Honors students defend theses

From exploring pediatric brain tumors to comparing military and civilian speech-language pathologists, honors students in the School of Applied Sciences were busy throughout last year with research projects that culminated in honors theses.

“The thesis experience was challenging but also rewarding,” said Patricia Edwards (BS 09), who studied eating disorders in college students. “Doing research helped me to see the many opportunities available in the field of dietetics and nutrition. It also helped me develop professional relationships with my professors and colleagues. The process has also given me the confidence to accomplish anything that I put my mind to.”

With the guidance of faculty advisors, a record six 2009 graduates from the School of Applied Sciences invested themselves in undergraduate research projects that led to theses, which they defended in the spring before panels of UM faculty.

“When undergraduate students conduct research with faculty members, they have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they gained in the classroom to real world problems in their disciplines,” said Marie Barnard, assistant dean, adding that such projects also encourage further academic pursuits. “While we know that participating in research will make them stronger practitioners, we also hope that it will encourage some students to consider a career in research.”

This year’s research projects included

Lauren Braun (BS 09)
Dietetics and Nutrition
Thesis: “Association of Calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin K with Bone Mineral Density in NCAA Male Golfers”
Examined the correlation between nutrient intake and bone mineral density in male NCAA golfers

Emily Kathryn Chambers (BS 09)
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Thesis: “Pediatric Brain Tumors and Subsequent Communication and Swallowing Disorders”
Examined the role of speech-language pathology in the treatment of pediatric brainstem glioma tumors and medulloblastoma tumors through surveys sent to speech-language pathologists in pediatric hospitals or hospitals with pediatric floors

Ruth Ann Cooper (BA 09)
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Thesis: “Total Communication or PECS? Increasing the Vocabulary Growth of Children with ASD”
Considered which communicative treatment approach was more effective in increasing vocabulary growth in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Patricia Edwards (BS 09)
Dietetics and Nutrition
Thesis: “Assessment of Eating Disorder Knowledge Among College Students and the Effectiveness of a Primary Prevention Program”
Showed that increasing knowledge and providing prevention programs are essential to reducing the incidence of eating disorders among college students

Lauren Furr (BA 09)
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Thesis: “Military and Civilian Speech-Language Pathologists’ Attitudes towards Evidence-based Practice: A Pilot Study”
Compared speech-language pathologists in the military and civilian sectors to assess their attitudes towards evidence-based practices

Maggie Lancaster (BS 09)
Exercise Science
Thesis: “Whole Body Vibration Effects on Activation of Lower Extremity Muscles in Recreationally Trained Females”
Studied recreationally trained females in non-vibration and vibration conditions to compare maximum voluntary contractions in both conditions