Jennifer Rodriguez is a rising senior at Rutgers University where she majors in Public Health with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Jennifer was motivated to apply to Project L/EARN because she wanted to be involved in developing research that she could use as a tool for advocating health policies. In the future, Jennifer wants to work in Newark, her hometown, as an advocate and community organizer helping underserved populations gain access to health services. Ultimately, she wants to open a health resource center that will help these communities. Her experience in the program has solidified her interest in attending graduate school in her future, and would now like to obtain a Ph.D. in a social science field. Jennifer thinks the program gave her an “intro to graduate school” experience that provided her with basic skills needed to be successful in the future.
The best part about Project L/EARN for Jennifer was being able to have a high degree of involvement on an original research project from beginning to end. Over the summer, she enjoyed working collaboratively with her mentor, Kristen Lloyd, examining the characteristics of unpaid caregivers. She says “from beginning to end my mentor took the time to know me, find my weaknesses and strengths, and support me through every step. She always made sure that I had [significant] input and took ownership of the study.”
Jennifer thought that the most useful part of the program was that she was able to finally understand statistics and that understanding allowed her to use statistics effectively to find answers to a problem. Although she found it challenging to learn how to use statistical software in a short period of time, she found getting results fulfilling. Her advice for future interns is to use time wisely and to make the most of the opportunities presented. She says “you will have the opportunity to meet great researchers in various fields, it is a great time to network and build future relationships.”