2018-2019 CAA Learning Community Grant Abstracts
Ms. 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 work together to identify and address problems of food insecurity. Through mentorship, FSLC faculty guide student researchers in the development of evidence-based community nutrition interventions. Working within the Nutrition Care Process model, the FSLC engages in community-wide qualitative and quantitative assessment, planning and implementation of interventions, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of projects. In 2016-2017, the FSLC identified campus hunger as the group’s focus, and completed an assessment of food insecurity at Texas State. In 2017-2018, the FSLC planned and implemented Bobcat Bounty, the first on-campus, student-run food pantry at Texas State. In 2018-2019, the group will focus 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. Utilizing a client choice model, the Bobcat Bounty food pantry has served over 1800 bags of groceries to Texas State students in need.
Ms. Carla Ackerson
The Research Lab offers five undergraduate students and one graduate student in the School of Social Work an opportunity to participate in an original research project to study academic entitlement in higher education. Students will enhance 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 will meet once a week and will teach 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 will be encouraged to apply for the Texas State University Undergraduate Research Fellowship and at least one of the undergraduate Research Lab participants will be chosen to present his or her findings along with the Project Leader at a professional conference in June, 2019.
Dr. Priscilla Goble and Dr. Norma Perez-Brena
The Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Family and Child Development (OUR FCD) Fellowship program will identify 10 talented undergraduate students interested in family and child development and provide them with human capital and financial resources necessary for pursing graduate degrees. OUR FCD fellows will be paired with a faculty mentor who will facilitate their engagement in rich research experiences. Upon completion, fellows will have a greater connection to our 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 will receive a $250 stipend plus funds for a GRE preparation book, one GRE exam fee, and one Texas State graduate application fee ($250 total). This financial support will help reduce financial strains related to participating in research and applying to graduate programs.
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 explores 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 non-arable 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 will explore the ability of hydroponic production to create market opportunities, and determine if locally sourced nutrients, such as from composted food waste, can be used as organically sourced nutrients.
Students will have exposure to the transdisciplinary aspects of this project during crop and soil science courses, such that approximately 216 undergraduate students will be impacted during the 2018-2019 academic year. Additionally, seven undergraduate and two graduate student researchers will be directly involved in this project.
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.