Kaila is a program manager in the Huntsman Cancer Institute Kepka Research Lab at the University of Utah. Her research interests include population science research that addresses clinical and health disparities in cancer risk and outcomes, multi-factor environmental and health modeling, spatial modeling, spatial data science, epidemiologic methodology and study design, and data visualization. After watching her grandmother suffer from brain and lung cancer as a result of breast cancer, and the impact it had on the entire extended family, she is driven towards quality improvement, reduction of disparities, and increased access for cancer prevention and care.
Stephen is a research assistant and analyst for the Kepka Research Lab which resides in the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. With the skills they acquired from earning a bachelor’s degree in applied sociology, they help coordinate and communicate each aspect of the lab’s research studies. Their goal is to reduce the incidence of HPV-related cancers—especially by defeating stigma, championing vaccination, and eliminating vaccination disparities experienced by underserved and marginalized populations. As an undergrad, Stephen worked on research projects to both understand Latter-day Saints’ experience with the garment through a sociological lens as well as describe suicidality in Utah Tech University students.
Becca is a research assistant and analyst in the Huntsman Cancer Institute Kepka Research Lab at the University of Utah. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY, after which she taught middle school math for two years. Her research interests include health disparities, health equity, and vaccine hesitancy. She currently assists Dr. Kepka with a multitude of projects including co-managing the Mountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition. When not researching, she occupies her time with reading, hiking, and facetiming her family in Kentucky.
5 For The Fight Cancer Research Scholar – Summer 2023
Mya Thomas is a rising senior Biology major with a chemistry minor at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah through the 5 For the Fight Cancer Research Internship. Mya is very excited to work with Deanna and her team on different projects throughout the summer. On our team, she will be assisting with various tasks to aid in research regarding HPV. Her future career aspirations lie in public health, so she looks forward to learning the intricacies of the field. Through the 5 for the Fight program, she hopes to learn more about the logistics of research and how she will be able to integrate that within her future career.