this. So, I ended up talking with my professor about her research in medical geography after class one day, she invited me to work with her on one of her projects. Over the next year and a half, I worked with her as a student research assistant on a variety of projects covering topics ranging from the spread of Zika virus in the Caribbean to adolescent alcohol-related trauma incidents. The highlight of my research experience came the summer after my sophomore year when I was able to travel with my professor to Zambia for a month to work on a project investigating alcohol use among pregnant women. Since then, with her as a mentor, I’ve attended conferences around the country, coauthored journal articles, and even written a book chapter.  And none of this would have been possible had I not signed up for that class my freshman year and had the opportunity to get to know my professor. My involvement in this research also helped me to figure out what I wanted to study. I decided that I wanted to be a geography major and go to medical school. At the end of my sophomore year, I applied to and was accepted into the Medical Scholars Program.”

Evan de Joya, President of Student Government/Student Trustee, University of Miami Board of Trustees, class of 2019