Undergraduate Research Program

Samantha Garcia Perez

Samantha in front of a treeMajor: Intended Public Health-Global Health
Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn

Contact: sgarciap@uw.edu

Current research project: Understanding the Parenting Strength , Stress and Law needs of Latinx Families

Samantha is a rising Junior intending to major in Public Health-Global Health. She is interested in serving underserved communities by becoming a PA to improve basic primary care because she believe it is critical to understand the social and environmental determinants of health that contribute to the development of diseases and health inequity. Starting this summer, she started interning at the Child Health, Behavior and Development Center at Seattle Children’s Research Institute investigating migrant health outcomes.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My research focuses on investigating the strengths, stressors and law needs of Latinx parents who have recently migrated to the United States. There are 4.5 million Latinx citizen children in mixed immigration status families in the US. This vulnerable immigration status is associated with poor health, development and social service access. The transition to undocumented status can cause distress and anxiety as well as impact the access and enrollment of children in public services that in turn effect the quality of their housing, work and social environments. Fortunately, this adversity can be mitigated by responsive parenting that promotes resilience and buffers the impact of immigration stress on child health. The promotion of resilience aims to be utilized as a mediating factor that buffers a child from adversity by reducing the impact of trauma, reducing negative chain reactions stemming from trauma, and enabling opportunities for recovery from trauma. Given the health impact immigration status has on families, there is a need to improve access to immigration legal education and mitigate parenting behaviors. This research study aims to adapt a parenting Behavorial skills intervention—Social, Emotional, Academic Competence for Children and Parents (SEACAP). This intervention will also be paired with immigration law and policy education and resources such as safety planning and “know your rights training.”


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I first got involved in Undergraduate Research the Summer of 2020 when I was involved in the Underrepersented Minority Internship program at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Don’t be afraid to make that first step! There are so many fields of research with various methodologies, you will find your niche in research. Undergraduate research is not just about the work you are investigating but it is about building your network, increasing your professional development skills and taking what you learned in class and applying that to the real word.