Kimberly Gocchi Carrasco

Kim Gocchi Carrasco graduated from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and minor in Latin-American Studies. Prior to graduating, however, Kim had little time to participate in the internships and research opportunities which would have allowed her to put her education into use. With a twelve-year-old daughter to take care of at home, Kim only had the chance to take part in an internship during her senior year in 2014.

During her final semester at UNL, Kim took a health disparities class taught by Kirk Dombrowski. Halfway through the semester, everything Kim had been learning throughout her academic career came into clearer focus.

“I found myself weaving together this epiphany,” Kim said. “All my interests converged and, unexpectedly, everything I had learned was all connected. I couldn’t study one thing without pulling connections from millions of different directions.”

At this point, Kim had a desire to become involved in research. She found her opportunity with the USTARS program.

USTARS (Undergraduate Sociology Teaching and Research) is a program which allows undergraduate sociology majors at UNL to participate in a research project with either a Department of Sociology faculty member or a graduate student in the Department.

During her participation in USTARS, Kim worked with Kirk Dombrowski to begin creating a systematic review of research articles about phenomena associated with ecological and anthropogenic change and emergent infectious diseases. Part of Kim and Kirk’s ongoing review will summarize and analyze the research described in these articles. Their review will also recommend whether larger clinical trials might be necessary in future research, as well as how treatment of emerging infectious diseases could be improved. After compiling and analyzing relevant articles from multiple databases, Kim and Kirk then be able to determine what research will need to be undertaken in the future.

Kim is currently employed by Dombrowski in creating more systematic reviews with multiple Department members. Her involvement with USTARS has led her to full-time employment and ongoing epiphanies.

Story by Lane Chasek

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