Laura Neilson
Milwaukee, WI
Faculty advisor: 
Internship title/site and brief summary: 

GIS Public Health Intern at Groundwork Milwaukee. My internship involved working alongside the GIS Program Manager to develop and implement plans for an asset mapping project with a community group in Milwaukee, WI. I researched past uses of asset mapping; prepared presentations to introduce asset mapping to community stakeholders; planned, promoted and developed materials for a community event to collect the data for the asset map; co-facilitated discussion of neighborhood resources at the asset mapping event; and helped create the web map and resource directory with the data from the community event to share back to stakeholders.

Professional / academic / life plans after graduation: 

Since graduating in December, I have been working as a Faculty Research Assistant with Dr. William Massey in the Psychosocial Physical Activity Laboratory in the Kinesiology Department, which is where I spent a year and a half as a Graduate Research Assistant. My work with the 2PLAY Lab has taken me to elementary schools in Wisconsin, Texas and all over Oregon to observe the quality of recess; elevated my appreciation for the importance of play in childhood and beyond; gotten me involved in all stages of research and intervention projects; and demonstrated the critical need for flexibility when working with and in schools (both in terms of working with schools more generally, as well as continuing work during a global pandemic that has closed schools down). I am grateful to continue living in Oregon as I have fallen in love with the trails, the mild winters (compared to Wisconsin), and the community I have developed during my time at OSU.

Favorite memory of being a graduate student at Oregon State: 

A favorite memory is walking through campus on a sunny spring day and feeling awestruck by the beauty of all of the flowers blooming

Impactful faculty mentorship: 

Dr. William Massey has been an incredible mentor for me during my time at OSU. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity he gave me to fund my degree with a Graduate Research Assistantship and I can't enumerate here all of the skills and experience I gained through working with him. His mentorship also led me to be co-author on a published paper, as well as several conference abstracts, which was something that was never on my radar to pursue as an MPH student.