Meet Madeline Leite, A Volunteer Helping Alzheimer's Research Happen

Madeline Leite, a volunteer at the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital

Madeline Leite knows that she wants her life’s work to be centered around helping people to live their best life.

When she first enrolled in college, the Rehoboth, MA native and Johnson and Wales University senior thought she’d achieve that goal by becoming an occupational therapist. But the further she got in her studies, the more interested she became in psychology, mental health and research.

 

That bend in the road is what led Leite, who is majoring in Health Sciences, to become a volunteer at the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital in August, 2020.

 

“I wanted to experience what it would be like to work in the research setting,” Leite says. “My sister did an internship at Butler Hospital a few years ago and really liked it, so I looked into the options available at Butler through JWU’s experiential internship office and found out about the Memory and Aging Program.”

 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has limited the range of things that Leite has been able to do with the program thus far, she says the last few months have already been a valuable and enlightening experience.

 

“I’m usually in the office once per week for now, helping the study coordinators to file and organize information related to their various studies. This is my first look behind the scenes at how research actually works and It’s been really interesting to see,” she says.

 

When she’s not helping on the research side, Leite is helping on the program’s more public side by assisting the Outreach Team, although COVID has limited that outreach to mostly virtual settings for now.

 

“Right now I mostly help the team with office work, but I’m really looking forward to getting involved with their community outreach events as well, once the pandemic has passed and more in-person events are being held,” Leite says.

 

Although Leite says she still hasn’t settled on exactly what she wants to do after graduation in the spring, she does know one thing: she’s looking forward to figuring it out through continued involvement at the Memory and Aging Program.

 

“I’m just really using this time to figure out what I like and what I don’t like by trying to actually experience it,” Leite says. “So far I’ve found the field of clinical research to be really interesting, and the entire team at the Memory and Aging Program is so kind, positive and helpful. It’s been a great experience.”

 

To learn more about volunteering at the Memory and Aging Program, visit butler.org/memory/volunteer.

 

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