As we continue the fight against COVID-19, there seems to be no better time to spotlight Nikki Weinstein. She has been supporting our clients with educating people about the COVID vaccines. She recently helped develop a resource, “12 COVID-19 Vaccination Strategies for Your Community*,” to assist state and local health departments and community organizations across the country with increasing COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake. While she’s been incredibly busy this past year, she still makes time to camp with her family. Here’s a little more about Nikki, her work, interests, and her journey to public health.
Q: What is your position and what do you do?
I am an Evaluation Specialist IV, and I am serving as the co-lead for the research task on the COVID-19 Vaccine Communication and Education Support project.
Q: What has been your favorite project at Karna and why?
Well, that’s an easy one—I’ve only worked on the COVID-19 Vaccine Communication and Education Support project! It is a favorite though because it’s a chance to contribute to the most critical public health issue at this time and to work with a wonderful team of people. There is real satisfaction in working with a capable team to complete a project piece that the client finds useful. These pieces that we contribute feed into the larger effort of getting everyone vaccinated against COVID-19.
Q: What have you gained from working at Karna?
Karna has really been an opportunity to do work that I enjoy doing with people I enjoy working with. One personal gain is that I look forward to going to work every day.
Q: What do you do to stay fit/healthy?
Honestly, not enough! But especially since the pandemic, we’ve made even more effort to cook healthy meals and not eat out often or eat many processed foods.
Q: Where is your hometown?
St. Louis, Missouri
Q: What did you want to be growing up?
The cameraman for a travel television show. I didn’t want to be on-camera but loved travel and journalism and thought that might be the way to go – not that I know anything about film. It was either that or a social worker…so I became a social worker.
Q: You’re happiest when?
Planning and taking a trip to somewhere new.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
I love camping in our pop-up camper with my husband and 7-year-old daughter. My daughter absolutely loves being outside. She can happily spend hours just throwing rocks in a creek. Seeing her so happy when we’re camping is the best.
Q: Anything you would like to add or say to help your colleagues and clients know you a little better?
Family is really important to me. I’m close with lots of cousins. My husband thinks we can’t go out anywhere in St. Louis without running into someone from my family.
My career path has been anything but a straight line. I have a lot of interests professionally and have been so fortunate to be able to pursue so many of them. Jobs have run the gamut from working with adults experiencing mental illness to running a social justice leadership program to working on regional tax reform and housing policy. But, the theme of my work has always been about giving people a voice and contributing to the community. I fell into research and was surprised at what a good fit it is for me and how public health research allows me to continue that theme of my career.
* The Karna field guide team consisted of Kelly Clay, Roderick Hopkins, Alange Jacobs, Lorraine Janeczko, Aparna Ramakrishnan, Torey Repetski, Leslie Rodriguez, Randall Simpson, and Nicole Weinstein.