Student Spotlight August 2015

    Clara Sears




    Clara received her BA in Biology with a minor in Business from Goshen College in  Goshen, Indiana. In the Spring of 2014 she graduated with her MS in Epidemiology from UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences and has since continued on in the PhD program.  Clara will be starting her dissertation this Fall.




    1. What brought you to the University of Louisville?

    I came to the University of Louisville because I love the city and knew I would enjoy living here.

    2. Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

    I am interested in community-based research addressing health disparities. I am currently involved with research evaluating heavy metal exposure and neurobehavioral symptoms in children, as well as research assessing tobacco use and communication of youth in Appalachia. I enjoy working with trans-disciplinary teams and interacting with community members to identify how behavioral and environmental factors contribute to health..

    3. Awards, honors, publications:

    2015 - SPHIS Travel Award
    2014 - University of Louisville, School of Public Health and Information Sciences Dean’s Award
    2014 - Graduate Research Assistantship - University of Louisville

    Zierold, K.M., & Sears, C.G. (2015). Community views about the health and exposure of children living near a coal ash storage site. J Community Health, 40(2), 357-363.

    4. What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

    I have found my research assistantship in the Department of Communication to be the most enjoyable part of my graduate school experience thus far.  I enjoy working with people in different disciplines with various interests because it broadens my knowledge and exposes me to different research methods. I have enjoyed traveling to collect data and present at conferences in places that I would not otherwise visit.  My brilliant bosses have also been very encouraging and wonderful role models throughout my experience.

    5. Family life:

    I currently live in Louisville with my husband, Nick Wesman, and dog, Alfi. I am originally from Paoli, Indiana where my parents and siblings still reside.

    Fun Facts
    A talent you have always wanted: I wish I could dance.
    Favorite book: Candide by Voltaire
    Favorite quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein
    Role Model: Macklin Swinney, because of his ability to celebrate life and live each day to the fullest.
    Favorite Vacation Destination: Onekama, MI
    If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Traveling the world.