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C.A.A. Learning Communities Grants

2019 - 2020 CAA Learning Community Grant Abstracts

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  • Department of Agricultural Sciences

    • Determining Consumer Preferences for Food safety in Their Food Purchase Decisions

      Dr. Pratheesh Omana Sudhakaran

       

      News about food safety incidents is increasing in recent years and due to the advancement in telecommunications, the consumers are getting the information in real time. Government agencies such as FDA are coming up with measures to curb food safety incidents and track the food consumers eat. Since consumers are exposed to both negative and positive information regarding food safety, it is critical to understand consumers’ perception and preferences on these issues. As a preliminary step, this study would like to collect information in Texas, particularly from Texas State University (TxState). However, the research topic has a national potential. The goal of the proposed project is to understand consumer preferences in terms of food safety issues and food safety regulations. To achieve this goal, the study will try to understand (1) Consumer perception of existing food safety issues and control measures in the market; (2) Determine the consumers’ willingness to pay for safe products .

      An economic experiment will be developed to solicit consumer purchase preferences and to determine factors that affect their product purchase. The data from the purchase behavior and knowledge about the food safety regulation questions will be used to identify the different attributes or factors the consumers consider while food purchase, using multivariate regression analysis. Moreover, the answers from the experiment questions will be used to analyze the willingness to pay for each of these attributes using discrete choice regression analysis. The benefits from this research project are multi-faceted with its impacts on undergraduate education enhancement through research, the impact of the outcome on producers, and impact of research outcome on the policy. Through this project undergraduate students at TxState particularly, 4 undergraduates students majoring in agribusiness will be hired to conduct the research project who will be given training in economic experiment design, data collection, data management, and data analysis. Moreover, the research project has an indirect and bigger impact on the student population of TxState. Students from AG 3352, AG 3317 will be used as volunteers in testing the economic experiment which will introduce research concepts to them. Moreover, these students from these larger learning communities get exposed to the data collection process and research ethics. The results from this preliminary study will be used to write external research grant from the federal agencies such as US Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, and National Institute of Health; this research comes under one of the research priorities of these agencies.

       

    • Developing Innovative Crop Inputs while Recovering Food Waste and Addressing Market Opportunities

      Dr. Nicole Wagner

       

      Innovative biotechnologies in the agricultural industry have witnessed significant recent growth, especially with increasing consumer demand for organic and local foods.  This project investigates food waste recovery methods for development of novel biofertilizers to be used in local organic crop production.  Biofertilizers developed in the laboratory will be analyzed for nutrient concentration and beneficial microbial activity, and then will be applied to crops to assess yield and plant health.  Student researchers will gain knowledge of real-world food system challenges for which innovation is needed and entrepreneural opportunities exist.  Specifically, students will explore sustainable fruit and vegetable crop systems to meet growing consumer demands, reducing pesticide and synthetic fertilizer use through the application of microbial rich biofertilizers, and recovering nutrients through municipal food waste streams.  Six undergraduate researchers will be in a peer-learning group that includes five graduate students; over 200 students will be exposed to aspects of this research through in-class demonstrations.

  • School of Criminal Justice

    • SurveyCaTS (Survey Consortium at Texas State)

      Dr. Sean Patrick Roche and Dr. Angela M. Jones

       

      Understanding how knowledge is gathered and constructed assists individuals in critical thinking, and much of what we know about the social world comes as a result of surveys. Thus, there is a strong need for mentoring and hands-on experience in the construction of clear, accurate, and useful survey questions; survey instrument design, sampling, and mode; and the analysis of survey data for use in descriptive and inferential research.

       

      A consistent finding in research on Americans' attitudes toward police is respondents' race plays an important role in whether they like and/or trust the police. However, research has primarily focused on African-American versus White views. An understudied area is how other racial and ethnic groups, especially Latinx/Hispanic people, view the police.

