What do you do?
I'm a social epidemiologist. I study the psycho-social determinants of health. My current project is to examine the relationship between religion, spirituality and mental and physical health among elderly. Before I joined my current university, I worked as a genetic epidemiologist in another lab and I used genetic profile to categorize women based on their risk of developing breast cancer.
Why did you choose this field?
My husband is a pastor. I was involved in his work among people from all walks of life. There is health disparity between the haves and have-nots. However, I observed that people who are the happiest and content are not those who are the richest. Religion/spirituality gives meaning and hope to one's life and this has an impact on health, especially among the poorest.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
That I would be proficient in using R statistical software. When I first learned R during my PhD, I didn't know that codes that took my hours to write before would one day flow out from my fingertips within minutes.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love the reading part of STEM. To be up-to-date of current research, we have to be constantly learning, which is mostly through reading. I love exploring new research ideas that could be converted into health policies to benefit the community. I love R coding and data analysis. It's very satisfying to turn data into meaningful information that could improve the health of the community. And I love working with the community. It's only when we are part of the community then only we will understand its health needs.
Best advice for next generation?
Run like a girl - as fast as you can!
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
“For wisdom is better than jewels,
and nothing desirable can compare with it.” - Proverbs 8:11