Extra! A wrap-up of Arnold School news
Arnold School students, faculty among Magellan Scholars
September 16, 2010
Arnold School students and faculty are part of this year’s crop of Magellan Scholars, an academic enrichment program recognized by U.S.News & World Report in its 2011 “America’s Best Colleges Guide.”
The ranking is particularly satisfying to former Arnold School dean, now USC President Harris Pastides, who launched the Magellan Scholars Program and the Office of Undergraduate Research when he was the University’s vice president for research.
“When we launched our Magellan Scholars Program in 2005, we announced our commitment to bolster this crucial aspect of the undergraduate experience,” Pastides said.
In a section titled “A Strong Focus on Student Success,” USC was singled out for its Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects.”
The recognition “endorses our efforts to support undergraduate research as well as the quality and rigor of the research being performed,” Pastides said.
Since the Magellan Scholars Program and the Office of Undergraduate Research were created in 2005, the university has sought to enrich the undergraduate academic experience through faculty-student mentoring relationships and the integration of instruction with research, scholarship and creative activities.
The program has provided research funding to more than 465 students to date and is one of many research-funding opportunities available to students through the office. Funded projects have encompassed the academic spectrum from the traditional areas of science, technology and medicine to music, art and theater.
This year’s Magellan Scholars and faculty mentors from the Arnold School are:
- Sarah Ali, a junior honors student mentored by Dr. Christine Blake, Health Promotion Education and Behavior, and Dr. Tom Leatherman, Anthropology. Her research project: Health Benefits of Vegan Diets.
- Nicole Smith, a junior honors student in biological sciences, mentored by Dr. Christine Blake, Health Promotion Education and Behavior. Her research project: Promoting Positive Dietary Behaviors of Youth through Hands-On Cooking.
- Jelissa Suarez, a senior honors student mentored by Dr. Myriam Torres, Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Julie Smithwick-Leone, S.C. Public Health Institute. Her research project: Adopt a Culturally Appropriate Sustainable and Feasible Prenatal Care Service Model for Uninsured Pregnant Latinas in S.C.
- Jennifer Greene, a junior Capstone Scholar majoring in Exercise Science mentored by Dr. Erica Gibson, Anthropology. Her research project: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Healthcare Volunteering in the United States and Peru.
- Katherine Harris, a sophomore honors student majoring in Exercise Science mentored by Dr. Lydia Matesic, Biological Sciences. Her research project: Characterization of Craniofacial Defects in the Itchy Mouse.
- Jessica Burch, a sophomore biology student mentored by Dr. Wilfried Karmaus, Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Her research project: Maternal Allergy Breastfeeding and Allergic Disease in Early Childhood.
Exercise science doctoral student earns fellowship
Jorge Banda, a doctoral student in the Department of Exercise Science at the Arnold School of Public Health, has been named an ASPH/CDC/PRC Minority Health Fellow.
Banda’s fellowship will enable him to work at the Arnold School’s Prevention Research Center where he will examine how park and neighborhood environments are associated with park use and park-based physical activity in low-income, rural communities.
A native of McAllen, TX, he earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s in exercise science, both from the University of Houston.
“I plan on securing a post-doctoral position, and subsequently a faculty position at a school of public health or medicine,” said Banda, who expects to finish work on his doctorate in the spring of 2012.
“As far as my research interests are concerned, I’m primarily interested in examining social, neighborhood environment, and policy influences on physical activity and healthful eating, and promoting physical activity and healthful eating in underserved populations.” he said.
The ASPH/CDC/PRC Minority Health Fellowship program is a collaborative effort between the Association of Schools of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Prevention Research Centers program.
It is intended to enhance the preparation of future public health professionals from ethnic and racial minorities by providing unique training opportunities in prevention research.
HPEB doctoral candidate attends prestigious institute
Leah Williams, a doctoral candidate in the Arnold School’s Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, was a participant in the prestigious 2010 Summer Institute in LGBT Population Health at Boston University.
Williams was one of 17 graduate students/early career scholars from across the country selected for the Institute, designed to provide training in interdisciplinary theory, knowledge and methods for conducting population research in sexual and gender minority health.
Williams, who expects to finish work on her DrPH in spring 2012, said her experience at the Institute “was vital in helping prepare me for my upcoming dissertation research, which will examine the relationship between body image and sexual risk behaviors among female college students. I will also examine differences based on race and sexual orientation for the relationship between body image and sexual risk behaviors.”
A native of Gaston, N.C., Williams earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Masters of Public Health from the University of Kentucky.
She is a graduate assistant at the Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership where she serves as an evaluator for the comprehensive, capacity building educational program.
Dr. Lucy Annang, an assistant professor in HPEB who is mentoring Williams’ graduate studies, said she is “a great representative of the Arnold School and I look forward to seeing her accomplishments highlighted as an example of the stellar work we are doing to train our students/future public health professionals.”
PRC seeks participants for arthritis, exercise and nutrition study
The Prevention Research Center is looking for adults with arthritis to participate in a study on arthritis, exercise and nutrition study.
To be eligible, participants must be age 18 or older and have been told by a healthcare provider that they have arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus or fibromyalgia. They also must be ready to change their exercise and eating habits.
The study is being conducted to evaluate self-directed health programs for people with arthritis. Participants will come to the USC Columbia campus for a data collection session. They will receive free, self-directed exercise and nutrition programs and a small stipend.
To learn more, call 803-576-6381. A recruitment flyer is available at: