SRD: 2017-2018 Awards

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The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs

SRD: 2017-2018 Awards

The Vice President’s Student Research in Diversity Grant Awards for 2017-2018

 1.     Acute Effects of Resistance Exercise Intensity in a Depressed HIV Sample: The Exercise for People who are Immunocompromised (EPIC) Study

By Sanaz Nosrat, Ph.d. Candidate in Kinesiology, Department of Biobehavioral Sciences

People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) experience a range of symptoms among which depression and fatigue are highly prevalent. Depressive symptoms and fatigue are important because they are linked to progression of the HIV disease, and poor medication adherence. Psychological distress is also linked to chronic low-grade systemic inflammation, which leads to development of other comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease. Therefore, exploring interventions to improve mental health of PLWH is of great importance. Research with the non-HIV population has shown that exercise as short as a single bout (i.e., single session) can stimulate beneficial changes in mental health and inflammation. Additionally, moderate intensity exercise bout is shown to stimulate greater psychological benefits compared to other intensities. Therefore, exercise might be an ideal tool with anti-inflammatory benefits to help with immediate mood regulation among PLWH. However, these effects are less clear with resistance exercise, and less examined with chronic diseased population (e.g., PLWH). Of note, research is specifically scarce with Black/African American PLWH who comprise the largest proportion of PLWH.  The primary aim is to test the acute (i.e., single session) effects of varying resistance exercise (RE; i.e., weightlifting) intensity on affect (i.e., feelings of pleasure/displeasure) and perceived activation (i.e., feelings of perceived fatigue) among Black/African American PLWH who experience depressive symptoms. The secondary aim is to test the acute effect of RE on inflammation through measuring interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in this population.


2.     The Paradox of High Achievement: African American Students' Experiences in Minority Recruitment Programs

By Makila Meyers, Ed.D. Candidate in Literacy Education, Department of Curriculum and Teaching

This research is about the intersection of equity and access. It problematizes progressive arguments against a segregated curriculum for high-achieving students by invoking a social justice argument in favor of leveling the playing field for traditionally marginalized students, specifically African Americans. This study looks at minority recruitment programs because while these programs seem to recruit a monolithic group of students, there are ranges of backgrounds and experiences represented. The programs of focus in my study all use conventional measures of success such as standardized test scores including the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT), essays, grades, teacher recommendations, and several rounds of interviews to admit middle school students of color. In addition to academic preparation, students participate in social and cultural events, and are mentored by program alumni. This qualitative case study employs document analysis and participant interviews to explore the Discourses on success and achievement produced by minority recruitment programs and the students that participate in them. This study looks at the narratives produced by (and through) program documents and interview African American students in order to examine where these narratives converge and where there is tension.



The Vice President’s Honorary Mention Awards for 2017-2018

 3.     Understanding Normative Disruption in Higher Education: A Case Study of Gender Inclusive Housing Policies

By Maria Anderson-Long, Ed.D. Candidate in Higher and Postsecondary Education, Department of Organization and Leadership

In the context of higher education, there is increasing national attention being placed on support services for transgender students. These students, while often included with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) students, face separate and unique issues related to their gender identity that services geared towards LGB students do not fully encompass. Often, policies that aim to provide transgender students with greater support and inclusion might also disrupt institutionalized norms predicated on the gender binary. In the last decade, colleges and universities across the country have begun to create more inclusive housing policies, many of which require evaluation of how the use of gendered facilities and language must shift in order to accommodate and include transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) students. It is therefore possible to examine the creation of Gender Inclusive Housing (GIH) policies as a means of better understanding how institutions of higher education might respond to such instances of normative disruption. Further, I aim to examine how the responses to such disruption might vary based on institutional characteristics, and therefore create variance in GIH policies across colleges and universities.

4.     Women Reproductive Health and Hygiene at Women Teacher Training Colleges in Rural Rajasthan, India: Case of a Pilot Campus

By Swati Makhija, M.A. Candidate in Science Education, Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology  

The proposed exploratory study will investigate the implementation of interventions addressing women's reproductive health and hygiene, at a pilot women teacher training college in rural Rajasthan, India, and at other comparable colleges in the area. The primary concern and research focus is to investigate the availability and current-status of medical health-care facilities for menstrual hygiene and pregnancy of women at these campuses. The study will summarize and critically appraise available evidence of any actually implemented Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM) and Pregnancy Management (PM) interventions, versus on-paper implementations. This study is not aimed at biomedical research involving human subjects. It is purely an exploratory initiative that aims at investigating current processes, systems, training, facilities, current knowledge, and infrastructure reflecting the present condition of MHM and PM. These two are very critical aspects for any women training/education institution. This study aims to establish this formally as a part of a broader research led by the researcher that aims to create a scalable framework for women teacher training colleges in rural settings. The broader research aims to create groundbreaking change in women teacher education by anchoring on various women empowerment areas, including MHM and PM interventions.