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Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Ayorkor Gaba
Project L/EARN Intern - 2000
Ayorkor Gaba
Racial Disparities in Body Image That Contribute to the Development of Eating Disorders
Megan Sweeney

Ayorkor is a native of Kano, Nigeria and had been a double-major in Psychology and Communications at Rutgers College during the time of her internship.

Ayorkor had previously planned to act as the Assistant Director of the “What’s Up” Youth Center in Piscataway, NJ but had applied to Project L/EARN instead in hopes of gaining “A strong research background in order to compete with fellow students for a position at a good graduate school”. Prior to her Project L/EARN involvement, she had also volunteered for programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Together, a youth crisis center. Ayorkor’s research project had focused on racial disparities in body image and the development of eating disorders. She had enjoyed researching this particular topic, and credits her mentor’s guidance in helping her understand the research process. In doing this work, she had also gained the opportunity to meet Dr. Sarah Rosenfield, who she says had been very helpful in cultivating her research direction and interests.

Of her experience in Project L/EARN, “Yoki” states, “I learned a lot about myself through this program. I learned that I am a much harder worker than I thought”. She believes that her interactions with her mentor, Dr. Megan Sweeney, have taught her a lot about scientific writing and investigating research ideas. She also expresses her appreciation of her fellow interns and all of the “Impressive faculty members at the Institute”. Ayorkor plans to pursue a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, just like her mother, who she credits as her inspiration.

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