Mitchell Singstock

Mitch Singstock at Dragonfly Forest, a summer camp for nuerodivergent and medically fragile children  

"My research with Dragonfly Forest was not predetermined. Rather it arose spontaneously from my passion for this unique summer camp that serves neurodiverse and medically fragile youth from across the country."  After the summer was over, Mitchell Singstock (Class of 2020) returned to Miami, still intrigued by all of the stories left unfinished. "Foremost, what was life like for these kids when they returned home? I had to know, so I created a research protocol, found common ground with the summer camp's interests, and positioned resources from the Dean's Scholars to learn more. I spoke with parents about their children and their children's health challenges. I learned what an incredible gift "feeling normal" is for a child that is pressured to feel abnormal 55 weeks of the year, and the value of having one week to feel like a normal kid. In the spring, my work was upended by COVID-19. My research protocol was disrupted to the extent that I would not be able to collect enough data for publishable results. Instead, I created a presentation that I shared with the camp to let them know the positive impact they have had on children and their families." 

"COVID-19 taught me a crucial lesson about research. Though we should always begin with the end in mind, it is important to have intermediate goals along the way, because you never know what doors will close due to unforeseen events, like a global pandemic. By setting smaller goals, I was still able to complete a useful, albeit incomplete project, in light of COVID-19. When you truly care about the issue you are studying, you will find ways to make an impact, even if your research project does not go as planned. "

Mitchell is currently a first year medical student at University of Cincinnati.