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McNair Scholar 2010Cherese Alcorn

Cherese Alcorn is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in family social science. Her research interests include combating health disparities both locally and internationally, particularly in the realm of maternal and child health. Ms. Alcorn is also currently applying skills developed in Kenya to empower adolescents in America to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and other STIs.

Cherese Alcorn photo
With a fist full of love, hard work, and dedication, I will always work hard to keep the family united and healthy. I plan to combine my background in family social science with advanced degrees in social work and maternal and child health to strike a mighty blow of change within my community.

Research project

An Interactive Website to Reduce HIV Risk Behavior Among Adolescents

Abstract: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that approximately 50% of new HIV cases occur in persons younger than age 25. Nationally representative data show that 1 in 3 sexually active teens report experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Because adolescents exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) are less likely to use condoms, teens who experience IPV may be at greater risk of contracting HIV. This project describes the development of a health communication to raise awareness about the link between dating violence and sexual risk behavior. My health communication, Real Love Isn’t Black and Blue, will be featured on an interactive website to promote healthy decision making among adolescents (Principal Investigator: Sonya S. Brady, Ph.D.; Project Coordinator; Amy J. Kodet, M.P.P.). Additionally, I developed questions to evaluate if my health communication promotes the acceptance of non-violent adolescent relationships as the norm and motivation for condom use. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Sonya S. Brady is assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Brady received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and biological/health psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research specializes in health risk behavior during adolescence and young adulthood; developmental influences on risk-taking; socioeconomic and ethnic disparities in consequences of risk-taking; mechanisms linking stressful life circumstances to health risk behavior and factors promoting resiliency; promotion of health protective behavior; and public policies affecting adolescent health. Dr. Brady has been a McNair faculty mentor for the past two years.