This past week, 6 EMPOWER team members are graduating and moving on to exciting new opportunities. While we’ll miss them at our lab meetings, we’re super proud of all the work they’ve done and the amazing futures ahead of them. Here’s just a snapshot of the incredible 2017 graduates!
NYU Medical School
Mona Saleh,MD, joined the lab in April, 2017. She is most proud of her work as a Rudin Scholar where she looked at Female Genital Mutilation through survivor’s voices. Now Dr. Saleh, she is excited to begin her residency at NYU as an OB/GYN.
Also graduating is Kendra Mendez, MD who joined the lab in March, 2016. She is most proud of her work on domestic violence where she helped to create an Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview questionnaire and on her ongoing project to assess the medical provider’s role in combatting human trafficking. She is excited to be starting her residency at Temple University as an Emergency Medicine physician where she will apply what she has learned in the lab about advocacy and empowerment!

NYU College of Global Public Health
 Both former Associate Directors of research Shaella Morales and Stephanie Serafino now have an MPH after their names. Shaella, the original member of the EMPOWER lab created the male IPV study and Stephanie began the analysis of the EMPOWER lab data. The original associate directors, Stephanie and Shaella built the EMPOWER lab into the amazing team it is today. Both are now gainfully employed in New York. Stephanie is a Research Manager at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, where she works on a variety of studies regarding access to HIV testing, MSM and LGBTQ Youth in New York City. Shaella now works as an Executive Assistant at the Executive Chamber of Governor Cuomo in New York City. There she assists in coordinating many different infrastructure related projects.
NYU College of Nursing
Dominiq Williams, RN, joined the lab in August 2016. She’s been a leader in the social media and advocacy team and the PSOT team. She is most proud of bringing the advocate and activist mindset to EMPOWER. She’s excited to start working as a registered nurse and master the art of night shifts.
NYU College of Arts and Sciences
Ryan Griffin joined the lab in August 2016 and has been a critical part of many teams ranging from MST, IPV, and a review on female genital cutting. He is most proud of finishing the IPV recruitment process, which gave him confidence in Spanish and critical patient interaction skills. He also is really excited to be able to do a good literature review. He plans to be a research assistant at local hospitals while applying to medical school.
Connor Smith joined the lab in October 2015 and has been a loyal member of the EMPOWER music study, MST team, and various grant proposals. He is also most proud of finishing the IPV recruitment and seeing a project through. His experience in the lab helped him decide that he wanted to go be a doctor and specialize in the health of women, immigrants, and other underserved populations. He’s moving to Boston where he’ll be volunteering at a women’s shelter while applying to medical school.
Our departing members left a few words of advice to those remaining and joining the EMPOWER team:

  • Let your intrinsic motivation guide you- Mona

  • Reach out to people who aren’t on your team. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. – Dominiq

  • Don’t miss meetings. Give it your all. Let your interests guide you. – Ryan

  • Let your interests guide you because its’s really demanding but really great at the same time. – Connor

  • Don’t shy away from working hard! It’s worth it and you’ll be so glad you did when you see the results of your efforts.- Kendra

  • Allow the work being done at EMPOWER to influence your ambitions and flourish your skills in research, analysis, advocacy and learning.- Steph

  • Don’t be overwhelmed. Your passion, hard work, and the great team at EMPOWER will make all projects doable. Be especially open to learning from all those in the lab; everyone is incredible!- Shaella

From everyone at EMPOWER, we thank you for the hundreds of hours you’ve put into our lab and we congratulate you on graduating! You have been a critical part of this lab’s success and we wish you all the best.