Elon University / Today at Elon / Elon public health students advance research in summer institute

Victoria Colbeck ’23 and Nazaneen Shokri ’24 attended ResearchTalk Inc.’s 20th annual Qualitative Research Summer Institute.

Public health studies majors Victoria Colbeck ’23 and Nazaneen Shokri ’24 participated in ResearchTalk Inc.’s QRSI on July 25-29 and August 3-5, 2022. The virtual institute was hosted in collaboration with the University of North Carolina’s Odum Institute for Research in Social Sciences.

Colbeck and Shokri are completing research projects and preparing for future careers in medicine. They are also involved with Elon’s Health Equity and Racism (H.E.R.) Lab, an organization co-founded by Stephanie Baker and Yanica Faustin, faculty in the Department of Public Health Studies.

The H.E.R. Lab focuses on racism as the root of health inequities and fosters an environment for student members to take action towards undoing racism and improving population health. Student members of the H.E.R. Lab attend weekly meetings, participate in events and act as positive, anti-racist social justice advocates on campus.

Victoria Colbeck ’23

“Meeting with the H.E.R. Lab has offered an incredible space and place to be vulnerable and discuss the challenges of research,” Colbeck said. “It has also provided a community to celebrate victories in research as we progress towards equity.”

Colbeck’s research project centers around understanding the experiences of the Black birthing population to reduce the racial disparities in maternal health outcomes. She became a ResearchTalk ambassador, providing a unique opportunity to work directly with the QRSI founders and course instructors.

Shokri’s research project explores maternal health outcomes amongst Middle Eastern American women giving birth in the United States to uncover data surrounding this understudied population. She received the Lumen Prize last spring after a fast-paced application process with Assistant Professor of Public Health Studies Yanica Faustin, her research mentor. Her Lumen Prize funds were used to fund the QRSI training.

“As I step into the beginning of my Lumen project, attending QRSI was extremely important in my growth and development as a researcher,” Shokri said. “The most interesting part about QRSI was the diversity of individuals who were attending these courses. People tuned in from across the country, varying in levels of education and experience, to come together and learn.”

Nazaneen Shokri ’24

The goal of QRSI is to be a place for students, teachers and experts to share knowledge and skills to improve and progress their research through courses in a variety of topics and content areas.

Colbeck and Shokri attended the Fundamentals of Qualitative Research course and the Conducting Qualitative Interviews workshop. They learned more about the significance of qualitative research and practiced staying active and engaged while interviewing a peer.

Both are grateful for the opportunity to attend the QRSI training and would recommend it to others interested in pursuing research in the social sciences.

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