The 2019 experiential learning grant recipient presentations took place Oct. 29, 2019 in the Lehigh University Center. (Left) Zachary Day, ’21, and Rohan Ekambaram, ’21, presented on Ukweli Test Strips. (Annabelle Sharenow/B&W Staff)

Student grant recipients present research on health topics


Student recipients of the 2019 grants for experiential learning in the health program presented their findings in the University Center on Oct. 29.

The students researched topics within different health fields in locations such as the Lehigh Valley, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The students focused on a range of topics, including sexual education, malnutrition and solutions or reasons for infections.

The grant program gives students opportunities to broaden their knowledge of certain aspects of health or healthcare. Some students worked individually, while others worked in groups. 

Zachary Day, ‘21, and his group members created ‘Ukweli Test Strips’ which screen for urinary tract infections and preeclampsia in women in developing countries. Day said the members of his team hope their product will solve the urinary tract infection and preeclampsia problem. 

“As a business student, it has been really interesting for me to dive deeper into this serious health problem, and apply the skills I’ve learned to further my knowledge of our topic,” Day said.

Day said the most fascinating part of the experience was spending three weeks in Sierra Leone, Africa, since he has never been anywhere like the country. He said learning and watching peoples’ daily lives was interesting.

Nicole Kirven,‘20, presented her research on Robert’s Syndrome.

Kirven said she’s been researching Robert’s Syndrome since her sophomore year, so being able to expand her research with more resources was exciting. Her research allowed her to recognize how beneficial it is to spend time with patients.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the lab and experiments that are going on day to day, but getting to spend time with patients that could actually benefit from this research really puts things into perspective, and makes you that much more motivated,” she said.

Kirven said she was fascinated by the researchers and doctors she was in contact with.

She said with the number of people working together and the amount of resources available, there is certainly promise of finding answers and better ways to help patients.  

“This grant was perfect for me because it allowed me to focus on the one problem I am most interested in and make great strides toward getting answers,” Kirven said.

Robert Corvalan-Perez, ‘21, said presenting his topic helped him assess his work and think about possible improvements.

He said his trip to Uganda was an eye-opening experience for him, because he saw how impactful education is. 

“The most fascinating thing I learned from my research is that it is much harder for people in Uganda to update their health standards, whether it comes to healthy sexual practices or to something as simple as knowing to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough,” Corvalan-Perez said.


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