Alexis Brown chosen as Mississippi INBRE student scholar

Since becoming the first person in her family to attend college, Alexis Brown, a junior biology major at Alcorn State University, has been focused on making her loved ones proud. Her work ethic and latest internship opportunity are testaments to her dedication to success.

“As a first-generation college student, I knew that the pressure was on,” said Brown. “When I started college, my goal was, and still is, to learn as much as possible and challenge myself to reach my full potential.”

The Meridian, Mississippi native is interning with the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Research Scholars Program at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Telenutrition Center in Hattiesburg. The internship allows Brown and her peers to research the relationship between African Americans with obesity and COVID-19 prevention behaviors via Zoom virtual meetings.

The Mississippi INBRE is a network of colleges and universities designed to build biomedical research infrastructure in the state. The program’s mission is to reach out to Mississippians to improve health throughout the state and to engage talented researchers and students in biomedical research projects that will increase the state’s research competitiveness as well as impact the health of citizens in Mississippi.

The Telenutrition Center at the University of Southern Mississippi aims to bridge health disparities for underserved communities in south Mississippi and surrounding areas.

When pursuing internship opportunities, Brown’s priority was to find an internship that would push her beyond her limits. She said that researching with the Mississippi INBRE has offered the challenge that she sought.

“I knew that I wanted an internship that would challenge me. I got what I asked for in this internship because it allows me to step outside of my comfort zone. I have learned so much about research, social marketing, and data. This opportunity has been more than an internship for me, and I am so grateful that Alcorn presented me with this opportunity.”

Brown said that the research has been eye-opening. She encourages better overall health in the Black community.

“My research has helped me to see that African Americans are not only disproportionately affected by health disparities, but also COVID-19. This research has enlightened me to better the Black community. We need to start taking better care of our health.”

Becoming more familiar with research gives Brown confidence in her ability to aid others in the future.

“It’s motivating. I know my work here will lead to introducing my peers and students from other HBCUs to opportunities like this. I know that I need to get as much out of this program as possible so that I can help others.”

Other than research, Brown said that INBRE staff members conduct enriching classes for students that would benefit them in the future. She applauds the staff for their commitment to mentorship.

“We do fun workshops and presentations about time management, developing good learning habits, professionalism, and much more. The INBRE staff have created a safe space for us to express our concerns. I feel supported by my mentors. I know that when I start my career, I could look back on this staff and thank them for everything they have done to help me.”