Faculty Mentor: Steve Giles
When you entered Wake Forest as a first-year student, did you anticipate being able to pursue research with a faculty member?
Yes, the opportunity to pursue research was a major quality that drew me to Wake, and the availability of funding and scholarships was especially attractive.
How and when did you learn about mentored research and the URECA Center?
I actually did not find out about URECA until after I had started my research project. Fortunately, my professors and advisors heavily promoted the center, and I took their advice to look into the program.
What led you to become involved in research as an undergraduate?
I have a lot of questions, which is why research is so appealing to me. My proposal looked at how the socio-economic environment in Nicaragua affected the availability of health care. I worked with an organization, AMOS, to inform community members how to implement positive health tips in everyday life.
Can you describe the relationship you have had with some of your faculty members? What did you learn? How did you learn that?
I met one the faculty members, Professor Giles, during a pre-orientation program at Wake my freshman year. He was very helpful in finding me connections in Nicaragua and facilitated conversations about community health and eating behaviors, topics I am extremely interested in.
How has URECA influenced your ideas about scholarship and your life passions or work?
I have learned to take more advantage of the professors at Wake and the wisdom they have to offer. Ironically, the project actually made me unsure of what I want to do in the long run. I am currently on the track for medical school, but I am more open to working hands-on with community members on an international level.
Is there anything else you would like to say about your experience doing mentored research?
Some thing I learned through my experience was not to have one specific goal set in mind. Rather than following my original proposal, the research took a completely different approach and opened up my mind to new possibilities regarding scholarship and work.