College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

SPUR Alumni

Stephanie Borges
Plant and Microbial Biology
Advisor: Professor Sheron Fleming

Reflections: These funds were used to purchase gift cards as an incentive for the study participants. Without this sort of incentive, the SPUR students may not have had any data to process! The students gained insight into the intensity and types of effort it takes to perform even a very simple study with human subjects. They learned that their own judgement counts, and have worked together to achieve more than any one of them could have done on their own. They also learned some computer programming, and data entry skills. Next semester they will learn data analysis and interpretation. Lastly, they were intensively trained by my staff in how to assist with recruitment and how to administer questionnaires to children in after-school settings. Currently, they are in the data collection phase.

"I gained hands on research experience in addition to effective literature search skills. I got experience in the field and learned the processes that must be dealt with in order to use human subjects."

Stephanie Borges

Research: Due to genetic predisposition, African American and Latino children have up to an 8 fold higher risk of developing obesity and diabetes than Caucasians. Our targeted populations reside in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the cities of Oakland and Richmond, California. In these areas, 80-96% of the population is African American and Latino, and 75-100% is socially disadvantaged, i.e. children qualify for free/reduced school lunches, parents do not have a high school education. We expect that participating children and families will have reduced progression towards obesity and diabetes. They will have better self-esteem and self-efficacy for developing positive health and lifestyle choices which will lead to better overall health and improved academic, career and life options.

"The students gained insight into the intensity and effort it takes to perform even a very simple study with human subjects."

Professor Sharon Fleming

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