       

      This project proposes the creation of SurveyCaTS (Survey Consortium at Texas State) Learning Community for undergraduate students to participate in an original research project outside of the classroom to study public perceptions and attitudes toward the criminal justice system and its actors.

  • School of Family and Consumer Sciences

    • Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Human Development ad Family Sciences (OUR HDFS) Fellowship Program

      Dr. Norma Perez-Brena and Dr. Priscilla Goble

       

      The aim of the Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Human Development and Family Sciences (OUR HDFS) Fellowship program is to identify 12 talented undergraduate students interested in family and child development and provide them with human capital and financial resources necessary for pursing graduate degrees. Fellows will be paired with one of four participating graduate students and one of two participating research faculty who will serve as mentors to facilitate their engagement in rich research experiences. Fellows will also receive mentorship around graduate school applications including developing a CV and personal statement. At the termination of a two-semester commitment, OUR HDFS fellows will be eligible for a $500 stipend to support their preparation for and application to graduate programs.

       

      The OUR HDFS Fellowship program will impact 12 undergraduate students and 4 graduate students.

    • A Study of Social Cognition in Middle Childhood

      Dr. Amy A. Weimar

       

      A team of 10-15 undergraduate and graduate students from within the Human Development and Family Studies program will have the opportunity to advance their professional and personal development as part of a learning community focused on conducting a community-impacting research project: A study of the social cognitive development of middle- school children. This team of students, led by Dr. Amy Weimer, will have the opportunity to gain invaluable experiential learning to assess children, consider the developmental levels of the middle childhood timeframe, and connect knowledge gained in the classroom with real-world applications. As undergraduate students engage in collaborative learning, interact with community members, and learn about the research process, they will likely become excited about pursuing graduate degrees in the new research track of the Human Development and Family Studies program, or related fields.

  • Department of Organizational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies

    • Counter-Life Stories for Community and Workforce Development

      Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd

       

      During this project, Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd will create a new course entitled “Counter-Life Stories for Community and Workforce Development”, which will be recommended as an elective course in the undergraduate OWLS’ BAAS, minor in African American Studies, and minor in Latina/o Studies degree programs. This new course builds upon and extends Dr. Ashford-Hanserd’s existing community-engaged research project entitled “#ReclaimDunbar: Reclaiming the Lived Experiences and Lost Assets of the Dunbar Community”(IRB# 5879) . The #ReclaimDunbar project has spurred local and regional public interest, and as a result, students (undergraduate and graduate) and faculty from various colleges and departments across the university have emphatically volunteered to assist with community engagement and research activities. This learning community provides a formal platform for students to engage in the #ReclaimDunbar project and similar projects of interest. A total of 50 undergraduate students annually are planned to participate in this effort.

2018 - 2019 CAA Learning Community Grant Abstracts

  • Food Security

    Bobcat Bounty

    Dr. Hannah Thornton and Dr. Lesli Biediger-Friedman

     

    The Food Security Learning Community (FSLC) is a group of undergraduate students, graduate students, dietetic interns, and faculty from the Nutrition and Foods program who worked together to identify and address problems of food insecurity. Through mentorship, FSLC faculty guided student researchers in the development of evidence-based community nutrition interventions. Working within the Nutrition Care Process model, the FSLC engaged in community-wide qualitative and quantitative assessment, planning and implementation of interventions, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of projects. In 2018-2019, the group focused on evaluating the effectiveness of Bobcat Bounty and supporting the long-term sustainability of the intervention. Since its inception, the FSLC has directly engaged 30 dietetic interns, three graduate students, seven undergraduate interns, and over 60 undergraduate volunteers in planning, implementing, analyzing, and presenting our research.

     

    • 27 Bobcat Bounty distributions held.
      • 2820 bags of groceries distributed.
      • 459 clients served in the Fall; 444 clients served in the Spring.
    • 15 mini education campaigns delivered (added sugar, healthy eating on a budget, how to cook in a dorm room, label reading, etc.).
    • 6 undergraduate poster/paper presentations.
    • 5 FSLC undergraduates matriculated into the Master’s in Human Nutrition program at Texas State.
    • 2 FSLC undergraduates matriculated into other graduate programs.

