Alisen Huang received funding from the Alumni Association to conduct summer research, and we followed up with her about the experience.
What do you consider your “hometown?”
What did your research entail?
We administered questionnaires to stroke patients in the acute setting. The questionnaires assessed fatigue, depression, personality, purpose in life and daytime sleepiness. My summer project evaluated the relationship between purpose in life and daytime sleepiness.
How valuable was this opportunity? In what way?
The opportunity was amazing! I had an awesome, supportive research team and I got to directly interact with patients. The physicians I worked were also great (though approaching them was intimidating for me).
I was able to observe some of the clinical trials that were going on so I got to see how stroke codes are handled and what happens after a patient is enrolled in the trial.
I’m also still working in the lab when I can. Although my summer project was to collect baseline data, the study itself is longitudinal so it’s still ongoing. I help out with getting patient followups and entering data.
What did you learn that might make you a better researcher, and eventually, a better doctor?
I got to work on communication with patients. We learn about it in class and get some practice with it but over the summer, I was really able to feel out what worked or didn’t work with different patients.
How valuable was the funding to you? I know you’re a med student, and probably trying to keep expenses to a minimum.
I really appreciated the funding, it definitely helped with my expenses AND I was able to explore an area of medicine that I was interested in learning more about.
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