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.
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.