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Students learn importance of research through Undergraduate Research Awards Program

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College of Public Health and Human Sciences (CPHHS) undergraduate students are learning the importance research has on influencing the health and well-being of the community and beyond through the Undergraduate Research Awards Program (URAP).

In May, a group of more than 25 high-achieving URAP CPHHS students presented their findings at the annual OSU Celebration of Undergraduate Excellence event in the MU Plaza.

URAP EXSS student Jason Walker and Assistant Professor Siew Sun Wong.
URAP EXSS student Jason Walker and CPHHS Assistant Professor Siew Sun Wong.

“This experience showed me how important research is to my future career in physical therapy, because a career in health care will always be a continuous learning process,” says Exercise and Sport Science student Allison Conger, who worked with Assistant Professor Megan MacDonald on a research project titled “Examining the Influence of Social Behavior on Motor Skills During Physical Activity in Children with Physical Disabilities.”

“What I like most about being a URAP scholar is having the opportunity to work alongside the great minds of health and nutrition, and having the privilege to learn from them,” says Nutrition and Exercise and Sport Science student Luis Rivera, who worked with Assistant Professor Siew Sun Wong and Professor Melinda Manore on a research project titled “The WAVE ~ Ripples for Change Childhood Obesity Prevention Project for Soccer Teens.”

Supported by the college, the program is open to all undergraduate students interested in gaining a research perspective, developing relevant skills, enhancing their education, becoming engaged in their field and preparing them for their future.

By assessing unique learning opportunities and receiving stipend support for full-time majors in the college to actively participate in faculty research projects, the students gain invaluable real-world experience ranging from basic bench science to applied social science.

“What I like most about being a URAP scholar is having the opportunity to work alongside the great minds of health and nutrition, and having the privilege to learn from them.”

URAP HDFS student Abigail Johnstone and CPHHS Assistant Professor Bridget Hatfield.
URAP HDFS student Abigail Johnstone and CPHHS Assistant Professor Bridget Hatfield.

“Before URAP, I had no experience in research,” says Public Health student Christina Chac, who worked with Assistant Professor Kari-Lyn Sakuma on a research project titled “Alternative Tobacco Products and Marijuana in Hip Hop/R&B/Popular YouTube music videos.”

“The best aspect about being a URAP scholar is attending lab meetings, she says. “I have learned so much from my wonderful peers, graduate students and mentor from the research lab in terms of the art of research and academics. They have high motivation and inspiration in the research of alternative tobacco, marijuana and other substances, which makes me even more passionate about what I do.”

“The most interesting thing has been seeing the project from start to finish and watching an idea become a reality,” says Human Development and Family Sciences student Abigail Johnstone, who worked with Assistant Professor Bridget Hatfield on a research project titled “Public Assistance Programs and Child Behavior.”

“It’s incredible to see results and how they vary between families,” she says. “This experience has given me a deeper understanding of the research process and all of the inner workings that make a project successful.”

Oregon State Office of Undergraduate Research announces 2014-2015 award winners:

Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year: CPHHS Professor Megan McClelland.

Undergraduate Research Student of the Year Honorable Mention: CPHHS Exercise and Sport Science student Sarah Jacobi.

Best poster of respective college during Celebrating Undergraduate Excellence Poster Fair: College of Public Health and Human Sciences Nutrition student Jessica Reynolds, who worked with CPHHS Professor Emily Ho.

Liberal Arts student Jessica Alonso, who worked with CPHHS Professor Megan McClelland on children self-regulation skills research.

Continue reading to learn more about research CPHHS undergraduate students who participated in during the 2014-15 academic year.


Jessica Alfonzo

Faculty Researcher
Veronica Irvin

Research Project Title
Maintaining Bone Health Among Breast Cancer Patients

Project Overview
Women treated for breast cancer report a higher prevalence of osteoporosis, falls and fractures compared with women without cancer. However, women with breast cancer are not more likely to discuss risk of osteoporosis or falls with their physician than women without cancer. Treatment exists for osteoporosis, but many women do not know that they have osteoporosis. Screening for osteoporosis (such as a DXA scan for bone density) is recommended. This project will assess the needs and resources available to the breast cancer community in Oregon, such as discussion of osteoporosis prevention and falls with providers, referrals for osteoporosis screens, access to DXA machines and other assessment tools, prescriptions for drugs that reduce likelihood of osteoporosis and/or risk of fractures, and programs to encourage healthy bone behaviors (physical activity & calcium intake).


