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Felycitie Lindsay ’22

2021 SOAR Profile

Interviews with community stakeholders who work with immigrants and refugees in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Major: Public Health
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Project Advisor(s): Dr. Colleen Payton

Briefly describe your project.

The project was a qualitative research study that examined the community supports available for immigrants and refugees in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. The two objectives of this project were to:
1. Map organizations that support immigrants and refugees in the Lehigh Valley 
2. Interview key community stakeholders about barriers and solutions to supporting immigrant and refugee populations in the Lehigh Valley.


Felycitie Lindsay ’22

Describe the origin of your project. (E.g., did you pitch the idea and choose a faculty member, or did they come to you with an idea?)

I approached Dr. Payton with the idea of collaborating for a SOAR project, and Dr. Payton then described to me the research that she had started on immigrant and refugee health. I was immediately interested in the content and we agreed to continue the research together through SOAR.

What’s the best part about working with your faculty mentor? What valuable insights have they brought to your project?

The best part about working with Dr. Payton is the passion she exudes for social justice and equitable healthcare. Dr. Payton’s areas of interest include refugee health and maternal and child health; her knowledge and expertise in these areas have helped me cultivate an understanding of how to conduct research about marginalized populations with cultural humility.

What has been your biggest obstacle so far?

My biggest obstacle so far has been learning how to adequately prioritize and manage multiple tasks at once. With Dr. Payton’s professional encouragement, I have continued to develop my project management skills and professionalism.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

My biggest takeaway from this experience has been that my knowledge and experience as a resident of the Lehigh Valley can be valuable to building connections within the community. This listening tour provided me with an opportunity to hear the needs of the community and analyze the findings through qualitative coding in Nvivo.

What was the result of your project?

The main themes that emerged from the interviews were categorized as barriers and solutions to providing support to immigrants and refugees in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. The barriers related to serving newcomer population groups include the political atmosphere, culturally and linguistically appropriate services, and the built and social environment. Potential solutions include increasing communication; long-term community collaboration and sustainability; culturally responsive training and teaching; case manager support and newcomer self-sufficiency.

In your own words, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity? Why should other students take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian University?

I feel fortunate to have been awarded this opportunity. It is my hope that this research results in positive interventions for the community to improve the health outcomes of newcomer populations. I feel that other students should apply and participate in the SOAR program because it gives the student-researcher the opportunity to develop their professional and research skills, as well as experience on their career path.

Now that SOAR is over, do you plan to expand upon your research? If so, how?

I would love to expand my research by continuing to listen to the needs of the community as the newcomer populations change over time. It would be great to implement an intervention in partnership with community organizations to address the identified barriers to supporting newcomer populations.

Have you, or do you plan to present this research outside the SOAR presentations? If so, where? Be specific, if possible.

Yes, Dr. Payton and I are in the process of writing a summary report to share with the community stakeholders. We plan to submit an abstract for a poster presentation at a public health conference, as well as write a manuscript and submit it to a public health journal.