Aditi Wahi practices “empathy”—that is, she tries to put herself into other people’s shoes, whether it’s helping her younger sister cope with a rare disease or recruiting pediatric patients and their parents pre-surgery and observing the children after.
Being in tune with and passionate for the people you are trying to help is a hallmark of being a strong cancer health disparities researcher, in addition to having strong methodological and other research skills.
Wahi has both.
She earned a bachelor’s of psychology and social behavior degree from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and analyzed daily electronic diaries of adolescent activities and compared the results to family history of chronic disease and physical activity behaviors at the Consortium for Integrative Health Studies at UCI.
Wahi now is pursuing her master’s degree and serves as a research assistant for a study on the behavioral interactions between prenatal, health care providers and child behaviors. She recruits pediatric patients and their families before surgery and observes children’s surgery recovery.
In search of direction and information for applying to a doctoral program related to cancer research, Aditi applied and was selected for Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training, which aims to increase research in Latino cancer disparities by encouraging master’s-level students and health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a cancer research career.
“The [2012 Éxito! Summer Institute] reaffirmed my belief to apply to doctoral programs. It opened up my eyes to additional opportunities in cancer research that I may not have previously thought of,” Wahi said. “It was also a tremendous experience to be surrounded by people with your same interests and that motivated me even more to go into a career in cancer research.”