With an undergraduate background in psychology and biology, Erin Ellis said she had always been intrigued by the complex and multifaceted nature of human behavior and the decision-making processes that underlie risky health behaviors.
“After years of experience on research teams at the University of Rochester, I also knew that I loved the research process – critically examining human behavior through a continual process of asking the right questions and systematically pursing the answers,” she said.
After earning a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Rochester, Ellis began searching for a career path that would allow her to combine all of her interests. A Buffalo native, she focused her search within the city so she could return to the place she loves and soon selected UB’s PhD program in community health and health behavior.
“The aspects of the program that I found most appealing were its mentorship model that allowed me to begin working on research projects immediately upon arriving here, the collegial atmosphere in the department, and the flexible program of studies that allowed me to select courses that best suited my interests and needs,” said Ellis.
She was actively involved in a number of research activities—from grant writing to data analysis to crafting manuscripts—which she said provided invaluable experience.
“In collaboration with researchers who are experts in their fields, we have examined the decision-making processes underlying sunscreen use, cancer screening behaviors, fruit and vegetable consumption, and risky sexual behavior,” she said. “Together, our findings will contribute to the development of effective evidence-based prevention efforts.
“When combined with a program of coursework individualized to meet my unique interests, leadership experiences in student government and school-wide academic affairs, as well as an array of teaching opportunities, my UB experience provided me with the knowledge and skills that I need to pursue the academic career of my dreams.”