Thursday, March 17, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Roohussaba Khairullah

My name is Roohussaba Khairullah and I am pursuing BS in biology and minor in forensic science at George Mason University. I am currently working as research assistant at the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University. At this job, I work in a newly established nutrition assessment laboratory and participate in the validation and comparison of data collected on the equipment used to determine body composition and energy metabolism assessment. I work on the development of data collection forms for demographic and anthropometric characteristics of participants. I also conduct literature research in the area of nutrition and energy metabolism. I have performed bone densitometry using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). I have also learned how to measure resting energy expenditure (REE) with indirect calorimetry using a metabolic cart, which is used to measure the oxygen consumption (VO2) and carbon dioxide production (VCO2). 

Recently, we started a project with Ryan Lonnett, founder of Empowered Wellness who conducts wellness consultations for Fairfax County Public Schools. The purpose of this project is to evaluate current and desired states of wellness, as well as effectiveness of previous programs.  Empowered Wellness has a partnership with George Mason University. As a research assistant, I lead a 3rd party evaluation of the effectiveness of this unique program. I am gaining a comprehensive experience, working together with the school leadership team, the Empowered Wellness leadership team and the Director of the advocacy group responsible for funding the program.  I assist in developing quantifiable, subjective and anecdotal criteria for success, based on the unique goals of the program.  I also gather data directly from the front line and develop ways to present their findings in a white paper that will be leveraged for additional grants for additional schools, which means that this effort could have a major impact on our community wellness for years to come.  I have a brief weekly meeting, planned to complete deliverables and manage the project. As someone in medical field, I am passionate about wellness and want to influence actual change in our community. This project is not only helping me to learn new ways of conducting research but it is also helping me at a personal level; I can evaluate my own wellness. . If we can eliminate bad habits and instill healthy behavior in young children, we will be able to eradicate numerous diseases

Furthermore, I am a rehire for OSCAR. Previously, I have worked as a Research Assistant in TRUMAN lab, where the basic goal is to learn more about how much trust on automation is appropriate and benefit our community from its findings.  As a research assistant, I had many responsibilities: I collected and analyzed participants’ demographic data on R-program and Microsoft Excel. I also found, cited, summarized and presented, new and old articles for literature review or for discussion; assist in running experiments on participants during studies. I also edited papers according to APA guidelines. This job taught me numerous skills, including the basics on conducting research.

There are many similarities in the work I did at TRUMAN and at Department of Nutrition and Food Studies (DNFS). I conducted a lot of literature research but the subject was a little different at both place; TRUMAN was mainly about Psychology and its aspects whereas DNFS is mainly about nutrition and energy metabolism. TRUMAN research was mainly on computer whereas I used multiple equipment and machines at DNFS. The confidentiality at both places just goes without saying. Subsequently, both of the experiences are extremely rewarding and will help me in finding a job after graduation from George Mason University in 2016. Due to these jobs, I have increased my networking skills. I am very grateful to OSCAR for providing me this great opportunity of learning this invaluable experience and I cannot thank the department enough.