PhD ’19, Communication Studies
Many American Indians and Alaska Natives living on rural Indian reservations in the U.S. experience significant health disparities, and the lack of public transportation, broadband Internet, telephone lines, and the small number of health clinics in the area, which are often far away, make accessing health information difficult.
In my community-based participatory research project, I will explore the role of tribal radio in providing access to accurate, culturally relevant health information for rural American Indian reservation residents. Tribal radio is a unique medium which plays a critical role in informing community members about health issues and encouraging prevention and treatment, thereby helping to reduce health disparities.
My community partners for this project are the radio stations KUYI, owned and operated by the Hopi Tribe in Arizona, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska, the first radio station in the U.S. to be owned and operated by an American Indian tribe (the Yup’ik).
My mixed-methods approach will include individual interviews with key stakeholders at each station, focus groups with local listeners, a content analysis of health-related programming on each station, and a survey sent to all U.S. tribal radio stations. Results from this study will help us understand and improve health information dissemination on rural Indian reservations. It will also provide station managers with insights gained from the focus groups, and directly applicable health communication strategies.
Library Mentor: Judy Smith
BSN ’17, Nursing
The Student Advisory Group on Engagement (SAGE) within the Center for Engaged Academic Learning is made up of undergraduate students from across campus and disciplines who collaborate with faculty, staff, and community members to create and enhance engaged learning opportunities by integrating the voices, ideas, and attitudes of students and community members. SAGE is organizing a campus day for high school students participating in the Young People’s Project (YPP) that would include focus groups with members of YPP with the goal of improving the program and a library project with the goal of increasing technology literacy skills. YPP is a math literacy program that uses a near-peer model. U of M hires undergraduate students to train high school students in how to teach math to middle and upper elementary school students in their communities. The goal of YPP is to help students from traditionally marginalized populations develop both math literacy skills and participate in community building and engagement. SAGE will organize the campus day with two broad goals: to evaluate the training that high school students in YPP receive and to instruct them in critical technology literacy skills such as using a library database to conduct a research project.
Library Mentor: Alex Rivera
BS ’16, International Studies
ADAPT is a team of four students from LS&A, Engineering, Business, and Art & Design. We design functional, durable, and beautiful products for people using assistive devices. In order to create the best quality product, we continually work with our clients, ensuring our end users are kept in mind and involved throughout the design process. Our first project, the RainGuard, is a small clip that attaches to the side of the wheelchair in order to hold up an umbrella. This product was designed because of a conversation with an end user from the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He explained to us how difficult it could be if the weather was bad: by the time he would have pulled out an umbrella, he would have been soaked, with no free hands to wheel himself to his destination. After hearing about this, we realized most spaces and products are not designed with differently-abled people in mind. ADAPT has collaborated with multiple professors at U of M and other universities, the University of Michigan Health System, and ThingSmiths for this project. In designing these products, one of our primary aims is to help alleviate the negative stigma placed on those using assistive devices.
Library Mentor: Paul Grochowski
MA ’16, Center for Chinese Studies
I am proposing a study on the Tibetan cultural heritage from the perspective of Tibetan dance by examining how professional dance artists passed knowledge on to both their students and respective offspring through their oral histories. Rather than presenting a chronological narrative of the artists’ personal experiences, my research is organized temporally and geographically, analyzing the relationships among cultural heritage, choreography, self-identity, and space. By choosing an artist as a case study to link their own narratives and historical events happened in China over the past decades, I am suggesting that the crucial roles of these dance individuals as a vehicle carrying Tibetan cultural heritage through their performing, learning, teaching, directing, choreographing as well as researching process. This digital collection can be an interesting and unique source for both U-M students and faculty members and scholars in the North America who are interested in Tibetan culture and Chinese ethnic minority dance. Other than receiving funding from U-M Library, I am also grateful for the general financial supporting from Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, The Center for World Performance Studies and Rackham Graduate School. This project will also be an crucial part of my MA thesis.
