Internship Fosters CECH Student's Passion for Research

By: Mary Kay Meier, CECH Intern

Angelica Hardee is passionate about research. Thanks to a pivotal moment as an intern at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CHMCC) and to a mentor who introduced her to the many dimensions of research, Hardee has harnessed her passion and is poised to make a difference in the communities she serves.

It was during Hardee’s 2012 internship in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment and Related Disabilities (LEND) at Children’s that she realized could make a large impact on the community’s health and wellness through research and still work with people directly. This revelation prompted her to change her major from athletic training to health education, and she has since gained valuable research experience through face-to-face data collection and analysis and completed a highly competitive internship with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta this past summer.

Hardee had the opportunity to work directly with federal agents in the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine to develop new evaluation procedures to improve illness detection by U.S. customs and border officials through Project IMHOTEP, an 11-week program, sponsored by the CDC and the Office of Minority Health and Health Equality (OMHHE). This program provides hands-on research experience to under-represented and minority undergraduate students studying in the biostatistics, epidemiology, occupational safety, and health fields.

Hardee admits, “It was a little scary to have 100 percent control of a research project for the first time, but I quickly gained confidence.” 

Hardee has continued to refine and build upon her research capacities through a Faculty Mentoring Grant directed by Dr. Rebecca Vidourek and Dr. Keith King, where for the past year she has conducted research on the nutritional and physical behaviors of college students.

Additionally, studying abroad in Belize, stints as a UC peer mentor, volunteer experiences at Hamilton County Health Department, and two terms as Eta Sigma Gamma President, have all ignited Hardee’s passion for research and teaching in diverse communities.

"My research experience and service within the community have all helped me excel as a student and made me a better person.  I encourage all undergraduates to get involved and take risks. You never know what opportunities may arise from taking chances," Hardee said.

Hardee began her Master’s in Community Health in August 2013 and intends to pursue a Ph.D. at CECH.  “Being a professor is the best mix of all the things I have learned and love: teaching, service, and research,” she said.

In November, Hardee will present her CDC/IMHOTEP project at the Annual Bio Medical Research Conference for Minority Students in Nashville, Tennessee.