Sunday, October 17, 2021

URSP Student Selassie Fugar Researches Multiple ways to Support the Bailey's Culmore Community

The Culmore neighborhood of Bailey’s Crossroads is an area located in Fairfax County, Virginia. As one of the most disadvantaged places in Northern Virginia, this area consists of many different types of people from the Latinx community as well as other races and ethnicities. Kaiser Permanente plays a big role in fostering the vision to build a better community in Culmore. Due to the grant that was given to George Mason University and CASA de Virginia, creating a vision for Culmore that improves their community based on the social determinants of health is more achievable.

My research focuses on food insecurity and providing what people need and what to eat in the community. My main focus amongst food insecurity is how to make people in the community comfortable with receiving free food and how to reduce unhealthy lifestyles as well. One way of fostering healthy lifestyles is providing access to free or cheaper healthy foods through connections with different farms and gardens with certain faith-based organizations. Another way we could foster healthy lifestyles is to set up cooking classes for people who don't know how to use healthy food.

From this project I have learned how to better communicate with others and how to assume that everyone I interview will be friendly instead of the opposite. Developing conversational skills will improve my outlook on this project and help me remember that it is not what I think is best for the community but what the community wants for themselves.

Reagan Emmerling Researches Gender Differences in those Participating in OSCAR Research Projects

I decided to join a summer research project because I knew how much it would benefit my future. I hope to one day become a college professor with heavy focuses on research and writing. Being part of a summer project was an easy, and highly beneficial, way to know if this career path suited me, and I am happy to announce that it did. I worked entirely virtual this summer in my research project, which completely changed my view on what my work could be and mean. I was able to take my research with me to amazing places, such as Acadia National Park, Myrtle Beach, my home in Ohio, and so much more. My summer would have looked so different had I not been able to work virtually, and I am so thankful that I was able to work remotely rather than being stationary in Virginia.

My original plan for my summer research was to cover on-campus living conditions during the pandemic, but then shifted to issues of housing instability in college student populations. I ended up on a project researching the massive gender difference in who is participating in OSCAR research projects. To briefly wrap up a summer’s worth of work in barely a sentence; roughly 7/10 of researchers in OSCAR over the past 10 years have been women, but George Mason is divided almost 50/50 in terms of gender. This tells us that something is drawing drastically more women to research programs, and we wanted to find out why. It turned out that other universities saw a similar trend in their participation rates as well.


My next steps are to return to campus in the fall as a junior, where I am majoring in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Women and Gender studies. I will be working on campus as a MASI peer mentor and as a research assistant mapping the 1926 Religious Bodies Census. I hope to find myself involved with more research projects and gain even more experience in my field. Following graduation, I plan to attend graduate school in Colorado, where I have already started looking at programs with a masters in Women’s History. I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity and hope to work with OSCAR in future projects.