Texas Tech University

Human Sciences Student Receives Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award

Mallory Collins

April 28, 2022

Humans sciences graduate

Rebecca Steinman was recently recognized for her research on Physician Assistant Motivation and Satisfaction during the Undergraduate Research Conference

Human Sciences major Rebecca Steinman received the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award during the Undergraduate Research Conference hosted by the Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE). The conference is an opportunity for undergraduate researchers to present their research. 

Steinman's research focused on physician assistant motivation and satisfaction before and after COVID-19. Physician Assistants (PA) were interviewed about their experiences before and after the pandemic and coded their responses by identifying themes. She then analyzed the responses and created a poster that showcased their motivations, satisfaction, and advice for students pursuing a career as a PA. 

“My findings indicated that although stressful events such as COVID-19 may cause changes to the PA role, some PAs find navigating these challenges to be a rewarding experience,” Steinman said. “Advice for undergrads pursuing the PA career was centered around compassion, caring for others, a love of learning, and recognizing the positives of a collaborative relationship with physicians.”

Steinman said it was an honor to be recognized for her research and was proud to present a topic she is so passionate about. She said she felt impacted by the experiences and hoped to provide guidance to those interested in this field. Christy Rogers, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS), and she says Steinman's research is important for students considering a pre-PA tract.

“Providing evidence-based information about the experiences of PAs can inform student decision-making about careers in human sciences,” Rogers said. “Rebecca's research informs career planning, particularly in the College of Human Sciences. This is meaningful information that students would not be able to access otherwise, and Rebecca's research findings provide another layer of direction for undergraduate students considering PA school.”

This award motivates Steinman to continue impacting the community and providing assistance to those in need. She hopes to use her Human Sciences degree in her future career as a PA to better understand and connect with patients. 

The Human Sciences degree allows students to pick three concentrations to study. Students can choose at least two of your concentrations from academic departments within the College of Human Sciences, with the third coming from a department in any of Texas Tech's 10 colleges. This unique pathway provides a broad range of career opportunities. 

“What I have learned through completing my Human Sciences degree pushes me to be intentional and inclusive with community members,” Steinman said. “My concentrations in Nutrition, Health Professions, and Human Development and Family Sciences have taught me ways to approach health and wellness using the whole person and their experiences.”

Steinman noted that this degree allows her to learn how people operate, what challenges they may face, and apply her knowledge to help them as a whole. Students can customize their area of study with the Human Sciences degree, especially pre-health students. Human Sciences gives students a way to build on their strengths to make them well-rounded and more marketable to potential employers.  

“I love the vast array of opportunities presented to Human Sciences students,” Steinman said.  “There are many different roles and careers Human Sciences graduates may take on, and it's fascinating to think that I may be sitting beside future doctors, lawyers, researchers, or even PAs."