Pictured: Adolfo Ruiz, Junior, McClure Health Science High School
This blog is the culmination of a collaboration between HealthMPowers and McClure Health Science High School. Student Health Advocates (SHAs) interned as research assistants on a project to determine how peer influence impacts student health. This is Adolfo’s experience. Student Health Advocates are student leaders trained by HealthMPowers to promote healthy eating and physical activity improvements amongst their peers and in their schools and communities.
Recently, I partnered with HealthMPowers to work on a research paper on the power of peer influence. I was brought on as an intern to help with a literature review, and to contribute my insight and experiences as a peer leader of this generation who could also relate to and make sense of the research.
Conducting a Literature Review
My role, which honestly was very cool, was to gather research for a literature review. While researching for a literature review isn’t exactly the most glamorous or exciting role, it is incredibly important. I have plans to attend a very rigorous college program after graduation. Getting all the experience I can is very important to me. Thankfully, I received some great guidance throughout this experience.
I don’t really do well with abstract concepts. Numbers and theories are great, but for me, hands-on learning is a much more effective way to learn a new skill. While I feel like I probably could have learned how to conduct a literature review on my own, completing the internship with HealthMPowers was a better fit for me. I really appreciated the guidance and gentle pressure to meet deadlines and work efficiently. Most likely, I would have never chosen to conduct a literature review for fun, so I appreciate having this insight into the academic process as I prepare for college. This was a valuable and practical experience.
Why It Matters: Making Meaningful Contributions
When you’re asked to do something, it usually falls into two categories: 1) a job or 2) an opportunity. I find that jobs are generally boring or meaningless, something you have to do because it is expected of you. People don’t do jobs because they want to, but because they have to. This definitely wasn’t a job. It was an opportunity to meaningfully contribute and give my insight into something very important to me.
In the beginning, I was unsure if I really wanted to do a project based on peer influence. The subject isn’t my passion, but it is something that I’m very keen on giving my opinion on. I’m graduating soon, so I probably won’t get to see the effects of this research, but making meaningful contributions to benefit future generations is very important to me. The research I’m doing is important and will eventually contribute to improving the school’s curriculum and health of other students. I wish this research was done earlier to benefit me during my time in school.
How I will Benefit: Preparation for College and Beyond
This was clearly a beneficial experience and went much deeper than your typical internship. Prepping for college is very important, and if done correctly, can be life-saving. There are already so many new things to deal with. So much on your shoulders to learn, but having just one less thing to worry about means you’re already one step ahead. Helping with the literature review also made me curious about other aspects of the research process.
I always see research papers that are formatted so professionally, but I never know how they get to that endpoint. This experience helped pull back the curtain a little on the research process, and what it means to write research papers. Even if I didn’t find the work interesting and meaningful, this experience would have been worth it just for this insight.
I want to thank Dr. Debra Kibbe, Dr. Dana Griffith, Dr. Lorenzo Almada, and Anaise Quirindongo, from HealthMPowers for giving me this opportunity. You all helped me grow and learn and pushed me to complete this project. I also want to thank Mrs. Taylor for connecting me with HealthMPowers. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with such great people!
Working on this research project has been one of the more interesting and practical opportunities been a part of. Eventually, I will have to do a literature review, and now I’ll know exactly what to do. Also, when the school curriculum changes and is more beneficial for kids, I’ll know that I was a small ripple in that river of change.