     

    Undergraduate Student Presentations

     

    Walling K, Thornton H, Biediger-Friedman L. Impacts of utensil distribution on home cooking behavior among clients of a college food pantry. Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference. Arlington, TX. April 11, 2019.

     

    Cobb S, Duke E, Kincer A, Selinsky J, Thornton H, Biediger-Friedman L. Variables associated with on campus food pantry social media posts and follower engagement. Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference. Arlington, TX. April 11, 2019.

     

    Miethe C, Ricano X, Figari P, Arora R, Lamkin K, Thornton H, Biediger-Friedman L. Clients at a university food pantry demonstrate similar interest in nutrition education distributed via print and social media. Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference. Arlington, TX. April 11, 2019.

     

    Menge L, Ziesemer B, Moser J, Gomez I, Thornton H, Biediger-Friedman L. Evaluation of the volunteer experience at a student-run campus food pantry. Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference. Arlington, TX. April 11, 2019.

     

    Walling K, Thornton H, Biediger-Friedman L. Impacts of utensil distribution on home cooking behavior among clients of a college food pantry. Undergraduate Research Conference. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. April 24, 2019.

     

    Weaver A and Lamkin K. Nutrient and Inventory Analysis of Foods Distributed at an On-Campus Food Pantry. Undergraduate Research Conference. Texas State University. San Marcos, TX. April 24, 2019

  • Social Work

     

    Research Lab for Academic Entitlement in Higher Education

    Carla Ackerson

     

    The Research Lab offered four undergraduate students in the School of Social Work an opportunity to participate in an original research project to study academic entitlement in higher education. Students enhanced their research skills through generating research questions, developing questionnaires, setting up and administering surveys, collecting, managing, and analyzing data, and finally, writing up and presenting their findings to others. The Research Lab met once a week and taught the students collegiality and the importance of collaborating within the university community to share ideas and find ways to participate in cross-discipline learning. Participating students were encouraged to apply for the Texas State University Undergraduate Research Fellowship and to present the finding at a regional or national conference.

    • 4 undergraduate students presented at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) – Kennesaw State University.
    • 4 undergraduate students received the Texas State University Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
    • All 4 participating undergraduate students will be applying to graduate school in the Fall 2019 semester.
  • OUR FCD

    Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Family and Child Development (OUR FCD)

    Dr. Priscilla Goble and Dr. Norma Perez-Brena

     

    The Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Family and Child Development (OUR FCD) Fellowship program identified 13 talented undergraduate students interested in family and child development and provided them with human capital and financial resources necessary for pursing graduate degrees. OUR FCD fellows were paired with a faculty mentor who facilitated their engagement in rich research experiences. Upon completion, fellows have a greater connection to the program, research, and faculty. This sense of connection should manifest in higher retention rates, reduced research anxiety, increased interest in research and graduate education, and overall preparation for graduate education. At the termination of a two-semester commitment, fellows received a stipend for their own professional development (pay for the GRE, pay for graduate school applications, pay to attend a research training or research conference, etc.). This financial support helped reduce financial strains related to participating in research and applying to graduate programs.

     

    • 13 undergraduate students accepted in to the program.
      • 3 research labs, 2 Texas State programs, and 3 universities benefited.
    • 9 undergraduate students presented at University or regional research conferences.
    • 1 undergraduate student will complete an undergraduate honors thesis 2019-2020.
    • 9 undergraduate students plan to apply to graduate school in June 2019 or December 2019.

    Undergraduate Student Presentations

     

    Adams, K., Kotsonis, D., & Goble, P. (April 2019). The Effects of Bilingual Classrooms on Bilingual Children's Literacy and Language Skills. Poster Presented at the Texas State University Undergraduate Research Conference. San Marcos, TX. *Received Honorable Mention

     

    Chapa, K., Baker, B., & Goble, P. (April 2019). Negative Teacher-child Interactions with Racial Minority Children. Poster Presented at the Texas State University Undergraduate Research Conference. San Marcos, TX.

