Karen Hidalgo is a rising senior at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, majoring in Public Health. Karen, a member of Rutgers University’s Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, states that her decision to participate in Project L/EARN was rooted in her passion to gain knowledge about health care research. After working at Mathematica Policy Research and becoming a Ronald E. McNair scholar, she could not wait to get her hands on more research experience. Karen mentions that Project L/EARN has expanded her views of what she can achieve and has given her knowledge and confidence to pursue her future research endeavors. Her future plans include attending graduate school to obtain a PhD in epidemiology and attending medical school. Karen mentions that Project L/EARN helped reinforce her interest in health research. She hopes to one day be able to effectively incorporate the research skills she is developing into her clinical practice.
Through Project L/EARN, Karen was able to develop statistical and writing skills and had the opportunity to strengthen her networking skills at the Academy Health research conference in Chicago. Project L/EARN also provided her with a great support team of very capable researchers and staff that know the benefits of research and how it can make an impact in today’s public health and medical fields.
Karen worked with her mentor, Dr. Karen D’Alonzo, on a project evaluating the influence of acculturation and the concept of marianismo on obesity risk among Latinas. She states that the best thing about working with her mentor was knowing that she could ask her for help whenever she needed it. Dr. D’Alonzo always went above and beyond to help her understand the unwritten rules of research.