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Master's Student Focus: Summer Gonsalves, Public Health

Summer is from Westerly, RI and holds a bachelors of science in Health Studies, with a concentration in Global and Environmental Health from the University of Rhode Island.

To date, this year has been the most challenging and rewarding year of my academic career. I have had the opportunity to conduct research and use that data to implement and create recommendations of change within the Narragansett Tribe. The skills acquired through my time at Brown are reaping real world benefits in and out of school. This year has shown me which career path I wish to follow once I graduate and has allowed me to define the type of research I want to conduct. I have made several connections, expanded my network, and acquired a dearth of knowledge to guide me. 

I chose to purse a master’s degree in Public Health to increase my knowledge and awareness of health disparities within communities of need. For me, a master’s is more than just a degree. It is an opportunity to network and make connections with people doing extraordinary things in and around the world. My degree requirements have afforded me the opportunity to conduct research in a professional setting and taught me the value of mixed methods studies. It has also showed me that through dedication and hard work, all things are possible.  

With my MPH, I plan to become a liaison for the Narragansett Tribe. As a tribal member and a researcher, I hope to further research the challenges the tribe faces regarding food security, food sovereignty and health outcomes. I intend to use my advanced learning and my direct connection to the tribe to break down barriers and implement change. My hope is that positive change is established in this small community that can then be shared and re-created in Native Tribes throughout the world.