Meet undergraduate student Gabrielle Sharbin

Gabrielle Sharbin
Gabrielle Sharbin

Allied health sciences major Gabrielle Sharbin says the diversity of classes in her program has given her a comprehensive understanding of different aspects of the healthcare profession. She has also taken courses in other subjects that relate to human health, such nutrition and psychology. She says this broad perspective is preparing her to continue her studies in medical school.

In addition to her coursework, she has taken an interest in research, participating in studies of toddler nutrition in the Department of Allied Health Sciences and behavioral health interventions with HIV-positive and substance abuse populations in UConn Health. Read more about Gabrielle’s experiences as a UConn student.

What attracted you to the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources?

I was originally attracted to CAHNR because it houses the Department of Allied Health Sciences. I was intrigued by allied health course offerings and appreciated the very close connections and resources within the department. Now that I am in a part of CAHNR, I am even more impressed by the rich variety of opportunities the school provides. It’s evident that CAHNR is a collaborative community with a shared interest and commitment to the health of others. I truly appreciate how, as an allied health sciences major, I am able to explore other subject areas with great impact on the healthcare field, such as nutrition and the environment.

What is your major, and why did you choose it?

I am an allied health sciences major with a health sciences concentration. I came to UConn with a passion for medicine, but I had no idea what I wanted to major in. As a sophomore, I applied to the Allied Health Sciences Department because I wanted to gain a broad and extensive perspective on healthcare. I take courses that encompass all aspects of what it means to be a healthcare professional. I’ve taken courses on cancer, aging, management and counseling patients and I am still able to fit in the pre-med requirements along the way!

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why?

This past summer, I joined the Health Research Program, which is a collaboration between UConn’s Office of Undergraduate Research and UConn Health. It has been an honor to work in Dr. Carla Rash’s lab. The lab conducts National Institutes of Health clinical trials focused on implementing behavioral health interventions in HIV-positive and substance abuse populations. Dr. Rash and I have also been developing a new research question on nicotine withdrawal symptoms in homeless populations, which I was honored to present a poster on at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Conference in Atlanta this past November.

Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies.

I studied abroad in Spain through UConn’s Summer Neuroscience in Salamanca Program. It was a joy to explore a new culture and learn about neuroscience at the same time. Additionally, as a student minoring in Spanish, I was able to greatly improve my medical Spanish and Spanish speaking skills.

I have also been able to work on nutrition research in Dr. Valerie Duffy’s lab. Dr. Duffy and her team focus on important aspects of toddler nutrition, such as healthy snacks, responsive feeding and limiting sugar-sweetened beverages.

What has the biggest challenge in your UConn career?

I am extremely close to my family. Therefore, one of my biggest challenges has been being away from loved ones during good times and bad. However, throughout my time here, UConn has taught me how to be independent and resilient while still maintaining close ties to my family.

When do you expect to graduate? What then?

I expect to graduate in May of 2020. I plan on working as a research intern before, hopefully, attending medical school.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I love spending time with my family and friends and I’m passionate about cooking and nutrition! I am also very involved in UConn’s Jewish community and enjoy sharing my love for my culture and religion with others!

This interview first appeared on Naturally@UConn.