Ambor Brocket
Ambor-Brocket

Faculty researcher
Kathy Gunter

Research Project Title
Evaluation of the Better Bones & Balance Exercise DVD

Project Overview
The Better Bones & Balance (BBB) Program began as a dissertation project in 1994. It was translated into a community-based format and has been delivered throughout Oregon, Washington and Northern California since 2000. Due to popular demand, we have developed a BBB Exercise DVD. This project is a randomized study to evaluate the effectiveness of the BBB Program when delivered in the DVD format. We will recruit adults ages 55 and older and randomize them to either exercise or control conditions while measuring physical, psychosocial and cognitive variables as well as tracking fall incidence along with exercise compliance among those in the exercise group.


Ashley Callahan
Ashley-Callahan

Faculty researchers
Jangho Yoon and Karen Volmar

Research Project Title
State Psychiatric Certificate Of Need Laws: The Current Status

Project Overview
Certificate of Need (CON) programs are state laws aimed at restraining health care facility costs and allowing coordinated planning of new services and construction. Laws authorizing such programs are one mechanism by which state governments seek to reduce overall health and medical costs. Despite numerous changes in the past 30 years, about 36 states retain some type of CON program, law or agency as of December 2013. Nonetheless, little is known about the current status of psychiatric CON. The purpose of this project is two-fold: (a) to provide the historical account of psychiatric CON and document the current status; and (b) to generate preliminary data on state psychiatric CON regulations to be used for subsequent quantitative analysis on the effect of psychiatric CON on population mental health outcomes.


Christina Chac
Christina-Chac

Faculty researcher
Kari-Lyn Sakuma

Research Project Title
Alternative Tobacco Products and Marijuana related YouTube videos

Project Overview
This study seeks to explore how alternative tobacco products (cigars and cigarillos, specifically) and marijuana are represented in YouTube videos. “The research project entailed deriving a list of songs from the 2014 Billboard Top 25 Hits of Hip Hop and R&B songs, resulting in 112 ranked song titles,” Christina says. “From there, I downloaded the videos of the songs from a website that converted YouTube video links to MP4 videos. After the videos were downloaded, the coding process was launched by three independent coders. We coded seven pilot videos to make sure that what we were viewing matched with one another’s results. From there, 29 videos were coded to obtain the results that were presented.”

The most fascinating aspect about this research project is that I am able to combine my interest in hip-hop/R&B/rap music and correlate it to an important public health issue,” she says. “I am doing what I love, which is listening to music, but watching these music videos intensively to identify substances that are portrayed. It has definitelymade me more aware of the substances that are portrayed in my interest of music.”


Lauren Chan
Lauren-Chan

Faculty researchers
Melinda Manore and Siew Sun Wong

Research Project Title
The WAVE~Ripples for Change Childhood Obesity Prevention Project for Soccer Teens

Project Overview
The WAVE Project is a 5-year, multidisciplinary, integrated project (Extension + Research + Education), funded by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture. The project aims to prevent unhealthy weight gain among active youth through physical-world and virtual-world experiential learning. The Pilot Study (Year 1 of 2) is ongoing and enrolling soccer youth, parents and coaches.


Claire Chappuis
Claire-Chappuis

Faculty researchers
Deborah John

Research Project Title
GROW Healthy Kids and Communities (HKC): Examining perceptions of community and school healthy eating and activity environment resources and community/school readiness to change the rural context for obesity prevention

Project Overview
This project seeks to further examine rural residents’ perceptions of healthy eating and activity built environment resources and relate resources to dimensions of community readiness to change the rural context for obesity prevention. Additionally, this project will evaluate the utility of the SPAN-ET when used by SNAP-Ed program staff to assess and influence the school policy, systems, and environment for obesity prevention.


Dlanie Coates
Dlanie-Coates

Faculty researcher
Steph Bernell

Research Project Title
The Role of Gun Violence on Health Expenditures

Project Overview
This is a new project that involves investigating the role that gun violence has on health expenditures. The hypothesis is that states with more liberal gun laws will have higher health expenditures related to gun violence and illegal drugs, a higher level of uncompensated care and a higher level of violence related health expenditures.


