After completing her Masters degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Aisha O’Mally wasn’t thinking PhD. But after speaking with UB alum Andrew Quagliata she began to rethink that decision. Quagliata had just received his PhD when Aisha met him through the communication department at RIT.
“I met with Andrew to talk about applying for jobs since I had just completed my Masters degree. I briefly told him that my thesis examined organ donation messages targeted to the African-American community. I chose that topic because I am a heart recipient, so I know the importance of research in this area. He said that I should really think about getting my PhD given my passion for organ donation. He offered to introduce me to Dr. Thomas Feeley who is the chair of the communication department at UB, but most importantly does organ donation research.”
Aisha then connected with Dr. Feeley and made her way up to Buffalo to see what UB had to offer, and she was blown away. “After talking to Dr. Feeley I knew I had to apply, it would be stupid not to. There was nowhere else I wanted to go, UB was it. I wanted to work with Dr. Feeley because he knows so much about health campaigns, and organ donation. So I applied and the rest fell into place.” UB has allowed Aisha to pursue an area of interest that is very close to her, organ donation and transplantation. Working with Dr. Janet Yang, Aisha has helped to secure a grant to conduct research that will assist organ procurement organizations in Rochester create messages targeted to minority communities.
Aisha has also recognized her interest for teaching since arriving at UB. “Working with Dr. Rintamaki has opened my eyes to the world of pedagogy and how important it is to reach students in ways that are relevant to them. I want to be that professor that students remember long after I taught them. I want to push them, but also encourage them. It’s so amazing to see Lance interact with the undergraduates, they love him.”
Aisha knows that UB was the best and only choice for her. “I am so happy to be here. It’s a great experience to work with faculty that work so hard, it’s motivating. The professors here want you to succeed and are willing to help you get there. What more can you ask for in a program?”