Michelle Nutlis, a senior studying psychology, worked with Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Community Health, to conduct a literature review, engage in conceptual work on focus group interview development, and process and analyze brain imaging data collected from a brain imaging study exploring associations between postpartum depression and pain perception.
As a social scientist, Lara-Cinisomo relies on the participation of community members to help inform her research and believes this partnership helps students learn about the vital role community members have in research and why they must be respected before, during, and after their participation in research. “By helping students learn about the value communities play in research and procedures we must follow to protect those communities, we can help the next generation of researchers advance the science while respecting and responding to the needs of communities.”
Lara-Cinisomo was so impressed with Nutlis’s professionalism and motivation to learn, she wants to continue to support the scholar’s research interests. She has invited Nutlis to continue her work with the project and to contribute to a manuscript on findings from the project. “I am eager to witness more of her amazing professional growth.” Lara-Cinisomo hopes that Nutlis gains a love of research from working on this project. “I hope she sees that research is informative, challenging, and fun. I also hope that Michelle will look back at her experience with me this summer as one that helped guide her professional path.”
Last summer was Nutlis’ first experience in conducting research with relevance to a clinical population. “Knowing that I can take these experiences and apply them to my future has deep meaning for me.” When asked what she would like Illinois students and faculty to know about her experience with the Community-Academic Scholars and partnerships, Nutlis said she hopes they can draw inspiration from these partnerships and look for ways to include them in their own studies. “Research has the power to change the world for the better, but this can only be accomplished when research is happening within the community and not apart from it.”
Learn more about the project by watching Michelle Nutlis’ research lightning talk.