People of I-LABS: Rachel Kinsinger

People of I-LABS
Vibrant, super-smart and caring: these are just a few of the qualities that describe the dozens of interdisciplinary researchers at I-LABS. Their innovative ideas and technological savviness help drive the Institute's reputation as a world leader in child development and brain science.
And their kindness, professionalism and sense of humor greet all of the hundreds of families that volunteer each year for studies at I-LABS.
In the "People of I-LABS" series, we get to know the research scientists, post-doctoral fellows and other researchers who make up the elite team at I-LABS.
Answer as many questions as you like—the more, the better. And please send a photo of you in your “natural habitat”— beyond I-LABS!
Please tell us a little about yourself. Where do you come from? What are you doing at I-LABS?
I was born and raised in a super small Dutch town in Northwest Iowa with my parents and three sisters. I went to Northwestern College in that same small town in Iowa, receiving my bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology. In 2014 I got married to my high school sweetheart, Graham, and we moved to southern California where I received my master’s degree as a child life specialist from Loma Linda University. After graduation, I completed a child life fellowship at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH), focusing on the surgical unit, and then became the first child life specialist in MRI and radiology at LLUCH. In April of 2018, my husband got a job in marketing with the Seahawks, and I joined him in June, starting here at I-LABS as a research assistant. I am also a child life specialist at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma. In my free time, you’ll find me FaceTiming my sisters, mostly to see what my nephew Liam and my niece Ella are up to, (and my soon-to-be-born nephew!) and am a weirdly huge fan of anything “nerdy” – especially Harry Potter.  
What are your responsibilities here?
I am a research assistant in the Kuhl Lab, working on the ins and outs of all our different studies, including recruitment and running the appointments. My specialty is definitely teaching kids about MRIs, preparing them, and helping them cope through the procedure. At LLUCH, my main goal was to pull as many kids off the general anesthesia list and help them do MRIs awake. While MRI has been my favorite area of child life, I have really enjoyed getting involved in all aspects of each research study here at I-LABS!
What's your most significant career accomplishment so far?
My most significant career accomplishment so far is definitely creating a child life specialist position in MRI and radiology at LLUCH. During my fellowship, which is an entry-level, one-year position for new child life graduates, I saw the need for a child life specialist to provide services to that unit and population, which LLUCH did not have. During my one year, I slowly started to implement services and show how beneficial a child life specialist can be for children coming to the hospital for MRIs and other radiology procedures. After my fellowship ended, the radiology department hired me as the first child life specialist in radiology at LLUCH, and even though I moved a little under a year later, I was able to train the next child life fellow in radiology to continue growing something I was so passionate about.
What’s something we might not know about you? (something fun! Secret talents? Cool travels? Adorable pets?)
In my very Dutch hometown, we have a heritage festival called Tulip Festival every May where we wear authentic clothing from our ancestors’ province (mine is Gelderland), wooden shoes included, eat tons of amazing Dutch food (my favorites are saucijsjes and poffertjes!), Dutch dance, ride on floats, and listen to the very popular high school marching band, who marches in wooden shoes. Hundreds of tulip bulbs are shipped from the Netherlands every winter to be in full bloom in May. When I was in high school, I was on the Tulip Court, where seniors in high school are voted by the town to be royalty during the Tulip Festival. We got a very fancy and authentic Dutch costume from the rich province of Hindeloopen and the town will scrub the streets ahead of our float so the streets are clean for the queen. It may sound like I am joking because this is all very weird (which I did not find out until college), but it is very true and very awesome. Breng ons een bezoek!