COPH undergrads participate in research expo

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USF College of Public Health students Oceana Dwyer and Justin Weiner participated in USF’s second annual Undergraduate Research Society’s Fall Expo on October 15.

The expo was an immersive experience geared towards undergraduate students interested in learning more about the different forms research can take at research institutions and allows students to present research that they have completed within the past year.

Dwyer and Weiner both found the expo extremely rewarding.

“I thought that the expo was a great learning experience and a good way to share our research with fellow students at USF,” Dwyer said. “I was able to share the importance of public health in our community and how it impacts our everyday life.”

(From left to right) Elizabeth Dunn, Oceana Dwyer, Justin Weiner and Dr. Joe Bohn at the annual Undergraduate Research Society’s Fall Expo (Photo courtesy of Dunn).

(From left to right) Elizabeth Dunn, Oceana Dwyer, Justin Weiner and Dr. Joe Bohn at the annual Undergraduate Research Society’s Fall Expo (Photo courtesy of Dunn).

After learning about the expo from Elizabeth Dunn, visiting instructor, during the public health innovation studio class, classmates Dwyer and Weiner teamed up to present their research they gathered from the class at the expo.

Their research focused on data collected during the public health innovation course through needs assessments conducted across Hillsborough County communities.

Partnering with Hillsborough County Social Services, the students went into these communities and volunteered at their local organizations.

“For example, in Tampa Heights we spent the morning volunteering at a community garden. We also completed focus groups in each community,” Dwyer said. “During these focus groups we discussed the needs of the community and also the successful programs that have made a positive impact.”

To prepare for the expo, Dwyer and Weiner took the initiative to meet one-on-one with Dunn to strengthen their abstract and learn more about developing an academic poster.

“When the time came, they were prepared, professional and presented their work eloquently. Many of those in attendance were intrigued and asked numerous questions,” Dunn said. “It was a proud moment to see their work unfold. This is my definition of student success!”

Weiner said that the COPH prepared him well for the expo and presentation and if the opportunity arose he would gladly present again.

“Through all of my public health courses, I have gained important knowledge regarding underserved communities and needs, which allowed me to utilize that information along with community members’ concerns to best create a needs assessment that would accurately showcase each underserved area,” Weiner said.

Dwyer echoed Weiner’s sentiments.

“Over the summer I learned a tremendous amount about public health and how to present research clearly and concisely. Our professor Elizabeth Dunn helped us prepare for the expo and taught us how the research should presented,” Dwyer said. “I enjoyed presenting, sharing our research and talking to students that are interested in learning more about public health.”

Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health

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