Volume 51   Number 3 Summer 2018

Student Issues

Edited by Jaimelee Behrendt-Mihalski & Erin Godly-Reynolds, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Announcing the 2018 National Student Representative Research Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2018 National Student Representative Research Grants! A special thanks to members of the National Student Representative Research Grant Committee who served as reviewers. If you’re interested in serving as a student reviewer for research grants or travel awards to the Biennial, please contact the Student Representatives at Since National Student Representative Research Grants have shifted to a spring RFP, the next opportunity for students to receive up to $1,000, $500, or $375 in funding to support their dissertation or thesis project will be March 2019.

Dissertation proposals selected for funding

First Place.  Ana Genkova, University of Illinois at Chicago.  Resiliency in context: A community-anchored approach to experiences and responses to hardship


To reinforce mechanism of resiliency, action researchers must appreciate community members’ individual and collective capacity to survive and thrive despite systemic injustice. This phenomenological inquiry will interpret a collection of digital stories from Chicago’s Little Village community to better understand residents’ meanings, experiences, and responses to hardship. Stories were recorded in partnership with StoryCorps in the context of community-based participatory health assessment. Stories give unique insight into the complex interplay of cultural and structural factors of wellbeing in the community. This interpretative inquiry will highlight personal experiences and shared cultural meanings that orient people’s responses to hardship. The inquiry will discuss the cultural and communal roots of resiliency in the context of compounding oppression and structural violence in immigrant communities.

Second Place.Francesca Esposito, ISPA-University Institute, Immigration detention in Portugal: Exploring the lived experiences of detainees


This study aims to analyze the reality of immigration detention in Portugal. In so doing, it focuses on the Housing Unit of Santo António, the only detention facility on the Portuguese national territory. Drawing on previous fieldwork, this research seeks to shed light on life in this site of confinement, and the lived experiences of people detained inside it. Participant observations and topic-focused interviews will be used for this purpose. A thematic analysis will be performed to identify salient themes across detainees’ narratives. Findings from this study will contribute to the development of policies and practices concerned with wellbeing and human rights of people subject to immigration detention in Portugal.


Third Place.Lauren Munro, Wilfrid Laurier University. Everyday indignities: Exploring weight discrimination through photovoice methods


Weight stigma is pervasive in North America and research in this area is largely negative, framing the reduction of fatness as a legitimate goal in the context of damaging obesity discourse. Thirty participants who identify as fat will be recruited to take part in a phenomenological photovoice project designed to: (1) explore the type and nature of discrimination experienced by fat individuals in social, family, healthcare, and work environments; (2) examine the impacts of weight-based discrimination on the wellbeing of fat people; (3) document the complex and dynamic ways in which fat people respond to discrimination; (4) identify avenues for identifying, building, and developing fat culture and community; and (5) carve out space in academia that challenges the dominant obesity discourse.

 Fourth Place. Zahra Murtaza, Georgia State University, The impact of concurrent racial and religious discrimination on the mental health and well-being of Muslim young adults


Following September 11th, 2001, Muslim Americans report heightened levels of discrimination. However, given their multiple minority identities, it is unclear whether this discrimination is based upon their racial or religious background. The current study seeks to investigate if and how these different types of discrimination (racial and religious) impact the mental health and well-being of Muslim American young adults. Furthermore, the current study will explore the possible protective role of spirituality in protecting these stressors. In order to gain insight about potential within-group differences in the experiences of racial and religious discrimination, the current study will also examine the interactive role of ethnicity in these relationships. Online surveys will be distributed to religious, cultural and social organizations’ mailing lists to which sizeable samples of Muslim Americans belong. Multiple regression will be used for data analysis. The consideration of intra-group diversity and resilience strengthens the contextual ecological approach of this study.

Thesis proposals selected for funding

First Place. Colby Kipp, University of South Carolina, Understanding the effects of positive parenting, neighborhood supports and perceived stress on African American adolescent weight-related outcomes using a community participatory approach


African American (AA) adolescents in the US experience a higher prevalence of obesity, a significant risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other poor health outcomes contributing to higher morbidity and mortality. An ecological framework will be the guiding model utilized in this thesis proposal to understand the complexity of important determinants of adolescent obesity, such as parental stress, parenting style, and neighborhood stressors. The overall goal of this study is to expand understanding of the role of perceived stress on adolescent health outcomes (body mass index; BMI) in underserved AA using qualitative (in-depth family interviews) and quantitative (interactional modeling analyses) methods. This will expand our understanding in order to develop a tailored community-based participatory program to improve family health.

Second Place. Tiyondah Fante-Coleman, Wilfrid Laurier University, Adinkrahene: Improving access to health and HIV services for African, Caribbean, and Black people in Waterloo Region, Ontario


 In Ontario, two factors may have an effect on the health outcomes of African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) people including those living with HIV/AIDS. There is a dearth of family doctors in Canada and gentrification in the Toronto area has pushed racialized families further out of the core and into smaller urban regions such as Waterloo. Access to a family doctor is critical to improve health outcomes, especially for people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs). In partnership with the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area (ACCKWA), I, a Caribbean woman, endeavor to identify the barriers and facilitators to accessing the care of a family doctor in Waterloo Region for ACB people, with a specific focus on PHAs. Utilizing both critical race theory and a community-based participatory action approach, this research project will engage 30 ACB participants in focus groups and interviews to understand their experiences in attempting to access healthcare in the past and preferred actions to improve access in the future. This work contributes to the scarce knowledge regarding healthcare access for ACB people living in smaller urban regions, specifically access for PHAs. Findings of this work can contribute to the development of culturally competent care for ACB people and PHAs.