Adriana Sowell is a Bachelor of Science student in Sociomedical Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She earned an A.S. Liberal Arts and Sciences from Manchester Community College. As a black woman of both African American and Jamaican descent, she must navigate the all-pervasive and ever-present disease of racism daily. Her passions coalesce around the intersections of race, gender, disability, health and policy; more specifically maternal health, developmental disabilities, racial health inequities & disparities, social epidemiology, food justice and health & social policy.
She has advanced this work as a dual research fellow of the Health Disparities Clinical Summer Research Fellowship Program at UConn Health and the UConn University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She investigated, analyzed, and presented a poster presentation on healthcare transitions for patients with autism and autism competency in healthcare entitled, “An Analysis of Healthcare Provider Competency in Healthcare Transitions (HCT) for Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),” for which an electronic survey was crafted and sent to healthcare providers in Connecticut to assess their comfort, training, and experience treating patients with ASD and the HCT process. She is currently a research fellow on the Adaptation and Resilience Childhood Study (ARCS), at in the Department of Psychiatry at UConn Health, where we are interested in understanding how the differences in children’s biological and behavioral responses to stimuli will help to explain why some children develop emotional and behavioral problems whereas others are resilient following trauma. Also, she is currently a Student Advisory Board Member for the Pandemic Journaling Project, which is conducting research that documents the experiences of ordinary people during the historic pandemic, with a focus on vulnerable populations to understand how they cope.
Legislatively, as a Connecticut General Assembly Legislative Intern under Senator Steve Cassano, she conducted research, completed administrative tasks, attended hearings, created public relations documents through online research, conducted in-person interviews, took constituent phone calls and drafted reply emails, took notes and created brief write ups to assist Senator Cassano. Additionally, she also coordinated career panels, conducted interviews with lobbyists, attended a mock session in the house chamber, edited the yearbook, and conducted field work on a trip to a correctional facility to ensure her internship experience was engaging and informative and helped her understand how policy works through a health and social policy lens.
Adriana exercises her passions for social and racial justice through volunteer and mentor work. She has been an East Hartford Special Olympics Certified Assistant Coach since 2012, but has acted as a volunteer since she was a child, as her older sister has autism and has been involved as an athlete since she was a youth. As a former Phi That Kappa Honor Society President, she organized a voter registration drive at Manchester Community College, bringing local legislators to interact with the students. As a Minority Association Pre-Medical Students Vice President, she is helping to curate a program for underrepresented minority UConn undergraduates that engages them with the medical field in a holistic and valuable way.