Allison Conger
Allison-Conger

Faculty researcher
Megan MacDonald

Research Project Title
Examining the Influence of Social Behavior on Motor Skills During Physical Activity in Children with Physical Disabilities.

A motor skills-based early intervention for young children with disabilities.

Project Overview
In this project, young children with disabilities participated in a motor skills-based early intervention for young children with disabilities. The goal of the project was to improve motor skills.

“The purpose of this investigation is to examine relations of social behaviors and fundamental motor skill performance during physical activity in children with physical disabilities in order to further guide and support participation-based therapy methods,” Allison says. “We observed children participating in IMPACT to observe this relationship.

Learning more about the principles of physical activity for children with physical disabilities will continue the conversation on pursuing various methods to improve their motor development, she says”

This experience studying physical activity with children has taught me how vital it is to incorporate physical activity in a child’s life during their formative years, she says. “A child’s level of physical activity has an incredible impact of their overall development.”


Erika Cook
Erika-Cook

Faculty researcher
Sam Logan

Research Project Title
Advancing Locomotion in Children with Down Syndrome Via Use of a Modified Ride-on Toy Car

Project Overview
This is a federally-funded project that provides a modified ride-on car to infants with Down syndrome. Our ride-on cars combine the fun and exploration of powered mobility with the ability to advance balance, strength and coordination through therapeutic exercises while infants practice sitting, standing and walking. This project will determine the feasibility and effect of ride-on car training on sitting, standing and walking (Aim 1), and on infants’ broader cognitive, language and social-emotional development (Aim 2).


Erika Cooley
Erika-Cooley

Faculty researcher
Sam Logan

Research Project Title
Advancing Locomotion in Children with Down Syndrome Via Use of a Modified Ride-on Toy Car

Project Overview
This is a federally-funded project that provides a modified ride-on car to infants with Down syndrome. Our ride-on cars combine the fun and exploration of powered mobility with the ability to advance balance, strength and coordination through therapeutic exercises while infants practice sitting, standing and walking. This project will determine the feasibility and effect of ride-on car training on sitting, standing and walking (Aim 1), and on infants’ broader cognitive, language, and social-emotional development (Aim 2).


Michelle Correia
Michelle-Correia

Faculty researcher
Marc Norcross

Research Project Title
The Influences of Rapid Torque Production and Functional Exercise on ACL-injury Related Landing Biomechanics

Project Overview
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a traumatic event with immediate and long-term consequences for knee function. While specific landing profiles have been identified that likely increase ACL-injury risk, it is not clear how rapid torque development (RTD) and the reduction in torque producing capacity following functional exercise influence the use of these high-risk profiles. These relationships will be explored by measuring lower extremity RTD and landing biomechanics before and after a functional exercise protocol.


Emmalee Cron
Emmalee-Cron

Faculty researcher
Joonkoo Yun

Research Project Title
The Effects of Video Modeling on Motor Performance Assessment Among Children with ASD.

Project Overview
Traditional motor skill assessment protocols rely strongly on verbal communication and social interactions. One of the limitations of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is their difficulty with social interactions. Some studies suggest the possibility that certain assessment protocols may not be appropriate or accurate for this population and suggest different ways to measure their motor skill performance. This study will examine the effects of video modeling using tablet technology on motor skill performance among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Caroline Hansen
Caroline-Hansen

Faculty researcher
Emily Ho

Research Project Title
Moore Family Center – Whole Grain Web-Based Tools and Evaluation

Project Overview
The Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health (MFC) is revising its web presence, aiming to be a hub for the public to access credible, research-based applications of information about healthy eating.


