Category: Network Scholars
Growing up in East Orange — a predominantly African American suburb of Newark, New Jersey — Enrique Neblett credits his strong work ethic and core education values to his mother, who was an educator. However, it wasn’t until he attended a predominantly white institution in seventh grade that he started realizing what would become his research passion and life’s work. As he recalls, “I was one of the few black students there. I didn’t know it at the time, but issues of race and class were very different from what I was accustomed to in my home environment.”
A lifelong San Francisco Bay Area resident, Lauren pursued a pre-dental major during her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, she was gaining a grounding in subjects that would be pivotal to her work later on, including classes in biology, organic chemistry, and nutrition.
Growing up in a household with family members who were often sick, Margo desired from an early age to influence the health of the people she loved. These influences drew her to nursing. “I wanted to apply my knowledge and help communities as a whole,” Margo says.After practicing as a nurse for some time, Margo notes that she saw “clear and marked differences in how individuals in minority communities and historically disadvantaged communities received care and engaged with the health care system.”
For someone like Denese Neu, who cares as much about the details as she does the big picture — and is able to see the connection between them — the multidisciplinary field of urban studies is a perfect fit. She has learned through more than 25 years of applied research and experience that urban studies, which is where she sees health and community intersect, can help tackle many of the complexities of cities, including access to services for vulnerable populations. Denese’s work has opened doors and allowed people to understand why urban planners need to care about health, and why medical professionals need to care about physical and social constructs of place.
Most professors choose to take graduate students with a 3.9 grade point average. Shawn Bediako, however, claims his “magic number” is 2.8. He sees something of himself in students on the verge between a C and B — the students who are scrappy and don’t want to give up. Even more specific, Shawn seeks students with explicit interests in taking their research back to their communities, whether it’s Southeast Asia or Appalachian Kentucky.
Carrie Beth Lasley’s home has always included an urban backdrop, so the field of urban studies was a no-brainer for her. Her specific research niche is the intersection of health and homes, for which her home city of Detroit serves as the perfect proving ground.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hector Rodriguez attended one of the nation’s largest and most diverse high schools. As he left this setting, which he recalls had “no majority population,” Hector began paying attention to how racial and ethnic minority groups experience the health care system. Eventually, this interest would shape his research to center on the organizational factors that affect disparities in health care delivery.
Wrenetha Julion always knew she wanted to be a nurse. But her “aha” moment as a researcher occurred when she studied an evaluation of fatherhood programs in her doctoral studies. It was then she realized that she wanted to focus her research on African-American fathers who live in homes apart from their children.
DeLawnia Comer-HaGans understands that where you come from influences the changes you want to make in the world. Growing up in El Paso, Texas, in a predominantly Hispanic community, she knew many people who needed frequent medical attention, but often couldn’t access it. Seeing this made her want to pursue health care access for vulnerable populations.
Growing up in a blue-collar suburban Los Angeles community, as the daughter of Mexican American immigrants with less than a high school education, Bertha Hidalgo often had difficulty finding academic mentors among her family and friends. This was such a foreign world for my parents and anyone I knew in my social circle, she recalls. But despite these challenges, Bertha was a top student, and spent her high school years at the prestigious California Academy of Mathematics and Science, a four-year magnet school. She then applied to Stanford, where she was accepted, and completed a BA in Human Biology.