Continued research opportunities through STARS
This year, Harris is staying involved in public health research, now working in STARS, Student Achievement in Research and Scholarship. Another UC program designed to give undergraduates a taste of research experience, STARS assigns students one-on-one with a faculty mentor. Harris works with Amy Bernard, associate professor of Health Promotion and Education in the School of Human Services.
Bernard is working as an evaluation consultant for WeThrive, a Hamilton County Public Health Program. The project includes working with select schools to encourage physical activity in the classroom. “Our research surveys teachers to find out if they are incorporating any physical activity breaks throughout the day and how it may help attentiveness and discipline problems, as well as how much time in a classroom is devoted to attentiveness and discipline problems.”
The WeThrive program is publishing a resource guide, an idea book for ways teachers can add in physical activity breaks throughout the day. UC’s role in the project is to survey teachers and assess the results.
Harris and Bernard meet every other week to discuss and review Harris’ assignments, like running data in SPSS, describing assessments, or conducting lit reviews. “Undergraduate research is becoming so important to the university, it’s a good way for students considering grad school to understand the concept of research,” says Bernard.
Additionally, STARS meets weekly with its students for professional development sessions. Bernard says, “I was really impressed that Asia came in asking questions, smart questions about graduate school and research. She is very professional, and surprisingly on the ball for an undergraduate student to be already considering those things for graduate school.”
One of the major components of STARS is its emphasis on growing a mentoring relationship between faculty and students. “Dr. Bernard has been a great source of information for me; it’s nice to get the interaction in the career, and about you,” says Harris.
Bernard says that as Harris continues to stay involved in the research, “I think Asia will have the opportunity to interact with other health professionals on the project. She’ll get to see what type of job you would get in the field after completing a graduate degree.”