Spotlight on Interns: Jessica Blixt-Logan

CBAM is fortunate to be a part of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) summer intern program for underrepresented minority students. Each year, we host 1-2 students, providing an introduction to substance use and addiction research. As much as they learn from us, we are surprised each year at how much we learn from them. So we sat down with each intern to learn more about their interests and experiences and about what brought them to the internship.

Where do you currently attend school and what are you studying?
I go to Columbia University in the city of New York and I’m majoring in music. I’m also on the Pre-Med Track. I am now a Junior.

Did you know you wanted to major in those subjects when you started or did it take you time to come to those decisions?
I did not know that I wanted to major in music, but I did know I wanted to be on the Pre-Medical track. I’ve been interested in becoming a doctor for a while. At first, I was on a different track and wanted to become a professional musician, but after the college audition process I decided that I wanted to do something more academic. I was drawn back to my original idea of studying medicine and decided to pursue that.

What’s your favorite course you’ve taken so far?
I really liked statistics, and especially how my teacher taught the class. He taught us to be skeptical of studies and to see if they’re reliable. We even got to make our own projects and do our own studies which was interesting. I definitely liked that.

What kind of medicine are you interested in studying?
I’d like to be a primary care doctor, specifically a Pediatrician. I worked with children at a camp last summer and I teach kids music during the school year, so working with that population has gotten me interested in pediatrics.

What are you working on this summer at CBAM?
We’re working on creating literature reviews and completing a presentation for the CBAM staff. I was originally going to study SBIRT in adolescents, but now I’m starting to look at buprenorphine, which is used in adolescents for opioid dependence.

How did you get interested in the NIDA internship in particular?
Two reasons: first, I think that addiction is so prevalent in our society and it never hurts to know more about that, especially when you’re going to be treating patients. Second, there’s always a bit of yourself that’s personally connected to what you’re interested in, and for me I have some family that have struggled with addiction. It’s really interesting and relevant to see how new approaches to treating addiction can change the structure of the brain.

Do you have any advice for those who are starting college?
Reach out and try different things—we are so young and we don’t really know what we want to do yet. Your interests can change so quickly, so it’s important to be open to new opportunities.


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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