VURF recipient Simran Kripalani, Biology and Humanities major, presented at the University of Delaware, Villanova and Nemours duPoint Hospital for Children in July 2017.
On her experience:
”This summer, I had the privilege to work at Nemours duPont Hospital for Children as a research assistant. This was through the Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Program (NSURP), which provided me with an opportunity to do full-time summer clinical based research, shadow physicians, and attend rounds and conferences.
This summer, I had two main projects. My primary project was on determining the trajectories of siblings of children with cancer, two years post diagnosis. This longitudinal project was sponsored by the B+ foundation and SuperSibs! powered by the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I am currently still a research assistant at Nemours, so I am a part of this project to date. My specific project was a subset of this main study, where I wanted to learn more about the family experience of siblings of children with cancer. I designed my own research question and how I would approach it. I compared sibling and parent reports to see if there were any discrepancies in reporting because I wanted to make sure that siblings were not forgotten during this vulnerable time and that parents were interpreting their child’s experience correctly. The second study I was a part of was for siblings of children with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), where I looked at factors affecting their experience and other psychosocial risks.
Not only was I able to do research, work with participants personally, and learn qualitative coding analysis, but I was also able to shadow doctors of any discipline I was interested in. My PI helped me get in touch with physicians and encouraged clinical shadowing as enrichment. I was able to round with Hematology/Oncology, Palliative Care, and Cardiac Psychology. I was even able to see an open-heart surgery on a child!
Every Wednesday, I attended Grand Rounds and had weekly seminars and conferences on the latest research happening in the hospital as well as around the country. At the end of my summer experience, I was able to present my work at the University of Delaware, Villanova University, and Nemours duPont Hospital for Children. I am currently working on submitting my updated research to the Society of Pediatric Psychology, in hopes to present my research at the 2018 SPPAC conference in Orlando, Florida.
My experience was enhanced by all the support I received from Villanova’s Center for Research and Fellowships. I received their Research Grant and that helped me pursue my research without having to worry about logistical issues. I also received their guidance during my application process, so I give them a lot of credit. I strongly encourage anyone to utilize the great programs and opportunities that Villanova and CRF have to offer. You never know—you may find your passion, just like I did.”