Image has read text that reads "Spotlights on Maya and Danielle" and has three images above the text. From left to right the pictures are a photo of Danille, a drawing of two women, and a photo of Maya.

Danielle Harris and Maya Staehler are pre-nursing students completing guided readings and research projects within the lab. Both Danielle and Maya say their involvement in research has shaped their interests and perspectives on the field of nursing. Let’s get to know them a bit more!

Danielle’s role in the lab: “I just recently became involved with the research team, and have now been in the lab for about one semester. I have been involved in completing guided readings along with Maya. Towards the end of the semester, I feel like I started really getting my foot in the door because I was asked if I wanted to help out with the Brain Health Community Registry Resource Directory. I was able to get a glimpse of how the Registry team was working on setting up the questionnaire to gauge resources people might need to be in the research project and things like that. One of my biggest goals is tackling healthcare disparities that exist, and this semester we’re working to find more ways where I can do research in this area.”

Maya’s role in the lab: “I’ve been working with Andrea and Clark pretty closely on a project that looks at the ways that people living with dementia are represented in research. I’m specifically looking at the outcome measures that currently exist, and ways to develop new outcome measures that are more positive and more abilities focused. I’m also involved in guided readings with Danielle and Andrea, where we look at a video or an article surrounding PLWD advocacy (including our efforts to amplify PLWD voices) or our work in the lab, and then we have a pretty neat, in-depth conversation about it. Those discussions have helped shape my foundation in nursing philosophy.”

Ways research has shaped Danielle’s perspective on nursing: “Before I started research here, the lens I had on nursing was just, ‘Oh, I have to do this task for the patient because this is what I was taught.’ Once you get involved in the research field, you see that there isn’t just this one-way approach to patient care. I feel like being in this research team has definitely opened my mind more — I don’t have such a narrow view of nursing anymore. I see now there are so many different routes to take and so many different ways that nursing can be improved. Because, as I said, nursing, just isn’t this one-way approach, it’s about finding better methods every time so that medicine can continue to be improved.”

Ways research has shaped Maya’s perspective on nursing: “I feel like I’ve grown so much this past year while engaging in research. I never imagined that there was so much to take from immersing yourself in these different studies and theories that nurses all across the world have dedicated their lives toward furthering. There’s just so much to learn and I think it’s really exciting we have this opportunity to begin before we (hopefully) become official nursing students. I recently started working as a CNA at a local clinic and I noticed myself thinking ‘you’re kind of acting task-centered right now because you’re just staring at the computer screen, give the patient some eye contact.’ If I get into nursing school, I can continue to, hopefully, really enhance the way I’m able to serve my community as a nurse in the future.”

Danielle’s future goals and aspirations: “One of my biggest goals I want to achieve as a nurse is to bring more awareness to the healthcare disparities that exist in the healthcare system. Whether it’s disparities because of someone’s race, ethnicity, sex, gender, or sexual orientation, I want to work to decrease them. I’m also really passionate about labor, delivery, and maternal care. There’s a really big issue right now in maternal care with women of color, more specifically black women not receiving the proper care and as a result have a three to four times higher chance of experiencing maternal mortality. That’s part of what drives me, and so I see myself in the future, either being a midwife, or a nurse practitioner.”

Maya’s future goals and aspirations: “Working in this lab has really helped me foster this passion for serving older adults and specifically those who are living with dementia. For a long time, I was really passionate about serving young children. I really saw myself going somewhere into pediatrics, but now I see myself moving toward the other end of the spectrum and going into the geriatrics field. So, maybe I’ll find an area where I can serve both at the same time, but I’m just hoping to get some experience under my belt. From there I would like to go on to graduate school and maybe become a nurse practitioner or somehow further my degree.”