College of Liberal Arts

Student Projects Shine During Dean's Research Reception

Fri, Apr 19, 2019
Thomaia Pamplin speaks to Dean Randy Diehl about her research project.
Thomaia Pamplin speaks to Dean Randy Diehl about her research project.

On April 18, a group of hand-picked liberal arts students who have conducted exceptional research projects presented their posters at the Dean’s Research Reception. College faculty and staff, administrators and Dean Randy Diehl all gathered to learn about the outstanding work liberal arts students have conducted.

The annual event is a part of UT Austin’s Undergraduate Research Week, which is hosted by the Senate of College Councils and the Office of Undergraduate Research in the School of Undergraduate Studies. Colleges and organizations across campus coordinate events throughout the week to showcase the work of undergraduate student researchers.

Thomaia Pamplin, an English postbaccalaureate student and Mellon engaged scholar initiative fellow, studied the narratives of misdiagnosed women from a specific lower-income neighborhood in Houston to discover the factors that lead to delayed healthcare, or lack of access to quality healthcare. The title of her work was "Too Often Unheard: The Narratives and Medical Experiences of Misdiagnosed Black Women."

How did you decide on your topic?

I grew up in the same community. My education has opened my eyes to the numerous discrepancies throughout this community. I hope that my findings contribute to bettering the resources for my community.

How did you conduct your research?

I took one-on-one, face-to-face interviews with participants. I drew similarities between their stories and also looked into the historical, geographical and economic statistics of this region.

What were your results?

This research has uncovered two main findings: First, that historic determinants, such as gender and racial identity, have created a culture of acquiescence and compliance in black women in regards to their health. Second, that revelations of self-advocacy help black women seek proper treatment and improve their health.

What kind of effect could this research have?

I hope this research assists people who feel not in control of their own healthcare. I hope that it also opens the eyes and ears of those healthcare professionals who might knowingly or unknowingly neglect a certain demographic of patients.

How this project impacted your future plans?

My goal is to become a physician. This project has impacted how I want to practice in the future, and increased my desire to serve lower-income and underserved populations.

Read more about five of the 16 featured researchers and their projects on Life & Letters.

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