Summer 2023 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 15 powerful projects that address a range of topics including substance addiction, postpartum pain, child homelessness, social isolation, food/nutrition insecurity, youth development and well-being, physical activity among people with disabilities, assistive robots in caregiving of older adults, cultural humility and bias, human-centered design in education, local food chains, and accessibility of local businesses.
Accessible Champaign County: Evaluating the Accessibility of Champaign-Urbana Businesses Using a Survey Created by People with Disabilities
Community-Academic Scholar Nia Aldridge will work with Special Education Assistant Professor Emily Tarconish and Community Choices to conduct a qualitative examination of this project and those involved, exploring their motivations and desired outcomes to produce a case study of how to replicate a similar project via similar academic/community partnerships.
Building Community Partnerships to Co-Design and Prototype Equitable and Inclusive Educational Programs on Human-Centered Design
Community-Academic Scholar Ariana Mizan will work with Siebel Center for Design Head of Assessment and Research Saad Shehab and the Urbana Park District to explore and implement ways to integrate human-centered design (HCD) in existing educational programs that are led by community-based organizations such as park districts.
Community-Academic Scholar Brianna Brice will work with Sociology Professor Ruby Mendenhall and StreamBridge to create a published picture book and community exhibit about Black girls', mothers', and other mothers' mental health (coping mechanisms) and celebrate the beauty, joy, humanity, and daily lives of Black women and girls.
Community-Academic Scholar Illakia Ranjani will work with School of Social Work Associate Professor Christopher Larrison and the Regional Office of Education Nine (ROE9) to evaluate a proof-of-concept guaranteed income project, the Champaign County Guaranteed Income Pilot (CCGIP) that aims to improve housing status, stability, family functioning, and well-being to reduce child maltreatment via child neglect in order to improve physical health, reduce mental illness, and improve educational outcomes for children.
Community-Academic Scholar Ryiah Barnes will work with 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.
Examining Potential Contributions of Community Health Workers in Improving the Chronic Kidney Disease Journey of African American and Latinx Patients and their Caregivers
Community-Academic Scholar Norman Hernandez will work with Kinesiology & Community Health Clinical Associate Professor Andiara Schwingel and Illinois Community Health Workers Association to understand the journey of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients and their caregivers, and to examine how community health workers (CHW) could be part of the CKD care model.
Farm-to-Table in the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area: Aligning Consumers, Restaurants and Small Farms
Community-Academic Scholar Julian Martinez will work with Recreation, Sport and Tourism Assistant Professor Sharon Suiwen Zou and the Illinois Extension Community and Economic Development Unit to conduct a nationwide study to assess consumers' awareness, preferences, attitudes, expectations, and willingness-to-pay related to local food dining consumption.
Community-Academic Scholars Emma Darbro and Stella Emezue will work with School of Social Work Associate Professor Karen Tabb Dina and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to identify major risk factors associated with depressive disorders for women in order to improve maternal health through early identification of risk factors during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Community-Academic Scholar Zara Lateef will work with Kinesiology & Community Health Associate Professor Laura Rice and the Champaign Park District to enhance the education and capacity of multiple physical activity stakeholders while attending to the needs and preferences of people with disabilities, involving continuous advancement by the disability-inclusive provider and facilitate widespread dissemination to park districts in Central IL and beyond.
Community-Academic Scholars Isabelle Gawedzki and Kaylee Janakos will work with Kinesiology & Community Health Clinical Assistant Professor Hyojung Kang and Chestnut Health Systems to recruit young adults who have used substances to participate in a study to determine whether smartphone applications can help support them to make positive choices surrounding their use and/or supporting their recovery before, during, or after receiving treatment.
Community-Academic Scholar Alena (Allie) Kormos will work with Kinesiology & Community Health Associate Professor Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to determine how postpartum depression and postpartum pain affect women's emotional well-being, self-care, infant care, and mother-infant bonding in order to expand the current literature, influence the direction of future research, and help inform community-based interventions in Champaign County.
Community-Academic Scholar Wondrous Jenkins will work with Curriculum and Instruction Assistant Professor Mike Tissenbaum, The Well Experience, and DREAAM to develop a technological toolkit and design framework that will connect geographically distributed middle and high school learners interested in making and fabrication to like-minded colleagues, technical assistance, and mentorship.
Understanding the Benefits of the Stretch Mobile Manipulator Robot to Support Life plan Community and Staff and Residents
Community-Academic Scholars Afnaan Afsar Ali and Adam Syed will work with Kinesiology & Community Health Professor Wendy Rogers, Postdoctoral Research Associate Samuel Olatunji, and ClarkLindsey Life Plan Community to conduct a needs assessment with ClarkLindsey staff and residents to identify the activities for which Stretch, an assistive robot, can support to the needs of older adults with cognitive impairment and/or mobility impairment.
Community-Academic Scholar Leyna Tran will work with Speech and Hearing Science Associate Professor Raksha Mudar and CRIS Healthy Aging to examine the real-world efficacy of a video-technology platform called OneClick to carry out day-to-day social engagement activities typically hosted by Home and Community Based Organizations for older adults at risk of social isolation to prevent negative health and quality of life outcomes.
Community-Academic Scholar Kiara Balleza will work with Nutritional Sciences Associate Professor Manabu Nakamura and Common Ground Food Co-Operative to explore the feasibility of creating and sustainably operating co-op type grocery stores in low-income areas of Champaign County.