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Student Research Q&A: Nikki Falcon

Nikki Falcon working in a lab.
Nikki Falcon working in a lab.

Health Sciences student Nikki Falcon is heading into her senior year with a great deal of research experience. Falcon is currently working with School of Public and Population Health Professor Uwe Reischl on research concerning fire safety in textiles. Falcon also co-authored a paper on the topic with Dr. Reischl that will be presented at the Textile Bioengineering and Informatics Society Symposium later this August.

Read on to see her thoughts on her studies and research.


Q: What made you want to pursue a degree with SPPH and Boise State?

A: I found Boise to be a vibrant and active city with plenty of opportunities for extracurricular activities. It offers a wide range of cultural events, outdoor adventures, and a strong sense of community.  I appreciated the balance that Boise State University strikes between being a large institution and maintaining a close-knit community. Despite its size, the campus fosters an environment where students have the chance to form meaningful connections and build relationships with a diverse group of individuals.

My decision to pursue a degree at Boise State, particularly within the School of Public and Population Health, was influenced by the city’s cleanliness, safety, and overall appeal. The combination of a thriving city with an inviting campus atmosphere made it an ideal choice for me to pursue my academic and personal goals


Q: What do you enjoy most about your studies?

A: The thing I enjoy most about my studies is that I enjoyed a lot of the classes I took and liked all my professors so far. They have impacted my life a lot through all the knowledge they gave me. The classes I have taken have taught me to balance my life: my social, school and work life because to maintain a healthy, good life it is all about balancing your life.


Q: What encouraged you to join embark on your current research endeavors?

A: I was motivated to join Dr. Reischl’s research for several reasons. I had the opportunity to take his epidemiology class, and it was a transformative experience. Dr. Reischl’s teaching style was captivating, as he went beyond simply delivering lectures. He engaged with the students by sharing relevant stories, which made the subject matter more memorable and relatable.

I approached him directly to inquire if he had any ongoing research opportunities during the summer, and expressed my interest in participating. The combination of Dr. Reischl’s exceptional teaching style, passion for public health and reputation as a dedicated researcher encouraged me to pursue a research opportunity with him. I believe that working with such a wonderful professor will not only enhance my understanding of public health but also provide valuable experiences for my academic and professional development.


Q: What kind of research have you been working on over the summer?
Nikki Falcon times how long it will take for a textile to ignite.
Nikki Falcon times how long it will take for a textile to ignite.

A: Our research design involved meticulous testing of fabric samples, meticulous documentation of pre- and post-burning conditions, and thorough calculations to evaluate the extent of material consumption. These methods allowed us to gain valuable knowledge about the fire behavior of different fabrics and contribute to a better understanding of fire safety in relation to textile materials.

The primary objective was to determine the time it took for the fabrics to ignite and the duration until the flames were completely extinguished.


Q: What do you enjoy most about the research you’ve been conducting? 

A: One of the aspects I find most enjoyable about the research I’ve been conducting is the opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of fabric types and their combustion behavior. It has been eye-opening to discover that many fabrics are far more flammable than I previously imagined. The process of investigating their burn rates and understanding the factors that contribute to their combustibility has been both educational and intriguing.

Exploring the field of combustion and researching professions that involve managing fires, both big and small, has been incredibly interesting. Learning about the diverse range of jobs that deal with fire safety and prevention has expanded my understanding of the importance of fire management in various industries and contexts. The joy of this research lies in the continuous learning experience it provides. I am constantly gaining new insights into fabric properties, fire dynamics, and the wide array of careers dedicated to fire control. This knowledge not only enhances my understanding of fire safety but also opens doors to potential avenues for future research and professional opportunities in this field.


Q: What career or post-grad path do you hope to pursue after graduating?

A: Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree in health science, my next career goal is to apply to a sonography program. I am eager to embark on this path, as becoming a certified sonographer would allow me to utilize advanced imaging technology to assist in diagnosing and treating patients.