CBSelfie with Kira Sampson

December 16, 2020

Senior Neuroscience major Kira Sampson credits her interest in mental health and her study abroad experience in Thailand as the driving force of her future plans.


Kira wears a black shirt

Fourth Year 

Elmhurst, IL


Public Health, Gender Women Studies (not officially declared yet)

Why did you land in CBS?
I was interested in understanding how our biology influences our mental health. I loved psychology and biology in high school, and was eager to explore the intersection of these fields.  

Outside of classes and study sessions, what keeps you busy?
I conduct research studying sexual violence attitudes among college students and in Greek life with Carolyn Porta, who works in the School of Public Health. I also work part-time as a children’s behavior therapy aide and am a teaching assistant for Biology 1001. Outside of work, I love spending time outside hiking and camping!

How do you conduct the research?
The lab has worked with a lot of focus groups composed of different fraternities and sororities on campus. Now, I’m helping them compile all the interviews, readings, and findings from those discussions. Synthesizing information from multiple sources has been a challenge, but rewarding as it will build skills useful in my future career.

How has your time in CBS changed how you have approached the COVID-19 pandemic?
My time in CBS taught me how important it is to trust scientific research and to always look at possible biases behind various research findings (who conducted the research, who funded the research, etc.). I think my time in CBS has also helped me explain some of the science surrounding COVID-19 communicated on the news to my family, such as emphasizing the importance of wearing masks and following COVID precautions.

You studied abroad in Thailand. What was your experience like?
My experience in Thailand was one of the most memorable and valuable parts of my undergraduate career. Seeing Thailand's healthcare system up close allowed me to reflect on problems with the healthcare system in the United States, and changed how I viewed what it means to have access to healthcare. In many ways, my experiences in Thailand shifted my interests from practicing medicine to understanding how policy affects people's experiences in the U.S. healthcare system. I also got to spend a lot of time with elephants, which was absolutely amazing.