CCC student crosses the globe for research


CCC student Brittney Hornsby is off to New Zealand this summer to conduct health-related research.


Flagstaff, Ariz. – Coconino Community College student Brittney Hornsby has been to Canada and Mexico, but she never thought she’d be traveling half-way around the world for her college studies.

Hornsby was notified recently that she will be traveling to New Zealand in the summer of 2017 to conduct research as part of a training program offered through Northern Arizona University.

“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” Hornsby said. “It’s sort of surreal. I feel so fortunate.”

The program, Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT), supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, is a 10-week opportunity offered to qualified students at CCC, NAU and Diné College. MHIRT offers students international experiences in biomedical, health, ecological and social sciences to research health disparities among the world’s indigenous populations.

“It’s designed for undergraduate research aimed to minorities who are going into the healthcare field,” said Hornsby, who is Navajo.

Hornsby, who has already graduated from CCC with an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies, has applied to the nursing program at CCC, NAU, University of Arizona, University of Washington and University of Pittsburgh. She is taking classes at CCC and is employed at CCC as a part-time worker while awaiting word on which programs will accept her. She was encouraged to apply for the MHIRT program in the meantime.

The program offers research opportunities in different areas of the globe, and in the case of NAU, the choices included the Phillipines, New Zealand, Australia and Ghana.

“I chose New Zealand for clinical research, which would be good for a nursing student,” Hornsby said. “I thought it would be more beneficial to me prior to nursing school.”

The program covers round-trip airfare to the international study site; room and board; tuition and feels up to $2,000; college credit; health insurance and laboratory supplies while abroad; and a monthly stipend for other living and travel expenses.

Hornsby said she wasn’t sure on how many students applied for the research opportunity, but she was one of 30 who were chosen to interview for a spot. Fifteen students were chosen for the summer 2017 program.

“To actually get an interview was exciting enough,” Hornsby said. “But to get in was amazing. I’m still shocked.”

Hornsby said she will be stationed in the city of Dunedin on the coast of the southern island of New Zealand. The research will focus on the indigenous people of New Zealand, called Māori, and the students will split their time between the University of Otago and the hospital.

Hornsby is from Flagstaff and her parents and her three younger sisters still live in the city. She is a first-generation college student, and while at CCC, she took advantage of the TRiO program. TRiO helps first-generation students achieve success in their college endeavors. Hornsby is also a CCC2NAU student, which allows for a seamless transition to a four-year university from community college. She also participated for two semesters in CCC’s Bridges to Baccalaureate program, which offers research opportunities for Native American students.

The MHIRT training runs for 10 weeks beginning on June 1, 2017.

“It’s going to be very exciting, but it’s going to be very difficult as well,” Hornsby said. “It my first time this far from family. It’ll be a little scary, but I’m excited for the adventure.”


Thursday, 15th December 2016

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  • Thursday, 15th December 2016