Projects: Completed

YMCA After School Programming Public Relations Project

Students in Journalism 273 partnered with the Rockbridge YMCA to develop a public relations strategy to help promote its expanding after school program.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Rockbridge Area YMCA
Research Need
Research Methods
Completed December 21, 2016
Researchers

Students of Journalism 273

Abstract

Students worked with the Rockbridge YMCA to develop a public relations strategy to promote its expanding after school program.  The YMCA currently offers an after school program to two elementary schools in the area (Waddell and Central), but it is planning to begin offering after school enrichment options to a couple of new schools, including Natural Bridge and Fairfield.  This expansion is in line with its mission to impact educational outcomes of children.   Students in Journalism 273  developed a public relations campaign for the YMCA’s after school program.

The ARC of Rockbridge Public Relations Project

A group of students in Journalism 273 partnered with the ARC of Rockbridge, a local non-profit that “promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes”  to develop a public relations campaign.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name ARC of Rockbridge
Research Need
Research Methods Other (see below)
Other Methods Public relations
Completed December 21, 2016
Researchers

Students in Journalism 273

Abstract

Students in Journalism 273 partnered with the ARC of Rockbridge to develop a public relations campaign that focused on website redesign and a communications strategy to assist the organization in fundraising.

Food Pantry Public Relations Project

Students in Journalism 273 partnered with the Rockbridge Area Relief Associate (RARA) to develop a public relations strategy to help RARA present a clear, concise message that articulates their mission, services, and values.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Rockbridge Area Relief Association (RARA)
Research Need
Research Methods Survey, Other (see below)
Other Methods Public relations campaign & website design
Completed December 23, 2016
Researchers

Students in Journalism 273

Abstract

A group of students in Journalism 273 partnered with RARA to develop a public relations strategy to help RARA present a clear, concise message that articulates their mission, services, and values.  RARA is best-known for its food pantry, but less-known for its helpline, which actually represents a much bigger proportion of their budget.  RARA also successfully partners with other agencies in the community, including Campus Kitchen and the Community Table, which makes it very difficult for the general public to understand that RARA is a distinct agency. Students on this project conducted a survey to examine public knowledge and understanding of the organization. Using this information, it later worked with RARA to redesign its website, make it more informative, easier to navigate, and also best able to articulate its services  to the community.  Students also developed feature stories that the organization can later use on its website, newsletter, or promotional materials, as well as a file of pictures and images to best tell its story.

Backpack Program Nutrition Study

This project analyzed the nutritional value of foods that are typically incorporated into the Backpack Program—a program of Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee that aims to reduce the meal gap that public school students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program face on weekends.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee
Research Need
Research Methods Other (see below)
Other Methods Nutrition assessment
Completed December 22, 2017
Researchers

Sejal Mistry
2017
Biology Major, Poverty minor

Abstract

As part of a service-learning component in Biology 275, a student analyzed the nutritional value of foods that are typically incorporated into the Backpack Program, which aims to reduce the meal gap on weekends faced by public school students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Within the budget constraints of the Backpack Program, the student researched other non-perishable foods that could be substituted in the backpacks to increase its overall nutritional value.

Gifted Education: Best Practices in Visual/Performing Arts and Career/Technical Programs

Public schools are mandated to run gifted education programs by the government and these programs tend to focus the more academic and traditional arms of gifted education, emphasizing math and language.  This project sought to research gifted program best practices in a less familiar realms including the visual/performing arts and career/technical programs.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Rockbridge County Public Schools
Research Need
Research Methods Best Practices Research
Completed March 13, 2017
Researchers

Kiki Spiezio
2018

Abstract

The project researched gifted education best practices in visual/performing arts and technical/vocational programs.   It focused on programmatic offerings and identification criteria.

Food Desert Qualitative Study

This research project collected qualitative data on food access in the Rockbridge area, focusing on what types of food are sold in local supercenters, grocery stores, convenience stores, and specialty food stores, and at what price.  

