Team Spotlight: Kripa Venkatakrishnan

Meet Kripa Venkatakrishnan, our new Research Assistant. Kripa is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Molecular Biology with a focus on cell and developmental biology. With an interest in making healthcare more accessible to the under-served populations of the world. We interviewed Kripa to find out a little more about her as well as gain some insight about our project.



What are your educational aspirations? 

I’m currently in between two career paths (although they’re closely related in some aspects). For the longest time I’ve always thought and had the desire to go to medical school and become a doctor (in pediatrics or oncology), however, I’ve recently been exposed to a lot of public health issues/cases and it’s really been peaking my interest. I believe that I would also be very happy to pursue a Master’s in Public Health as well. 

Where do you see yourself in your career 10 years from now?

I can see myself either getting through med school or continuing with clinical public health research. I could also see myself travelling around the world or trying to do something spontaneous like that. 

What personal goals are you working toward right now?

Academically, I really wanted to get involved in some psychological and behavioral research projects (which SOVA is clearly perfect for) and witness as many types of research as I can.  Also, my mom and my dad speak 4 different languages and I’m trying to catch up to them and learn as many more as I can. 

What do you like about the SOVA project?

I think the tie that SOVA makes with social media and depression/anxiety is very interesting and unique in comparison to research studies that I have previously been exposed to. It is more than well known that social media is playing a greater part in our lives by the day, and I think creating a forum where users and moderators can channel social media in a way that’s productive and healthy is very progressive and clever, especially when this forum can eventually be proven to drive positive results. But in addition to just that, the SOVA project hits very close to home for me as I once was an adolescent who also faced depression and anxiety. Helping others to not feel the same way I felt or lessen the duration of their struggles is the one of most driving feelings for me and is what makes me like the SOVA project so much.

What do you think are some of the barriers to the project gaining speed?

I definitely think that the biggest barrier would be the marketing of the project to the participants, but on that same note it’s definitely far from impossible. What I believe to be the biggest hurdle for participants is the initial decision to try it out especially at a time in their lives when motivation may be low. However, I think that once that is overcome, participants will realize how much SOVA has to offer to the quality of their life. It’s always just that initial pitch. 

What do you think are some of the strengths the project already has?

The first time I first went onto the SOVA website, I could immediately tell that it was already very established, organized, and up to date which is great from a usability standpoint. But in addition to that, coming into my first day of work, meeting everyone and seeing how supportive, motivated, and committed everyone was, really made the biggest positive impact on me (at least from an outsider’s perspective). I think that the passion that everyone exudes will always be one of the biggest strengths that SOVA will have especially with the nature of the research it’s exploring and I think everyone has so much to offer! 



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