Andrea Hess

Graduate Research Assistant, University of Oklahoma

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Let yourself be guided by what you want to be good at.

What do you do?

I study diseases that are carried by mosquitoes. I use satellite data to research how the environment influences the risk of getting infected with those diseases.

Why did you choose this field?

I was interested in how climate change will impact the environment around us and what a changing environment means for our health.
I wrote my Bachelor's thesis on the potential spread of Chikungunya virus in Europe. From then on, whenever I heard of environmental changes, I couldn't help but think of the health implications. For my PhD, I decided to circle back and dive deeper into mosquito borne diseases and their environmental risk factors.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I wish younger me had known that I can learn whatever I want, if I take the time to do so. Don't hold yourself back by the thought that you're "not good at math" or "not good at programming". Everything can be learned.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love how applied some research can be. You see a problem or question and then you get to think about practical ways of how to solve that problem or answer that question.

Best advice for next generation?

Don't let yourself guide by what you're good at in this moment. Let yourself guide by what you want to be good at.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

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