Victor Soupene

Victor Soupene, PhD student, epidemiology

Defends wellbeing of rural workers

“Victor is an exceptional student and person. He is motivated and dedicated and is interested in a challenge. Project teams and members of his dissertation committee like working with him because he’s a hard worker, he’s reliable, and he will go the extra step to deliver.” – Carri Casteel, professor

Anamosa, Iowa

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Carri Casteel, PhD, professor, department of occupational and environmental health; and  Paul Romitti, PhD, professor, department of epidemiology, College of Public Health

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in Epidemiology, Fall 2024

Please describe your research:
My research primarily focuses on injury and violence prevention among workers and rural people. My research topics include prevention of suicide, farm injury, and other occupationally related health topics. My dissertation research includes examining firearm-related suicides among workers in the rural US.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
My research matters because the health outcomes I examine are common but avoidable. By examining risk factors and social determinants related to injuries and violence, not only will we better understand why these adverse health outcomes occur but also provide people with ways to address them.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
I started participating in research projects immediately when I started my Master of Science (MS) degree in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health. The faculty and staff at the University of Iowa were very welcoming and eager to get me involved in their research work.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Working in research has not only provided me an opportunity to apply what I have learned through my coursework, but also gain additional insight into specific topics and learn the process of developing, implementing and disseminating research. Without these experiences, I would not have learned as much about epidemiology or scientific inquiry as I would by only taking college courses. Furthermore, I am fulfilled by the work I am doing, knowing that my research projects could impact people’s lives.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I will be pursuing postdoctoral and junior faculty positions following graduation. I foresee myself working for a college or university as a professor where I will be able to continue to produce novel research and inspire the next generation of public health professionals.

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