Mahima Kumara began working as an OrACORe research assistant in the summer of 2021 after…
Paul Kopp began working as an OrACORe research assistant in the summer of 2021 after graduating from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In his time at OrACORe, Paul led his co-RAs in the operation of the BriCC and FraPol studies. Outside of the office, Paul enjoyed playing volleyball and volunteering with kids in the Boston area. In this departing interview, Paul reflects on his growth as a research assistant and shares his goals for a future in medicine.
In what ways have you experienced professional and personal growth during your tenure at OrACORe/PIVOT?
Being a research assistant here was my first job after college, and the past two years have been full of change and growth. Outside of work, I’ve learned to live as an adult in the real world, and at work, I learned to take ownership of and lead multiple projects, empathize better with patients from different backgrounds, more effectively synthesize scientific literature, and mobilize findings in policy models. Instead of learning for tests like I’ve done most of my life, working at OrACORe is about learning through experience while working on or leading scientific projects.
How has working at OrACORe/PIVOT impacted your views on the practice of medicine through the lenses of clinical and policy research?
Working in medical research has shown me the uncertainty in the practice of medicine. Re-evaluating current standards and testing new treatments with rigorous standards is crucial because differences in trial design and methodology may lead to different findings and interpretations of the results. Similarly, policy evaluations are dependent on the validity of the input data and the model structure, and thus careful implementation of these factors is crucial to informing value-based care.
What will you miss most about OrACORe/PIVOT?
The people. I’ll miss the guidance and mentorship from the faculty and the camaraderie of our research assistants (RAs). I’ve enjoyed heading to the office every day knowing that I’ll get to see everyone in the caring, kind, and smart community here.
What are your career goals and how have they been affected by your experience at OrACORe/PIVOT?
My career goal is to be a physician. OrACORe has provided valuable support in many ways- from support and guidance in the medical school application process to clinical/policy experience, to connections with meaningful volunteer work. Also, exposure to different medical fields and research areas has helped me to refine my goals- I hope to stay involved with economic research in healthcare, with the ultimate goal of making health care more accessible to all citizens.
Any advice for future research assistants considering or starting their tenure at OrACORe/PIVOT?
A valuable part of being a research assistant at OrACORe is the variety of experiences and projects. It provides a broad exposure to medicine and research, which can help you figure out your path forward.
What will you miss most about the social side of OrACORe/PIVOT?
I mentioned earlier that I’ll miss the people of OrACORe, and I’ll especially miss my RA friends. I’ve been lucky to be part of such a smart, fun, and relatable cohort. Inside jokes in the pit/beach, and outings like our trivia nights, dinners, and ski/bowling trips have been a blast, and I am left with some great memories that I’ll take with me.