Sharifa had been a student at Douglass College (Rutgers University) as an Economics major and Mathematics minor at the time of her internship. She chose to attend Rutgers because of its diversity and because it “it offered a more challenging college experience.” She had been attracted to Project L/EARN because it offered her a way to utilize her mathematical skills while pursuing her interests in health-related research.
Sharifa reflects, although the program has been quite intense, “This experience was all worth it… I’ve learned something from everything.” She had especially enjoyed being able to work with her dedicated mentor, Dr. Mark Schmitz, who had been able to give her immediate feedback on her progress throughout the course of her examination of long-term adult outcomes of foster care and adoption, specifically in terms of alcohol and marijuana use. Based on this study, White adults that were child welfare recipients were more likely to contend with substance abuse than their Black and Hispanic counterparts.
Before her involvement in Project L/EARN, Sharifa had been unsure of her educational goals, but after had plans to pursue a Master degree in Public Health with a focus on Health Administration. Among her list of prospective graduate schools, the University of Michigan had been her top choice.