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Undergraduate Research Opportunities

By actively engaging in research alongside department faculty, public health majors develop their skills as experts and benefit from the close mentorship of faculty advisors, preparing them for successful experiences in the work force or graduate school.

STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholars Program

The STAR program is an opportunity for first-year students at Drexel University to engage in mentored research, scholarship, or creative work during the summer after their freshman year. The program attracts promising and high achieving research scholars and enhances their academic experience.

The STAR Scholars Program runs for 10 weeks during the summer (June - August) and provides a stipend equal to $10/hour for 35 hours/week and free on-campus housing.

"STAR is a chance to explore your different interests or maybe just a field that you had no idea about before,” said public health student Andrea Eleazar, who worked with faculty mentor Usama Bilal, PhD, MPH, MD, assistant professor in the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative and Dornsife's department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics.

Dornsife's most recent STAR scholars focused their research on telehealth services, health conditions of Latino immigrants, and body dissatisfaction. Their abstract titles include:

  • Priyani Sharma researched "The Experiences of Health Care Providers Utilizing Telehealth Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic" working with faculty mentor Dr. Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, associate dean for Interprofessional Research and Development and professor of nursing at Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions.
  • Paula A. Garcia Sanchez researched "Understanding and Addressing Syndemic Health Conditions Affecting Latino Immigrants" with working with faculty mentor Dr. Ana Martinez-Donate, professor of Community Health and Prevention at the Dornsife School of Public Health.
  • Karaan Raj M. Kothari researched "Do Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Thin Appearance Influence Levels of Body Dissatisfaction in Daily Life?" working with faculty mentor Dr. Paakhi Srivastava, Interim Director at Drexel's Weight, Eating and Lifestyle Science (WELL) Center.

Students can apply for the STAR Scholars Program either during their admissions process to Drexel University or during the mid-year application process.

Learn more about the STAR program


Senior Capstone

Students conduct research for credit by completing their senior capstone, which is a progressive 3-quarter experience with cross-cutting competencies that provides an individualized learning experience.

Working with a faculty mentor, students design a project that fulfills both public health interests as well as the broader capstone objectives. Students participate in in-class learning to acquire foundational concepts, which they can apply to their individual project.

Examples of Public Health Capstone Projects

Dornsife's most recent undergraduate class tackled public health issues such as vaccine hesitancy, the opioid epidemic, maternal mortality, and racism. Their capstone project titles include:

Social Media Use and its Role on Body Dissatisfaction and Depression among Female Adolescents Casinos and the Community's Health
Postpartum Depression and Its Risk Factors Public Health Communications: What Works, What Doesn't, and What Needs to Change
Maternal Mortality: Structural Racism and Weathering The Impacts of Apartheid on the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in South Africa
Redlining and Its Impacts on the African American Community in Philadelphia The Effects of the Patient Protections and the Affordable Care Act on Health Equity
Needs Assessment of the Indian Health Service in Navajo Nation Amidst COVID-19 Why Racism Should Be a Public Health Issue
Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19 Lockdowns How Mental Illness Can Develop Alongside or in the Wake of a Diagnosed Chronic Condition (Diabulimia and Type 1 Diabetes)
Addressing Disparities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and Low Socioeconomic Status Populations During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Case Study: Facemask Compliance Within the Philadelphia Area and the United States of America
Mandatory Vaccination Legislation for Students in New Jersey Impact of Internet Pornography on the Addiction Feedback Loop
Prisons as a Public Health Crisis Power & Privilege Within the Field of Academia
Tackling Partiality in the Western World Global Research Review of Vaccine Hesitancy
Racism and Its Impact on Black Women with Endometriosis Harm Reduction and the Opioid Epidemic

Watch a Capstone Presentation

The undergraduate public health class of 2021 shared their capstone presentations virtually. Watch some of them here:

The Effects of the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act on Health Equity Racism and Its Impact on Black Women With Endometriosis
Watch Isla Chapman's capstone presentation Watch Thaya Edmond's capstone presentation

Some capstone projects include an extensive literature review on a topic of interest; an in-depth case study on a pertinent public health issue; or a needs assessment for an organization.

After completing the project, some students present their work at regional or national conferences or publish their findings.


Your senior capstone and the STAR program are not the only opportunities to participate in research at Drexel. Students can also volunteer, use federal work/study funds for paid opportunities, and participate in research for credit. Check out resources for finding research for more ideas.

If you are interested in learning more about Drexel Dornsife’s undergraduate public health degree programs, request more information to speak with a member of our admissions team.

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STAR Scholars Research Program a Deciding Factor for Undergraduate Student

A rising second-year majoring in public health participates in Drexel University's STAR Scholars program.

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