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Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Nutrition, Dietetics, & Hospitality Management faculty welcome the participation of undergraduate students in their research. Interested students should contact faculty directly to learn about the focus of the various research projects and available opportunities for participation. Involvement in undergraduate research is a great way to strengthen your application for graduate school..

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Study Concentration Credits Contact
Health disparities in Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a serious concern in children from low literacy and low-income populations among underserved minorities. The research objective is to delineate the multiple factors (lifestyle habits, dietary habits, environmental, biological factors, and microbial profile) that can predict early the development of obesity in underserved children. This study will help to improve the health of minorities, by identifying appropriate interventions to address disparities, which extend beyond the traditional healthcare environment.

Any NDHM 2 Geetha Thangiah, Ph.D.
The effect of educational interventions on consumer knowledge and perception towards Stevia

This study aims to determine whether educational interventions can improve consumer perception towards the natural zero-calorie sweetener, Stevia. Further, this research will test the effectiveness of different types of educational interventions in improving consumer perception toward Stevia, and increase the willingness to purchase and consume stevia-products. Data collection will begin in Fall 2020, and will involve collecting data through surveys with cohorts of subjects that experience different educational interventions. Findings from this work will support more effective ways to convey information regarding Stevia to consumers to increase Stevia consumption and subsequently reduce the consumption of sugar and sugar derivatives.

Any CHS 1 Mark Traynor, Ph.D.
Exploration of Food Choice Behaviors among College Students with Food Allergies

A food allergy is an immunological reaction to a food protein. Food allergy-related fatalities are common among teenagers and young adults, due to their risk-taking behaviors. Transitioning to college could be challenging for young adults, since they are responsible to self-manage their food allergies. This study will 1) investigate factors that influence the food choice behaviors among college students with food allergies; 2) explore attitudes, behaviors, and dining experiences related to food choice behaviors of college students with food allergies. Phase 1 (qualitative interviews) has been completed in Spring 2020. Phase 2 (online surveys) will be conducted in Fall 2020.

Any CHS 1 Yee Ming Lee, Ph.D.
Central Leptin Administration and the Regulation of Blood Glucose Concentrations

Type 2 diabetes is epidemic in many parts of the world. Most treatments for diabetes either enhance the amount of insulin that is secreted from the pancreas and/or increase the body’s sensitive to the insulin that’s is there. Interestingly, the hormone leptin, acting in the brain appears to normalize blood glucose concentration during diabetes independent of insulin. We are performing experiments to determine the mechanism by which leptin administration normalizes blood glucose concentrations independent of insulin. This potentially could point to new strategies or therapies for the treatment of diabetes.

NDHM interested
in biomedical research
1-3 Doug White
Ratemyprofessor.com: Examining Student-generated Faculty Ratings of US Hospitality Programs

This study will present a ranking of US hospitality programs based on student-generated teaching evaluations of faculty available in ratemyprofessor.com. Course related variables such as subject and level of offering, faculty related variables such as gender, ethnicity, and international orientation, and program related variables such as type and location (business, education, human sciences, etc.) and university related variables such as type (public or private), location (urban, suburban, or rural) and enrollment will be considered to find patterns of underlying differences in student evaluations. Additionally, a content analysis will be conducted to assess compliments, complaints, and concerns from these student evaluations.

Any CHS 3 Imran Rahman, Ph.D.
A Comparative Look at Peer-to-Peer Accommodations and Chain Hotels’ Responses to Human/Sex Trafficking in the Hospitality Industry

This project will compare the anti-trafficking corporate strategy of major hotel chains with those of peer-to-peer accommodations such as Airbnb, Homeaway and VRBO. The research study will be multi-method consisting of qualitative and quantitative data collection and will entail the collection of publicly available anti-trafficking corporate strategies, policies, or plans as well as lawsuits. The results of the qualitative phase will then be used to design an experimental study to test whether or not hotel staff and peer-to-peer accommodations hosts and employees can identify signals or triggers in a reservation or during a guest stay that would be indicative of trafficking.

HOSP 1 - 3 Alecia C. Douglas, Ph.D.
Basic Needs Survey

The purpose of the study is to evaluate basic needs security status among college students at Auburn University. Surveys will be distributed to randomly selected students enrolled at Auburn University. Pending IRB approval, follow-up interviews will be conducted to explore the experiences and perceptions of college student basic needs.

Any CHS 2 Onikia Brown, Ph.D., RD
Treating Obesity in College-Aged Women with Trauma Informed Care: A Needs Assessment

Specific aims: 1) To complete a needs assessment to guide the future development of a trauma-informed weight management intervention program for college-aged obese women with a history of trauma who are interested in addressing weight management issues; 2) To collect preliminary data to use for an R21 proposal to develop and test a trauma-informed weight management intervention program for the target population. The long-term goal of this project would be to develop and test a multi-modal weight management program intervention specifically tailored to the target population who may need additional support through the program components.

Any CHS 1 - 3 Donna Burnett, Ph.D.