Summer 2022 NIDA Interns

The Department of Epidemiology would like to congratulate the three NIDA Scholars who completed their internship. This is the 17th year Dr. Cottler’s lab has hosted NIDA Summer Research Internship Program. Two undergraduate interns, Sydney Sauer and Ming Tate were chosen out of 300 applications for this competitive 8-week internship and will be working with National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS). Dr. Catalina Lopez-Quintero’s lab hosted its first NIDA Summer Research Internship Program. One undergraduate intern, Domenica Bedon Pazmino, accepted the opportunity to gain collegial and research experience.

Sydney Sauer 

Ohio State University 

Dr. Linda Cottler 

Presentation: How accurately EMS providers use naloxone. 

What inspired you to study epidemiology?  

I was inspired to study epidemiology because I’m interested in making a large-scale difference in public health. Substance use is such a pressing issue in our society and studying this through an epidemiological lens allows for evidence-based, actionable insights to keep people safer. 

What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? 

I look forward to being able to make an impact! I strive to learn all I can about the field in order to make a substantial, real-world impact on public health, particularly for people who use drugs. 

What surprised you most about interning in the Department of Epidemiology? 

I can’t believe how knowledgeable and helpful the pre-doctoral T32 fellows were. The whole group was there to support me every step of the way, and it inspired me that I don’t have to wait until I have my Ph.D. to help advance the field and even train the next generation. I learned that Gainesville is such a vibrant town. UF is the perfect place for an intern to experience new cultures, try diverse foods, and explore one-of-a-kind natural beauty. 

Ming Tate 

Xavier University of Louisiana 

Dr. Shearon Roberts 

Presentation Title: Mental Health Diagnoses and Sex Differences in Trust in Research among African Americans 

What inspired you to study epidemiology? Viewing the negative consequences of disparities within communities near my school, within my hometown, and in different states around the world inspired me to gain more experience with epidemiology. I chose UF specifically due to its unique pitch to students of different disciplines outside of epidemiology. I think that including people of different academic backgrounds can work to provide novel suggestions and breakthroughs. 

What do you look forward to most as a future epidemiologist and your career in epidemiology? As a current psychology major who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, I don’t currently aspire to be an epidemiologist by trade. However, I am excited to collaborate on different research projects that can better serve communities from an epidemiology standpoint. 

What surprised you most about interning in the Department of Epidemiology? I was most surprised by the freedom I had as an intern. I am grateful for the opportunity provided by the Cottler Lab to produce an independent research project, as I was mostly expecting to just assist with ongoing research projects. While at UF, I learned that you could utilize your degree in disciplines outside of your own and that there are many paths to get to the same destination: a more equitable and inclusive academia. 

Domenica Bedon 

Texas A&M University  

Dr. Lopez Quintero 

Presentation: Non-Medical Use of Prescription Stimulants Amongst College Students and Serious Psychological Distress 

What made you choose UF? When applying for the NIDA Summer Internship Program, I wanted the opportunity to gain research experience and combine the field of psychology in order to obtain a stronger understanding of academia altogether. I’ve always been drawn towards exploring the research opportunities the University of Florida has to offer and becoming a part of the research team at the Department of Epidemiology. My ultimate goal is to further my studies and pursue a post-graduate program at the university. 

What do you look forward to most in your career in research? Although I want to pursue a career in Mental Health Counseling and become a Licensed Professional Counselor, I would like to incorporate research on the side and continue exploring new research findings relating to mental health in children & young adult populations. 

What surprised you most about interning in the Department of Epidemiology? I’m so fortunate to have been able to receive the opportunity to meet the staff and faculty at the Department of Epidemiology and learn more about their personal experiences and upbringings. It’s extremely surprising to hear about the different projects underway that continue to expand the research gaps in Epidemiology.