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Live Health Rockbridge Kids & Virginia Cooperative Extension Office
Research Need
Research Methods Other (see below)
Other Methods Qualitative data collection
Completed December 21, 2017
Researchers

Kyle Singerman
2017

Tyra Barrett
2018

Abstract

As a service-component in Biology 275, two students collected qualitative data on food access in the Rockbridge area. This work built on the food mapping project conducted by Politics 294 students in Spring 2016.  Data gathering focused on types of foods sold in local supercenters, grocery stores, convenience stores, and specialty food stores, and their prices.

Health Care Coordination: Models and Best Practices

Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital partnered with a Washington and Lee student researcher on a community-based research project (CBR), looking at coordination of care best practices.  Care Coordination is one of the hospital’s strategic priorities, based on the recent community-wide Health Needs Assessment that was conducted in the area.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital and the Rockbridge 2020 working group
Research Need

examining coordination of care best practices, looking at programs that have been successfully implemented in this and in other communities, identifying potential assets and barriers to each approach.  Researcher will make recommendations about next steps as the hospital and the Rockbridge 2020 working group consider implementing coordination of care in the Rockbridge area.

Research Methods Best Practices Research
Completed September 20, 2016
Researchers

Batsheva Honig
2017
Psychology

Abstract

This project examined health care coordination best practices, looking at different models and programs that have been successfully implemented in this and in other communities, identifying potential assets and barriers to each approach.  Researcher made recommendations about next steps, as the hospital and the Rockbridge 2020 working group consider implementing coordination of care in the Rockbridge area.

High School After School Program: Curriculum development and program assessment

This project analyzed effective after-school program designs to reduce the high school dropout rate for at-risk youth. The researcher also develop a structured curriculum for CAT-Tagious, a mentoring program that currently exists at the Rockbridge County High School, as well as create an assessment tool for the program.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Rockbridge County High School
Research Need
Research Methods Best Practices Research, Other (see below)
Other Methods Program assessment, curriculum development
Completed August 24, 2017
Researchers

Kristin Sharman
2017

Abstract

In this community-based research project, a student developed over 50 hours of after-school curriculum for CAT-Tagious, a mentoring program that currently exists at the Rockbridge County High School. The student also developed an an assessment tool for the program to identify its strengths and weaknesses.

Food Desert Mapping Study

Students in the 2016 Food Politics class (POL 294) partnered with the Virginia Extension Office and the Healthy Communities Actions Team (HCAT) on a food mapping project.  This project created a comprehensive map of where people can access food in Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County, also identifying where gaps exist.  Student researchers mapped grocery stores, full-service restaurants, fast food restaurants, corner stores, farms with direct […]

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Healthy Communities Action Team (HCAT) and Virginia Extension Office
Research Need
Research Methods Other (see below)
Other Methods Mapping
Completed May 30, 2016
Researchers

Students in Politics 294, Spring 2016

Abstract

Students in POL 294 created a comprehensive map of where food can be accessed in Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County, categorizing points of sale according to standards used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Student researchers mapped grocery stores, full-service restaurants, fast food restaurants, corner stores, farms with direct sales, and food pantries, also identifying what locations accept SNAP and WIC. This project lay the foundation for a more comprehensive study on food access  that HCAT and the Virginia Extension Office plan to conduct in 2016-2017, also looking at other qualitative measures of access, including types of food sold in each point on the map, as well as prices.

Eagle’s Nest Program Effectiveness

Eagle’s Nest Clubhouse is a program that provides support to adults with serious mental health illnesses.  This project carried out a client satisfaction survey and provided the organization with program recommendations.

Project Details at a Glance
Agency Name Eagle's Nest Clubhouse
Research Need
Research Methods Survey
Completed December 20, 2015
Researchers

Lainey Johnson
2016
Psychology and Poverty Minor

Abstract

Student researcher conducted a survey with members of the Eagle’s Nest Clubhouse program, asking them to assess the impact it has had on their lives. The researcher designed the survey instrument, analyzed and presented summary results to the organization, and provided program recommendations.

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