Summer 2022 Community-Academic Scholars Projects

Research projects addressing diverse community needs

IHSI's Community-Academic Scholars Initiative matches undergraduates with academic mentors and community partners to address issues affecting our community. This year’s program includes 14 powerful projects that address a range of topics including rural healthcare, poverty and social inequality, nutrition, educational equity, disability awareness, social-emotional learning, technology and aging, racial disparities, Veterans’ issues, postpartum pain, and socio-cultural connectedness among Black youth.

Adapting an Established Cultural Humility Training to a Student-Run Clinic Volunteer Population

Community-Academic Scholar Maria Becerra will work with Carle Illinois College of Medicine Clinical Associate Professor Grace L. Park,  Illinois Extension Specialist Dr. Margarita Teran-Garcia, and Avicenna Health Center to refine existing cultural humility training modules to implement Illinois Extension's cultural humility and bias training to be more tailored to the current needs of the student-run clinic population and volunteer staff.

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Celebrating Black Humanity and Joy as Healing: Body, Mind, Soul, Society and Nature

Community-Academic Scholar Kayla Lambert will work with Sociology Professor Ruby Mendenhall and Girls Like Me to create a published picture book and community exhibit about Black girls', mothers', and other mothers' mental health (coping mechanisms) and celebrate the beauty and daily lives of Black women and girls.

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Designing Outreach for the Champaign Park District to Engage Underserved Groups

Community-Academic Scholar Kaiya Bernard will work with Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences Professor Warren Lavey and Champaign Park District (CPD) staff to develop and conduct a survey for effective community outreach to obtain guidance for CPD's facilities and programs and improve the experiences of underserved groups. 

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Disability Awareness Training and Education Program: Expansion and integration into community partner procedures

Community-Academic Scholar Chance Flemming will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Professor Laura Rice, Urbana Park District, Champaign Park District, and The Center for Integrated Wellness to implement a disability training program to provide education to fitness staff members working at the community partner's fitness facilities.

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EMPOWER Nutrition Intervention for Obesity Associated Comorbidity Reduction at Local, Underserved, Minority communities

Community-Academic Scholar Alison Brandvold will work with Nutritional Sciences Professor Manabu Nakamura and Champaign County Christian Health Center (CCCHC) to assess patient health disparities that can be alleviated by the online weight loss EMPOWER program and develop a plan to overcome logistic hurdles to start intervention.

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Implementation of ASPIRE Program: Using Storytelling to Explore and Foster Socio-Cultural Connectedness Among Black Youth

Community-Academic Scholar Gabrielle (Gabby) Calderon will work with Human Development & Family Studies Professor Shardé Smith and DREAAM House to analyze existing pilot evaluation data, refine the ASPIRE program based on pilot data in collaboration with community stakeholders, and implement an improved culturally-responsive program for Black youth.

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Improving the Wellness of Veterans and Military Members in Rural Areas

Community-Academic Scholar Tyler Swanson will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Professor Chung-Yi Chiu and Illinois Joining Forces to conduct interviews with rural Veterans, military members and their families (RVM), and wellness service providers and develop evaluations and educational materials aimed to diagnose and optimize their mutual interaction and partnership.

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I-Rural: Reimagining Illinois Rural Tourism Through Community and Extension Collaboration

Community-Academic Scholar Matthew Jenkins will work with Department of Recreation, Sport, and Tourism Professor Sharon Suiwen Zou and the Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development Unit to identify opportunities present in Illinois communities that seek to develop rural tourism and understand tourists' motivations and constraints to engaging in rural tourism in Illinois.

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Stress, Emotions, and Pain in the Postpartum Period Interview (SEPPPI)

Community-Academic Scholar Anjali Patel will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Professor Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (C-UPHD) to explore women's experiences caring for their infants while enduring postpartum pain and depressed mood to expand current literature, influence the directions of future research, and help inform community-based interventions in Champaign County.

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Sustaining Partnerships for a Freedom School Vision: Assessing the Work of Education for Equity and Justice Programs in Champaign-Urbana

Community-Academic Scholar Maha Kalota will work with College of Education Professor Jon Hale and DREAAM House to develop and implement a comprehensive evaluation model that assesses indicators related to literacy attainment, student motivation, student perceptions of literacy, teacher effectiveness, and parent and community engagement, which will then be developed for use in the DREAAM program.

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The IMAGINE STEM Saturdays Initiative

Community-Academic Scholar Rose Grimm will work with Psychology Professor Eva Pomerantz, Driven to Reach Excellence and Academic Achievement for Males, and Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center to 1) integrate a curriculum review and professional development model for program instructors and mentors to better facilitate the development of STEM mindsets, motivation, and achievement among students to sustain the pursuit of STEM careers and 2) enhance Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering's (ChiS&E) family component to empower families to support and advocate for their children.

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Understanding the Experiences, Needs, and Preferences of People in the Champaign-Urbana Community Who Inject Drugs

Community-Academic Scholar Rachel Sun will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Professor Rachel A. Hoopsick and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (C-UPHD) to administer surveys examining the experiences, needs, and SSP-related preferences of people who are currently participating in the C-UPHD Syringe Exchange Program to inform the work of the C-UPHD and positively affect the community.

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Using PhotoVoice to Understand Transformative Social Emotional Learning in a Danville Community

Community-Academic Scholar Eve Rubovits will work with School of Social Work Professor Kevin Tan and Hope Center in Danville to understand the use of PhotoVoice to promote transformative social-emotional learning (TSEL) principles and bring adults and young people together to understand issues faced by the community.

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Video Technology-Based Social Engagement for Older Adults

Community-Academic Scholar Vinh Vo will work with Speech and Hearing Science Professor Raksha Mudar and CJE SeniorLife to assess the benefits of social engagement using OneClick on overall health and quality of life for older adults and collaborate with Home and Community-Based Organizations to prepare for community-based implementation.

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