Library Mentor: Liangyu Fu
BS ’16, Women’s Studies/Psychology
The University of Michigan Pretty Brown Girl Dream Ball Celebration will be an empowering event—one in which we will invite the campus to join us in solidarity and celebration of Black and Brown student organizations. This is a campus-wide project, birthed from movements that have come before us (e.g. #bbum: Being Black at U of M) and informed by the current work Dr. Rob Sellers is embarking upon as the Vice Provost of Equity, Inclusion, and Academic Affairs. Our Pretty Brown Girl e-board is seeking to interview Black and Brown women on-campus to highlight their unique experiences—both positive and negative—at this institution. We would like to examine how student organizations can be vehicles of social change, and further explore the ways in which student participation and activism within student organizations works in conjunction with, or in opposition to larger institutional changes. We hope this event can serve as a platform for us to illustrate the importance of our impact on the lives of young girls/women, as well as highlight the connection to U of M’s greater goals of true diversity, equity and inclusion.
Library Mentor: Chuck Ransom
PhD ’18, Naval Architecture
I would like to promote literacy, learning, and creativity by updating the library of the Washtenaw Youth Detention Center. As their funds are limited, the center’s library collection not been refreshed in several years. By updating the collection, we will increase access to the types of books that actively engage and reflect the diverse population of children who reside there. New collections will also allow us to expand reading activities and book club.
Library Mentor: Angie Oehrli
BS ’17, Chemistry
The main objective of this GlobeMed initiative is to educate students about basic hygiene to reduce the rates of preventable infections. We will create a lesson plan and related exercises for the school teachers to implement on hygiene and nutrition with the help of our GROW (Grassroots On-site Work) interns traveling to the school during the summer. Our goals are not only to inform students, but also to help them translate these practices into real-life actions. Members of the Perquín community are frequently infected with easily preventable diseases because of poor hygiene. Through community outreach and education, we hope to better understand why this is the case and help lower the infection rates in the area. This would subsequently reduce the number of days that students need to miss school and help them be more informed about the process of contamination and infection.
Library Mentor: Carol Shannon
BSE ’17, Computer Science Engineering
This project’s aim is to build a lightweight and practical upper-body exoskeleton that augments the strength of a healthy user’s bicep and tricep. The purpose of this project and this build team as a whole is to prove that exoskeletons can be made in a way that is both practical and cheap so they can be used in real world settings. To make it practical, we’re using lightweight building materials to make it as comfortable as possible, and using an EMG control system that allows the user to control the exoskeleton by simply moving their arm as they normally would. To keep it cheap, we’re using pre-existing technology and applying it to exoskeletons. Along with these goals, we want others to see our work and build upon it to further advance the field of exoskeleton technology. To make this possible we’re keeping the entire project open source so it can be easily replicated and improved by other students around the world. For this exoskeleton, we expect to attain an increased bicep/tricep strength of at least 15 pounds, while being able to operate for several hours.
Library Mentor: Leena Lalwani
BFA ’16, Art
Leesta is an educational technology company that is answering the need for digital learning resources, diverse educational materials, and most importantly women’s representation in history. On the rare occasion that the stories of women are shared, they are often written for an adult audience; never have their stories been designed to teach history and inspire children the way Leesta is doing. Our team is currently creating a series of ten interactive and engaging timelines for 3rd-5th grade students that highlight the lives of amazing women in U.S. history. We have worked with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit to create a profile for Bessie Coleman, the first African American female pilot. As well as the Boggs center, where we have been working closely with friends of Grace Lee Boggs to create the most accurate profile for her life. Most recently we have met with Temple Grandin, a world-renowned inventor and autism activist, and are working directly with her to create her timeline. The series will be launched and available for purchase in September 2016 for schools, classrooms, homes, and after-school programs across the nation.
Library Mentor: Alexa Pearce
MSI ’16, Information Science
My project concerns the digitization and preservation of The Saline Area Historical Society’s tape collection. Included in the collection are oral histories describing the history, life, and development of Saline, Michigan. Many local cultural institutions have video collections at high risk of degradation but lack the funds and expertise to migrate this content into a safer, more accessible format. Having experience digitizing video at archival standards, I discovered that the University of Michigan houses the tools necessary to do so. I see this project as a way of reaching out to local institutions in need of assistance and as a template for other students studying preservation to follow. There are literally millions of tapes in the wild in need of digitization and very few programs teaching preservationists how to do so. For this reason, I would like to see other students to use my project as inspiration for projects of their own.
Library Mentor: Shannon Zachary