“Stephanie’s dedication to public health is demonstrated by her commitment and her continuous engagement in conversations and literature about COVID-19 and her willingness to take on more difficult and challenging tasks as they arise.” -Nicole Gauthreaux and Natoshia Askelson
Hometown: Arlington Heights, Illinois
Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Natoshia Askelson, MPH, PhD, associate professor, community and behavioral health; Nicole Gauthreaux, MPH, research assistant, Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH); Rebecca Bucklin, MPH, research manager, PRC-RH, College of Public Health
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? I am a second year MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology at the College of Public Health. Expected to graduate May 2023
Please describe your research: My research focuses on ways to promote COVID-19 vaccine uptake, primarily focused on Iowa micropolitan communities. We identified barriers to COVID-19 vaccines and identified strategies to overcome these barriers. We also engage with vaccine-hesitant populations to understand their hesitancy with COVID-19 vaccines, and work to encourage these populations to get vaccinated.
In simple terms, why does this research matter? COVID-19 vaccines are essential in curbing the effects of the pandemic. It’s critical that we understand why populations are not getting vaccinated so we can intervene to encourage vaccination among these populations. This in turn will promote COVID-19 vaccinations, inching us closer to achieving herd immunity.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I became engaged in research during my senior year of undergrad, and my first year of grad school (I was an undergrad-to-grad student, so I began my grad classes during my senior year of undergrad).
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research has provided me the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I learned in the classroom in my research. It also allowed me to gain new skills outside the classroom, that I could apply to coursework.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I would like to continue working in research focused on vaccine hesitancy.
Banner location: Downtown—Washington St., in front of the Farmers Market Parking Garage