Katie Iggulden
Katie-Iggulden

Faculty researchers
Jeff Bethel, Laurel Kincl and David White

Research Project Title
Use of All-Terrain Vehicles in Oregon’s Agricultural Industry: Perspectives of Employers, Youth and Extension Educators

Project Overview
Youth employed in the agricultural industry are engaged in one of the nation’s most hazardous occupations. Use of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) adds to the dangers they face while working on farms and ranches. The college’s Oregon ATV Safety Youth Rider Endorsement Program provides training for youth riding recreationally. However, youth are increasingly riding ATVs in the agricultural setting to perform work related tasks. No program exists that provides youth with the education and training needed to safely operate ATVs in the agricultural environment. This project would collect preliminary data in Oregon to compare and contrast the uses of ATVs in the agricultural industry through the perspectives of employers, youth workers and OSU Extension educators. Oregon farmers, ranchers and Extension educators will be surveyed online using Qualtrics. Youth workers will be surveyed at state FFA Conventions and 4-H Conferences. Results from this project will be used to support the development, testing and implementation of an agricultural ATV safety program to compliment current nationally recognized tractor safety programs.


Abigail Johnstone
Abigail-Johnstone

Faculty researcher
Bridget Hatfield

Research Project Title
Parent-Child Interactions and Parenting Stress after a Parenting Education Series

Project Overview
We are conducting a research study to understand the change in responsive, sensitive mother-child interactions and mother’s biological stress, due to participation in a parenting education series.

“In this study we observed the quality of behavior and parent child interactions during a Structured Play Task (SPT) SPT,” Abigail says. “The SPT consisted of six minutes of free play between mothers and their 3-4 year old children playing with wood construction toys, wooden round logs and transportation toys. The quality of behavior and interactions were coded on a 1-7 child behavior scale, 7 rating highest. Mothers also completed a self-report survey, which described chaos levels in the home and involvement in public assistance programs.”

This project will help us to better understand how chaos levels and participation in public assistance programs affect parent-child relationships. This will allow us to see if there are any correlations and subsequently evaluate how to better support families,” she says.


Deanna Kunkle
Deanna-Kunkle

Faculty researcher
Deborah John

Research Project Title
GROW Healthy Kids and Communities (HKC): Examining perceptions of community and school healthy eating and activity environment resources and community/school readiness to change the rural context for obesity prevention

Project Overview
This project seeks to further examine rural residents’ perceptions of healthy eating and activity built environment resources and relate resources to dimensions of community readiness to change the rural context for obesity prevention. Additionally, this project will evaluate the utility of the SPAN-ET when used by SNAP-Ed program staff to assess and influence the school policy, systems, and environment for obesity prevention.


Jane Martin
Jane-Martin

Faculty researchers
Siew Sun Wong and Mary Cluskey

Research Project Title
OSU MyPlate Web & Phone App Nutrition Education Module Development

Project Overview
The Better Eating Starts Today (BEST) Project is part of the OSU Healthy Campus Initiative funded by PacificSource Health Care. It aims to prevent unhealthy weight gain among OSU campus community, especially college students. One of the products from this 2-year research study is the OSU MyPlate web app. The app is designed to promote healthy lifestyles through the tracking of food intake and bowel health.


Lauren Maulden
Lauren-Maulden

Faculty researcher
Kate MacTavish

Research Project Title
Coming of Age on the Edge of Town

Project Overview
While many young people face educational, social and economic challenges during the transition to adulthood, those challenges are considerably exacerbated for the one in five rural youth who make that transition in the context of poverty. We know from our previous work that family and community investments made early in life work to position low-income rural youth on developmental trajectories toward broader life chances. Yet it is unclear whether these early interventions are sufficient to sustain positive development as youth transition into adulthood. How low-income young people fare as they make the transition to adulthood will have long-range implications for their individual well-being and that of their families and communities.

Our preliminary ethnographic data of low-income children (ages 8-10) and youth (ages 15-16) in rural trailer parks indicate that while these young people faced formidable challenges, a pattern of deep engagement with middle-class mentors and isolation from the influences of their low-resource neighborhoods supported positive development during adolescence. The objective of this project is to identify the extent to which early access to supports and protections is sufficient to sustain positive development as these same youth navigate the transition to adulthood a decade later.


Shelby (Lynn) Porter
Shelby-(Lynn)-Porter

Faculty researchers
Jen Beamer and Joonkoo Yun

Research Project Title
The Effects of a Service Learning Program for Individuals with Disabilities on Acceptance of Diversity

Project Overview
Many advocates argue for a shift in the view of disability from a condition residing in the individual to a limitation created by the interaction between environment and individual. This contemporary belief views disability as an issue of diversity. However, many current research studies in disability employ the traditional medical model view rather than the diversity model. This project has two distinct aims. The first aim of this study is to examine the feasibility of the diversity model within the context of research. The second aim is to examine the effects of the IMPACT program on the acceptance of diversity among undergraduate participants.


