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Patrice Hicks at graduation
How Patrice is Moving Forward
Patrice Hicks shares her personal story of struggles and loss during the pandemic, and her glimmer of hope for the future.

Patrice, how are you really? 


 I'm Patrice and I am currently doing my post-doc at the University of Michigan. During the pandemic, I was a doctoral candidate in the department of population health sciences at the University of Utah.

 When anyone asks me about this past year, I tell them that it’s been an emotional roller coaster. The pandemic started at one of the busiest times for me in my program.The week before shutdown, I had just passed my qualifying examination, and I was excited about my dissertation proposal defense. I didn't know it then, but by the time I would defend my proposal, I would have lost three of my relatives to COVID. That summer, as I adapted to completing all my milestones over Zoom, I watched as racial injustice finally arrived at the forefront of our country’s focus.  

Just when I finally felt like I had everything under control, I lost my mother-in-law one week before my dissertation defense. She had been so excited to attend via Zoom. When she passed, I didn't know what to do, or how to comfort my husband. I wasn’t looking forward to this big milestone in my program anymore. I couldn't even celebrate with my parents, because they had contracted COVID at the time. It just didn't feel like the day I had dreamt of for so long.  

Although this year was not what I had originally planned, I'm finally starting to see some glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel.

Because of the vaccination, I was able to attend my husband's law school graduation this past week, and finally spend more time with my family. I get to graduate next week, and I'm looking forward to starting my post-doc.  

This year was tough, to say the least, but I'm eager to return to normalcy at last. I'm thankful for my support system within my department, which has been so helpful through everything I've experienced this past year. I'm looking forward to what the future holds for me. 


Patrice Hicks

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan

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