WSRA spotlight: Jennifer Barthol

by roanokecollege on February 4, 2016



Jennifer Barthol, a sophomore at Roanoke College, is one of the students under the work study research assistant program. In the program, students are hired and paid to work alongside a professor on a research project. A variety of research projects are spread across all the academic departments on campus. Jennifer works under the Health and Human Performance department with Dr. Elizabeth Holbrook. Jennifer first became interested in the project after being contacted by Dr. Holbrook. After discussing some of her interests and goals, Jennifer decided to work on the project.

Jennifer’s research focuses on surveys given to local elementary school students and their parents about healthy eating and physical activity habits as a part of Dr. Holbrook’s Roanoke Valley Community Healthy Living Index annual assessment. Last semester, Jennifer compiled all the data and entered it into a worksheet. Afterwards, she met with Dr. Holbrook to discuss creating a PowerPoint presentation about the data. The PowerPoint was created and presented to community stakeholders across the Roanoke Valley to inform private and non-profit organizations about the health-related needs of the children in our community. After presenting to the community, they discussed writing an abstract for conference presentation. The abstract was submitted to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and has been accepted.
While conducting her research, Jennifer was thankful to work with Dr. Holbrook.

“She not only pushes me to do my best, but she is an incredible mentor and role model of someone I hope to be like one day. She has taught me many things, and I do not know what I would do if I didn’t have her by my side throughout the research process and my time here at Roanoke College. If it weren’t for her, I would not have had this opportunity to research something so intriguing to me.”

One of Jennifer’s favorite things about conducting research was learning about other research projects.

“I enjoyed learning from other students who are conducting research in my major. I am able to learn what they are doing and then see if I can apply it to my research findings in any way.”

To anyone considering research, Jennifer says:

“Make sure you enjoy what you are researching, find new ways of doing things (whatever it may be), ask questions, and read up on other research projects/articles.”

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