Health Sciences

Health Sciences Undergraduate Students Get a Taste of Research

Written By: Drexler B. James | December 9, 2019

Undergraduate Health Science students standing in front of a poster presentation holding certificates.
The Gold Award winners gather around their research proposal poster during the Health Sciences Research Symposium on Dec. 4.

Many health sciences undergraduate students aspire to have careers in healthcare. An important tenet of medicine is that interventions and treatment be research-based. To help prepare students to understand and conduct research, students in the Applied Health Research Methodology course participate in the development of a research proposal and present their proposal at the annual Health Sciences Research Symposium.

This event has grown by leaps and bounds to best prepare students for their future careers. The event started in 2011 with seven undergraduate student research posters. At the event last week, 300 undergraduate health sciences students worked in groups of 4-6 students and presented more than 60 posters.

The top research proposals from each class receive the designation of “premiere” and have the chance to compete against other premiere projects from students from other sections of the course for the gold, silver or bronze award.

Keith Brazendale and Michael Rovito, both assistant professors in the Department of Health Sciences, co-lead the organization of the symposium this year.

As a professor for one of the sections of the Applied Health Research Methodology course, Brazendale said that exposing students to research early in their academic career helps relieve some of their fears and intimidation about conducting research.

“Research is something that we, as a society, are constantly surrounded by,” he said. “It is our job to ensure students have the necessary skills to be good consumers of information and critical thinkers.”

The gold prize this year was awarded to the research team whose topic was the “Effect of Short-Term Vitamin D Supplementation on Blood Pressure in Vitamin D-Deficient Hypertensive African American Adults.”

Faculty members in the department hope that opportunities such as the symposium encourage students to continue pursuing opportunities to conduct and engage in research.

“Research is critical to so many aspects of our lives, especially for individuals like our students who are focused on medical and other health-related careers,” Brazendale said.

Through this experience, students feel more assured of their ability to interpret and contribute to research in their fields.

Winners of the 2019 Health Research Symposium


Effect of Short-Term Vitamin D Supplementation on Blood Pressure In Vitamin D-Deficient Hypertensive African-American Adults
Jeremiah Hughley, Edna Joseph, Anika Saxena King, Sarah T. Perez, Melissa Ramirez, & Danielle Saunders



Plant Based Diets in Stage 1 Dementia Patients
Mae Abukhadrah, Mostafa Diab, Nicole Parsels, Sumeen Sajid, Meredith Sauceda, Tillie Schumann



Effects of Marijuana Use and Peer Influence on Anxiety in College Students
Katrina Claydon, Anthony Kerr, Iyat Neimat, Sarah Sloson

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