Jessica Reynolds
Jessica-Reynolds

Faculty researcher
Emily Ho

Research Project Title
Effects of Whole Grains on Inflammation, Glucose Intolerance and Gut Microbiota in High Fat-Diet Fed Mice

Project Overview
The consumption of whole grains is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases, and may act in part via the suppression of inflammatory processes associated with these conditions. The goal of this study is to examine the effects of whole grains, or whole grain components, in affecting inflammation, glucose intolerance and gut microbiota in mice fed a high fat, “Western-type” diet.


Luis Jose Rivera, Jr.
Luis-Jose-Rivera-Jr

Faculty researchers
Melinda Manore and Siew Sun Wong

Research Project Title
The WAVE~Ripples for Change Childhood Obesity Prevention Project for Soccer Teens

Project Overview
The WAVE Project is a 5-year, multidisciplinary, integrated project (Extension + Research + Education), funded by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture. The project aims to prevent unhealthy weight gain among active youth through physical-world and virtual-world experiential learning. The Pilot Study (Year 1 of 2) is ongoing and enrolling soccer youth, parents and coaches.
“This research will make a difference by lessening the health gap that a high school athlete may encounter once transitioning into the college environment as a traditional student,” Luis says. “The most fascinating aspect of my research was the amount of dedication, desire, passion and curiosity it took to implement an idea that started from a scratch piece of paper into a real world application, where one day it may be able to benefit others.”


Maira Rodriguez

Faculty researcher
Tina Dodge Vera

Research Project Title
Poder Comunitario: Latino Community Capacity Building and Empowerment Project.

Project Overview
Since 2011, the Outreach Collaborative for a Healthy Oregon “Poder Comunitario – Community Empowerment” Linn County Project has used a participatory framework to engage Latino youth and adults in comprehensive leadership trainings. These programs worked to increase their skills and self-efficacy in developing and advocating for effective community interventions. “Familias Activas” continue to develop their leadership skills and make policy recommendations that improve the overall health and well-being of Latinos living in the region. These emerging leaders are important new stakeholders in relaying information about health and social services to the Latino community. Post evaluation will be conducted using semi-structured interviews and include self-efficacy, community inclusion, leadership skills and confidence to enhance explosive movements and decrease injury.


Kelsey Uno
Kelsey-Uno

Faculty researcher
Sam Johnson

Research Project Title
Neurological Adaptations to Explosive Strength Training

Project Overview
Rapid muscle contractions are important during explosive movements and injury situations. However, the neurological mechanisms controlling these rapid muscle contractions are not fully understood. The aim of this study is to examine how the neurological mechanisms change after an exercise training program that has been shown to increase rapid muscle contraction. The long-term goal of this line of research is to determine how to better train rapid muscle contraction to enhance explosive movements and decrease injury.


Jason Walker
Jason-Walker

Faculty researchers
John Schuna and Melinda Manore

Research Project Title
The WAVE Project: Development and Testing of Novel PA Assessment Tools for Obesity Prevention

Project Overview
The WAVE Project is a 5-year, multidisciplinary, integrated project (Extension + Research + Education), funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project aims to prevent unhealthy weight gain among active youth through physical-world and virtual-world experiential learning. We are currently developing and testing physical activity (PA) assessment tools for this population, including the development of a new novel PA device. The Pilot Study (Year 1 of 2) is ongoing and enrolling soccer youth, parents and coaches.


Haylee Winden
Haylee-Winden

Faculty researcher
Sam Logan

Research Project Title
Go Baby Go: Creating the Next Generation of Pediatric Technology

Project Overview
Go Baby Go is a community-based, assistive technology (AT) research, design and outreach program that works with families, clinicians and industry to provide pediatric AT to children with disabilities for movement, mobility and socialization. Our primary mission is to provide modified ride-on cars to children with disabilities to use as a means of exploration. There is a need to establish and expand this program in Corvallis and the surrounding areas. Approximately 80% of time will be spent in lab while 20% of time will be directly interacting with children and families.