I am a rising senior at the University of Vermont studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Public Health and minor in Chemistry. I am interested in the impact of environmental toxins on public health and environmental health disparities.
This summer I am working with Dr. Heather Burris investigating the association of blood arsenic concentration with birth weight-for-gestational age categories in a longitudinal birth cohort study in Mexico City. Common pathways of arsenic exposure include drinking water and vegetables/crops grown in arsenic-contaminated groundwater, which is common in many regions of the United States. Understanding arsenic’s effect on human health will have important implications for regulations on water and food sources.
I have spent much of my time this summer learning how to analyze data using R programming, which will prove useful in any of my post-graduate endeavors. In my research, I have used R programming to analyze the role of arsenic as a risk factor for poor fetal growth by comparing log transformed maternal arsenic levels with birth weight-for-gestational age categories. We have found that there is a significant positive association between arsenic levels and small-for-gestational age and large-for-gestational age (versus appropriate-for-gestational age). Additionally, I was able to attend meetings with my mentor and shadow her at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to understand the full extent of life as a physician-scientist.