Summer 2024 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 substance addiction recovery, postpartum pain, basalt application in vegetable crops, culturally relevant programs and services, youth development and well-being, autonomous bicycles, environmental justice, indoor air quality, assistive robots in caregiving of older adults, cultural humility and bias, middle school STEM+C learning, local food chains, and accessibility of local businesses.
Accessible Champaign County: Updating an Accessible Business Evaluation and Developing an Associated Mobile App
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Special Education Prof. Emily Tarconish and Community Choices to consult with community members with disabilities to update an accessible business evaluation and coordinate with the team to turn the digital evaluation into a mobile application.
Assessing the Challenges, Barriers, and Opportunities Associated with Distributing and Sourcing Local Food
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Recreation, Sport, and Tourism Prof. 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 as related to local food dining consumption.
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Graphic Design & Design for Responsible Innovation Prof. Juan Salamanca and Champaign County Bikes to explore the potential for a micromobility system using smart autonomous bicycles to serve as a viable option for commuting, contributing to significant environmental and social impacts, including meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets by replacing car rides or addressing barriers to accessing quality food and education in underserved communities.
Fostering Environmental Justice, Socioemotional Skills, Workforce Development, and Youth Empowerment in Rantoul
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with School of Social Work Prof. Kevin Tan and The Carter Education and Community Foundation to develop and implement a needs assessment study within Rantoul to identify environmental challenges, socioemotional learning, and workforce development gaps with the goal of recommending strategies that advances collective community youth empowerment.
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Prof. Sarah Geiger and the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) to analyze indoor environmental quality data that is already going to be collected by the RPC before and after interventions to estimate potential health impacts at a societal level.
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Prof. Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to survey English- and Spanish-speaking Latinas who had a planned Cesarean delivery in the past 12 months and who were at risk for PPD to gather information to inform a mindfulness intervention. The next study phase will be a single-group open trial pilot test of a mobile, self-guided 8-week mindfulness intervention with English- and Spanish-speaking Latinas to assess its feasibility and acceptability.
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Assistant Dean for Integrated Health Disparities Programs Margarita Teran-Garcia and Avicenna Community Health Center to tailor the HEALER cultural humility training for additional settings in volunteer clinics and health-promotion services areas.
SPICE-Healthcare: Awareness, Use, and Acceptance of Culturally Diverse Seasonings Among Healthcare Professionals
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Prof. Mina Raj and Clark Lindsey Village to examine knowledge, awareness, and self-efficacy of culturally diverse seasonings among long-term care (LTC) food and nutrition personnel.
Strengthening Educational Youth Programming Through Professional Development, Educational Technology, and Increasing Family Engagement
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with College of Applied Health Sciences Prof. Meaghan McKenna and the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club to offer professional development activities that help DMBGC staff implement more research-based programming,. The scholar will also assist with implementation of an early writing intervention and increasing family engagement.
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with College of Education Prof. Mike Tissenbaum, Driven to Reach Excellence and Academic Achievement in Males (DREAAM), and The Well Experience to interact and engage with middle-school students involved with an after-school maker sessions focusing on creating digital and tangible tools to address issues of personal value.
The Development of a Community Strengths Assessment for Black Families and Communities in Champaign-Urbana
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Human Development and Family Studies and African American Studies Prof. Shardé Smith and Driven to Reach Excellence & Academic Achievement for Males (DREAAM) to design a community strength assessment (CSA) to inform the development of culturally relevant programs and services for Black youth and families in Champaign and Urbana.
Two Community-Academic Scholars will work with School of Social Work Prof. Doug Smith and Chestnut Health Systems to examine whether smartphone applications can support young adults with making positive screen choices surrounding their substance use and supporting their recovery before, during, or after receiving treatment.
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Entomology and African American Studies Prof. Esther Ngumbi and Zumwalt Acres to investigate how basalt application impacts biotic factors of agricultural land, specifically soil microbiome, and plant health via modifications of the plant metabolome and chemistry.
Understanding the Benefits of the Stretch Mobile Manipulator Robot to Support Older Adults, Family Care Partners, and Professional Caregivers
The Community-Academic Scholar will work with Kinesiology and Community Health Prof. Wendy Rogers, Speech and Hearing Science Prof. Raksha Mudar, Postdoctoral Researcher Samuel Olatunji, and ClarkLindsey Village to test the potential of Stretch to support the needs of older adults with cognitive and/or mobility impairment.