Justice Clark, Class of 2001
- Brebeuf Jesuit (2005)
- Mount Holyoke College (BA 2009)
- George Washington University (MPH 2016)
Where do you live now: I live in Boston, MA
What have you been up to since STA: Since graduating STA, I went onto Brebeuf Jesuit, where I participated in Crew for all 4 years and was active in science clubs. I went to Mount Holyoke College, in western Massachusetts, for my bachelors. I majored in Biology and minored in Anthropology. I was a member of the crew team all 4 years, as well. During my time at Mount Holyoke, I was an on campus EMT and I participated in a medical mission trip to Nicaragua. This trip fueled my interest in medicine and public health. In my senior year, I got the opportunity to work in an immunology lab that was studying a mouse model of AIDS. This experience pushed me towards research.
After college, I went on to work in an infectious disease lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. In this lab, I worked with viruses that cause cancer, like the Human Papilloma Virus and the Epstein Barr Virus. I went on to work in another cancer lab at BIDMC that studied melanoma and prostate cancer and conducted phase 1 immunotherapy clinical trials. It was with this lab that I was included as an author on my first publication. After spending several years at the lab bench, I made the choice to move towards clinical research and I went to work at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Boston. At the VA, I implemented pilot studies in health services research for medication compliance. This was a wonderful experience to be able to work with and help those who served this country. So much of medicine and health is not just treating the patient in your exam room, but understanding what has brought them there. I wanted to see the whole picture; I wanted to answer those larger questions of how to help groups of people when there are many factors that impact their health. I was encouraged to pursue a Master of Public Health.
In the fall of 2014, I began my MPH at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, DC. I focused my studies on global health and specialized in program design, monitoring and evaluation. During my time in graduate school I had the opportunity to travel to the Island of Dominica in the Caribbean and do an internship with the Ministry of Health during the Zika outbreak in the spring of 2016. I did not get Zika, but I did get to experience and participate in the planning and response to this public health emergency.
After completing my MPH in the fall of 2016, I realized that DC was not the place for me at this particular time. While it is the epicenter of the global health community in the US, I felt that I needed to spend some time honing my skills as a public health profession before diving into the global health community in DC. In January 2017, I start as a Clinical Research Specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital. I am using my MPH to coordinate and run an international pediatric epilepsy research consortium. This expanding consortium is currently made up of over 20 top pediatric hospitals in the US and Canada. We are investigating how prolonged seizures are being treated and what are the outcomes for children. We are gathering data to be able to write better evidence based treatment guidelines with better outcomes. I enjoy collaborating with some of the top child neurologists in the country and meeting the very courageous children that I encounter at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Family: My family has spread out since my time at STA. My mom is currently living in New Jersey, teaching preschool and caring for her 2 golden-doodle puppies (my fur-siblings). My dad and his wife recently moved back to Indianapolis with my baby brother, Elias (18 months). My (now) middle brother, Isaiah (24), graduated from Williams College in 2015 and is currently working at Eli Lilly, studying diabetes and autoimmune diseases. He is applying to neuroscience PhD programs.
What is your favorite STA memory:
One of my favorite STA memories (I have many) would have to be working on the Rube Goldberg projects in 8th grade. Katie Atkins and I put together our machine in her parents’ basement. And since we kept splitting the thin wood pieces with nails, we decided that duct tape was our best solution. We 1) managed to get in out of her parents basement in one piece, and 2) it worked! Held together with duct tape and painted blue and gold.
What do you like to do in your spare time: When not working (self proclaimed workaholic), I enjoy spending time with college friends that are in the Boston area. This usually involves homemade food and baked goods. Boston is a wonderful city and I enjoy exploring it and its history. Every year I volunteer at the Head of the Charles Regatta in October (Largest International Rowing Race). I am a bibliophile and currently on my way to reading 50 books this year.
What words of advice would you offer a current STA student:
Be kind, work hard, have fun, get out of your comfort zone (even if it is just a little) and make the effort to keep in touch with your friends when you graduate.
Is there any other information you would like to share about yourself: I recently was in Adrienne Cox’s wedding (August 2017) along with Shannon Terrell and Jessica Hurst. Over the course of several days this past August, it was wonderful to catch up with these STA friends and see the wonderful women they have become. The few times that I have been back to STA over the years, even with all the changes since I graduate, it was like walking into a childhood home. The STA family holds a special place in my heart.