     

    Duncan, J., Jefferson, M., Martinez, M., Perez, R., Rizzo Esposito, A., & Perez-Brena, N. (February 2019). Examining the Association between Coparenting and Parenting Agency Among Adolescent Parents. Poster Presented at the Texas Council on Family Relations Annual Conference. Austin, TX.

     

    Janysek, H., Wheeler, K., & Goble, P. (April 2019). Relations between Social Media Use and Personality Traits in Young Adults. Poster Presented at the Texas State University Undergraduate Research Conference. San Marcos, TX.

  • Hydroponics Learning Community Group Photo
    Hydroponics Lab on West Campus, Texas State University

    Increasing Sustainability in Hydroponics by Recovering Food Waste and Addressing Market Opportunities

    Dr. Nicole Wagner

     

    Based on the need for improving water and nutrient resource efficiency in food systems, coupled with the growing consumer demand for local and organic products, this project explored the feasibility of fruit and vegetable crops grown in greenhouse-based hydroponic systems in Central Texas. Hydroponic systems offer advantages over field-based farming methods, such as 90 to 95 percent less water use, increased production on less land area per year, crop production on nonarable land, and adaptability to extreme weather. Additionally, indoor hydroponic production in or near urban areas has the potential to reduce food miles, which helps to lower food waste by decreasing the amount of time from harvest to consumption, while potentially increasing nutrition content and flavor. This project explored the ability of hydroponic production to create market opportunities, and focused on if locally sourced nutrients, such as from composted food waste, can be used as organically sourced nutrients.

     

    Students had exposure to the transdisciplinary aspects of this project during crop and soil science courses, such that approximately 216 undergraduate students were impacted during the 2018- 2019 academic year.

     

    • 10 undergraduate students constructed eight hydroponic systems with automation equipment.
    • 5 undergraduate students presented at the Texas State University Undergraduate Research conference.
    • 1 undergraduate student received the 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellowship.
    • 2 undergraduate students submitting a paper to the Texas State Journal of Undergraduate Education.

     

    Undergraduate Research Projects

     

    De Leon, G. Evaluating Suitable Crops for Vertical Hydroponic Systems.

     

    Glasscock, M. Effects of Increased Dissolved Oxygen Concentration on Beneficial Microbiology in Hydroponic Systems.

     

    Godoy, L. Evaluating Nutrient Analysis Equipment in Hydroponic and Automatic Systems.

     

    Gutierrez, M. Assessing Vermicompost Tea in Hydroponic Food Production.

     

    Lash, K. Evaluating Four Strawberry Cultivars for Indoor Production in Central Texas.

     

    Lauterbach, K. Exploring Nutrient Content of Hydroponically Grown Microgreens.

     

    McAfee, J. Assessing Vermicompost Tea in Hydroponic Food Production.

     

    Ovalle, A. Comparing Post-Harvest between Local Hydroponic Strawberries with Non-local Hydroponic and Field-Grown Strawberries using Refractometry.

     

    Soza, M. Assessing Demand for Locally Grown Produce; Growing Pink Oyster Mushrooms (Agaricus Bisporous) within a Hydroponic System.

     

    Wendt, E. Growing Pink Oyster Mushrooms (Agaricus Bisporous) within a Hydroponic System.

  • Dr. Omar Lopez

    The Department of Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies announces a new course for spring 2019 titled, Civic Engagement as Global Citizenship. Students will engage in innovative approaches to learning about community-based issues within the context of global citizenship. After completing the course, students will be able to understand civic issues from different frames (e.g., social, economic, political, etc.), assess a civic issue to propose alternative interventions, and extend an issue to regional, state, national, and global levels.

    For further information, please contact Dr. Omar S. Lopez, Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies via email OL14@txstate.edu.