Yasmin Hung, adorned in her graduation attire, holds a sign declaring her affiliation with NYU’s College of Arts and Science, majoring in Psychology.

Psychology major and Global Public Health minor Yasmin Hung originally planned to pursue a degree in nursing. She knew she wanted to attend a university with a diverse community and flexible academic programs, and NYU offered both. But, once arriving at NYU, she realized her true passion for global public health.

Yasmin joined the Empower Lab her junior year. Led by Dr. Veronica Ades, the lab is a clinical research and advocacy group working to increase the research conducted on sexual- and gender-based violence. Yasmin credits the lab for introducing her to the importance of public health. She discovered her passion for research too.

“After joining the Empower Lab, my academic perspective shifted,” says Yasmin. “I quickly realized that both research and public health really appealed to me. NYU is a place where you will never be punished for changing your mind, so I switched my major to Psychology. That way, I continued my research and took more courses in public health.”

A Closer Look at the Empower Lab

In the Empower Lab Yasmin conducts research alongside undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. Her lab mates’ focal points span various fields, including public health, medicine, social work, psychology, and sociology. Since joining the lab, Yasmin contributed to projects investigating a diverse range of topics: She researched intimate partner violence and how healthcare providers can use trauma-informed care to support female asylum-seekers in the United States. She also contributed to studies that looked at how clinicians can better integrate trauma-informed care into their practices when treating sexual violence survivors.

“The vision of our research’s impact is very clear. We think about how it will be applied to underserved communities, like womxn, womxn of color, and people who experience sexual violence,” she says. “Moving forward, I always want to conduct research that has a meaningful impact.”

Practical Knowledge from Esteemed Medical Doctors

To fulfill her Global Public Health minor, Yasmin took several courses that complemented her research in the lab. One of her favorite courses Ethics and Clinical Practice was taught by two professors who serve in the Division of Medical Ethics for NYU Langone Health’s Department of Population Health. Both professors are also practicing doctors.

“I found the intersection of clinical ethics, public health, and my work in the lab,” says Yasmin. “And that was interesting. We talked about surrogacy and how religion intersects with public health. Since our professors were practicing physicians, they shared insights from their own experiences in the field. We didn’t just listen to stories or lectures during class. We gained first-hand knowledge from accomplished doctors who had to navigate real ethical dilemmas throughout their career.”

Yasmin Hung poses by the sign marking the entrance to Yale University’s School of Public Health.
Prepared for the Road Ahead

After graduation, Yasmin plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health. She wants to cultivate new skills and explore research topics in different fields. Due to the flexibility of NYU’s curriculum and the experiential nature of her coursework, Yasmin says she’s prepared for the next phase of her academic journey.

“Because my academic program was so flexible, I took courses in computer and data science. So, my grad school applications are more competitive,” explains Yasmin. “As a psychology student, I was also required to take a course where I learned how to conduct research from start to finish. This hands-on experience really boosted my confidence. Now, no matter who I’m talking to in grad school, whether it’s a principal investigator or a professor, I know I can talk about the skills I cultivated while conducting a research project all on my own.”

A World of Research Opportunities

Research is clearly key to Yasmin’s NYU story. But, she didn’t always want to pursue research as a full-time career.

“I thought research would be really boring,” she says. “I didn’t understand what people meant when they said NYU was this huge research institution with unmatched resources. When I finally stepped into the research world myself, it clicked.”

As a student researcher, Yasmin has accomplished a lot. She published two pieces in a peer-reviewed undergraduate journal, contributed to a lab that secured funding for research, and presented her work at the NYU’s Undergraduate Research Conference.

“The opportunities here are endless,” says Yasmin. “I wish I would have given research a chance sooner. Once you step into that world, you have access to all of the resources NYU has to offer.”