Student Testimonials

Andrea Torres

Who is your mentor?

My mentor is Dr. Chooza Moon of the College of Nursing.

How long have you been working with your mentor? 

I have been working with Chooza since the spring semester of my freshman year (Spring 2022).

What project are you working on?

I am working on a project that describes how well subjective sleep measures such as questionnaire data, in conjunction with actigraphy data, captures biological sleep markers and sleep behavior patterns. It investigates whether the Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) is a good measure for capturing circadian patterns in older adults when compared to more objective sleep measures like dim light melatonin onset.

What made you want to get involved in research?

I participated in an introductory research course during my senior year of high school and really enjoyed it. From then on, I knew I wanted to pursue research on a bigger scale when I started at the University of Iowa. Research may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of nursing, but I have discovered it is an important and valuable way of caring for patients. 

What was the best/most interesting thing about working on this project?

The best thing about working on this project is being able to go through every step of the research process and see everything come together. I started my project over the summer and now I am almost done with the poster I will be presenting at the Midwest Nursing Research conference! I have learned so much about data collection and analysis and even got to use programs like RStudio to code; I never thought that I would learn these skills as a nursing major.

What is one thing you would tell other students who might be interested nursing research?

Do not be afraid to directly reach out to any faculty members whose research you are interested in! It can be a little intimidating at first but the worst they could say is that their lab is full! Participating in research, especially as an undergraduate, is such a valuable experience because you can contribute to the body of nursing knowledge even before graduating nursing school and becoming a Registered Nurse. Go for it!

- Andrea Torres (BSN '25)



Mentor Testimonials

Barbara St. Marie

Who is your student?

My student is Heather DeBruin.

How long have you been a mentor for YSP?

2-3 years

How did you get interested in research?

My interest in research started when I was an undergraduate nursing student. I knew I wanted to work in a venue where I could seek and create new knowledge. After graduating, I got married, raised my family and temporarily put my long-term goals aside, always knowing I would go back to school, work on a PhD, and begin my research trajectory. As a Nurse Practitioner in Pain management, I started collecting a list of my research questions throughout my clinical practice. When it was time for me to enter a PhD program, I continued to work in clinical practice and ran an inpatient Pain and Palliative Care Consult service in my hospital. My dissertation work was the start of exploring my clinical research questions. The research question for my dissertation was: What are the experiences of people who have the coexistence of pain and opioid use disorder? After completing my dissertation, I applied for the T32 Pain and Associated Symptoms Post-doctoral training program at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, with Dr. Keela Herr as my mentor. Here, I was able to organize my research trajectory, and I've been conducting research every since, ... getting through my list.

What motivates you to be a mentor?

I've always been a mentor for nurses, nurse practitioners, and teaching others about pain, palliative care, opioid use disorder, while in clinical practice. And now as an Associate Professor at the College of Nursing, I know I want to continue mentoring. I like exploring ideas with my students, discovering where their interests are, and what they want to accomplish in their nursing careers. 

What is the most rewarding thing about mentoring a student in YSP?

A student in YSP is interested in research, learning about how to search the literature, design a study, and explore results from the study. I enjoy the enthusiasm and motivation the YSP students have in learning, and fielding the questions they have. 

What is one suggestion you have for students who might be interested in a mentored research experience? 

Sign up! Find out about this side of nursing! 

- Prof. Barbara St. Marie, PhD, AGPCNP, FAANP, FAAN