Each semester, the Schroeder Center for Health Policy provides funding for a select number of undergraduate research assistants to work on faculty-led health policy-related research projects. During the Fall 2012 semester, the Schroeder Center Undergraduate Research Assistant Program funded six talented students to work on faculty-led projects in a variety of disciplines including economics, business, kinesiology and health sciences, government, and sociology. Projects included the Role of Environmental Stress on Early Development, Healthcare Information Technology, the Impact of Foreign Aid Allocation on Child Nutrition, Public Discourse on the Affordable Care Act, Informal Care Provision for Elderly Parents, and Community Health in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
One of the goals of the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program is to provide students with meaningful research experience that will benefit them in their future career and education endeavors. Two of our Center research assistants have shared their reflections on the work they completed during the Fall 2012 semester.
Ryan Buckland, a senior (Class of ’13) majoring in Public Policy, worked with Professor Daifeng He in the Economics department. As a research assistant for Dr. He, Ryan reviewed and analyzed existing literature on the dynamic relationship between caregiving and work, specifically whether there is evidence to suggest that rising female labor force participation has put significant pressure on the supply of informal caregivers for the elderly. Ryan commented that “this opportunity continues to benefit me during my coursework and helped me in my search for career opportunities.” Ryan recently accepted a position with Booz Allen Hamilton as a consultant following graduation.
Maryam Kanna, a junior (Class of ’14) majoring in Economics, worked with Professor Nick Sanders, also in the Economics department. As a research assistant for Dr. Sanders, Maryam converted non-digital birth records from the 1950s and 1960s into a usable digital format in order to better understand the role of environmental stress on in utero development and infant outcomes such as birth weight and premature birth. Maryam notes that “there is still plenty of work to be done, including several years of birth records that need to be converted from hard copy to digital formats, but it has been a worthwhile experience to be part of a rigorous empirical project.” Maryam will continue working with Professor Sanders on this project during the Spring 2013 semester.
Part of the Schroeder Center’s mission is to support faculty and students involved in health policy-related research and the Center is pleased that students participating in the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program are gaining valuable research skills through their work with accomplished William & Mary faculty.