Tucker Center Newsletter - 2010 Fall
Over this past summer we continued our tradition of attracting and mentoring outstanding undergraduate students. Salma Hussein, a senior majoring in Public Health and Youth & Leadership Studies, is also a member of the U of M's McNair Scholars cohort. The McNair program is designed to provide minority, disabled, or low-income undergraduate students with the research skills necessary to gain admission to-and successfully complete-their graduate study.
Hussein was mentored by Dr. Nicole LaVoi and Ph.D. student Chelsey Thul as part of Thul's award-winning research project, "Program Evaluation and Interests of Somali Adolescent Girls and Women." Hussein was a key participant in the overall project and was actively engaged in her own research as well. A member of the Somali community in Minneapolis, she provided valuable cultural insights for LaVoi and Thul.
Thul's research project on females in the Somali community is part of an ongoing line of research being conducted by Tucker Center scholars. It examines barriers, antecedents, and correlates of physical activity among Somali females in the Twin Cities Metro Area. In her subproject, Hussein evaluated an all-female basketball program in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood supported by the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota. Her findings will be used to generate culturally relevant physical activity opportunities for Somali girls and women, and to increase the physical activity behaviors and participation rates of this underserved population.
Hussein plans to pursue a graduate degree in public health, social work or a related field so that she can "bring the fruits of science to the poorest communities to help them move from dependency to independency through education."
Tucker Center Research Assistant and Ph.D. student Austin Stair Calhoun was featured in the University's prestigious Driven to Discover: The Research Series, an award-winning video series which highlights creative and innovative research at the U of M. In the video Calhoun describes her dissertation research—"Examining Homophobia in Sports and New Media"—along with a discussion of how she initially became interested in the topic. Calhoun's research examines the content of online coaching biographies of NCAA Division-I head coaches as a way to determine if personal stories and relationships (e.g., children and partners) of gay coaches are featured at all, and if so, do they resemble the stories told by and about heterosexual head coaches. Calhoun's academic adviser, Professor Mary Jo Kane, is also interviewed in the video feature.
In addition to her participation in the video series—and due to her growing expertise and national recognition in this area—Calhoun was an invited panelist at the Twin Cities Social Media Breakfast themed "Social Media and Sport" which took place last June.