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Kendra P

- Research Program Mentor

Industry expert at Franklin & Marshall College


Public Health, Pre-Med, Medical Research, Cancer, and Infectious Diseases


I am currently completing a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania to complete my pre-medical requirements. I attended Franklin & Marshall College for my bachelor’s degree, where I majored in Public Health (Biology concentration) and minored in German Language and Culture. After graduating, I was the Avery Fellow at the Clinic for Special Children, where I conducted a research study screening for lead levels in the Amish and Mennonite populations, survey analysis, and researched the use of complementary and alternative medicine among the Plain population. I then started working at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where I worked on a prospective observational trial looking at the development of the infant gut microbiome during the first few years of life. I currently work at the University of Pennsylvania conducting clinical research in head and neck cancer. I am so excited to help high school students on their medical/STEM journey! It is a really exciting field and I would like to share my skill set that has been tested through a lot of trial-and-error. I have definitely benefited by having strong mentors in my life! In my free time, I love trail running, rock climbing, and playing with my dog, Sadie. I also volunteer at an animal shelter (it’s so fun to walk the dogs around the city and get them out of their cages!)

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

What does COVID-19 gut to do with it?

As many know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on life as we know it: spending time away from friends and family, washing our hands, wearing masks. How does the relative isolation from other humans and increased sanitization of surfaces affected the normal development of the infant and toddler gut microbiome? Before infants are born, they have virtually no microbiome-it is developed from interactions with others and environmental exposures (such as having a pet or taking certain medications, such as antibiotics). By analyzing stool samples of babies born during the global pandemic and comparing them to pre-established data sets that have showed common gut microbes in infants we can determine if a significant shift has taken place. Are certain microbial populations decreased given that there are decreased interactions and decreased exposure to new experiences?

Science Communication

One of the most important parts of medical/STEM studies is the ability to explain complex scientific ideas to the lay population. Physicians need to be able to explain diseases and treatments to patients. Public Health officials need to be able to explain why certain policies are necessary or why certain ideas need to be examined further. For this project: -Students will choose a topic they feel passionately about -Perform a comprehensive literature review -Create educational materials such as a PSA video, brochure, and/or presentation to describe their topic to a lay population

The Development and Treatment of Cancer

Cancer is a collection of related diseases united by unregulated cell replication. Certain viruses, such as HPV, are considered oncoviruses, meaning they are cancer causing. Different types of cancer, and even different subtypes, have drastically different outcomes. For example, patients with HPV-mediated cancers are more sensitized to radiation, meaning lower doses of treatment may be equally effective as higher doses but with fewer side effects. In this project, students can pick a specific type of cancer and do a deep-dive on the mutation that causes the cancer, the treatment, and current/future therapies.

Languages I know

German (conversational)


Work experience

University of Pennsylvania (2018 - Current)
Clinical Research Coordinator
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (2016 - 2018)
Clinical Research Assistant
Clinic for Special Children (2015 - 2016)
Avery Fellow
Penn State Hershey Medical Center (2014 - 2014)
Intern (genetics lab)


Franklin & Marshall College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2015)
Public Health

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