W&L Outcomes: Elizabeth Grist ’22 Elizabeth Grist '22 will spend next year conducting research in Melbourne, Australia as a Fulbright Scholar. Her project assesses the barriers and stigma associated with receiving medication for opioid use disorder.
Hometown: Lexington, Virginia
Post-Grad Plans: Fulbright Scholar research in Melbourne, Australia
Industry: Post-Graduate Fellowship
Areas of Study: Chemistry, Classics, Poverty and Human Capability Studies
“Trust your gut. Coming from someone who plans each step to a T, developing the ability to just trust the next step one step at a time kept me sane during the job search.”
~ Elizabeth Grist ’22
Q: What will you be doing after graduation?
Next year I will conduct research in Melbourne, Australia as a Fulbright Scholar. My project partners with Dr. Suzanne Nielsen to assess the barriers and stigma associated with receiving medication for opioid use disorder (OUD). With our findings, I hope to write a descriptive paper for publication.
Q: What internships or other summer experiences did you partake in and how did those experiences shape you and your career plans?
The summer after my freshman year, I completed my poverty minor internship, where I worked as a homeless outreach intern at Bowery Residents’ Committee, a nonprofit that serves the homeless population of New York City. That summer, I saw first-hand how disproportionately the Opioid Crisis impacts low-income individuals. This experience led me to find Dr. Caitlin Martin, an OB/GYN in Richmond, Virginia, who runs a clinic that predominantly sees pregnant and parenting women with OUD. Under Dr. Martin’s mentorship, I conducted a study titled “A Harm Reduction Approach to Medication Storage for Pregnant and Parenting Women in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment.” The purpose of this study was to assess the current medication storage practices among a sample of pregnant and parenting women receiving Buprenorphine-Naloxone for OUD, and to also assess the feasibility and acceptability of providing a lockbox for safe medication storage. This experience allowed me to interact with Dr. Martin’s patients in her clinic and collect and assess data, which eventually led me to apply for a Fulbright Research Grant in the same field. In May, I had the opportunity to present the abstract of our research as first author at the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology (SASGOG) Annual Conference. We are in the final drafts of our manuscript and hope to have our results published this summer!
Q: How did the Office of Career and Professional Development (CPD) support you and which resources did you find most helpful?
CPD helped me in many ways. My freshman year I had a meeting with Dean Jensen, who helped me envision the big picture of my career goals and identify my passions. Members of the office Molly Steele and Kelley Melvin met with me countless hours to talk about summer internship plans, interview preparation and resume review. Brooke Peccie helped me secure funding from the office to attend the SASGOG conference, where I was able to meet and network with a plethora of OB/GYNs throughout the nation. All this to say, I would not be where I am today without CPD!
Q: What did you study at W&L and what are some skills or learnings you will take from your academic experience into the professional world?
At W&L, I majored in chemistry and classics and minored in Poverty and Human Capability Studies. One of the biggest skills that I have taken away from my education is the ability to think both critically and with an open mind simultaneously. I think the class that helped the most with this was organic chemistry.
Q: Who or what has inspired you along the way?
One of my biggest inspirations during my time at W&L was with Erich Uffelman, Bentley Professor of Chemistry. I actually cried after his class the first day of freshman year because I was so scared of how hard his general chemistry course would be. However, Professor Uffelman has become a close friend and mentor. He has spent countless hours with me planning class schedules, making summer plans, writing me letters of recommendation and just making time to take me out to lunch to talk about life. When I try to sell W&L to a prospective student, I always mention Professor Uffelman. It’s professors like him who make this place so special.
Q: What career-related advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?
My advice to next year’s class would be to trust your gut. Coming from someone who plans each step to a T, developing the ability to just trust the next step one step at a time kept me sane during the job search.
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