2015 Participants
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NAME: Haley Stewart

Gender Essentialism

SCRATCH is an ongoing evaluation of a grant-funded, community-based gardening program, and it stands for Sustainable Community Revitalization in Appalachia Through Children’s Hands. It was implemented in 2011 and has a 5-year plan. The main purpose of this research is to implement the gardening program and determine how effective the program is. SCRATCH aims to help children from kindergarten through eighth grade increase their knowledge and efficacy regarding nutrition and technology by teaching them gardening, cooking, and producing garden products for sale at local markets. Technology is integrated in order for the children to plan and care for their gardens; it is also used to report their progress through websites and to market their project. The USDA requires that the evaluators ask a set of “common measures” questions and these are administered and reported back to the USDA by research assistants.  Another of the evaluative techniques for nutritional efficacy is to show the children a PowerPoint with pictures of different fruits and vegetables; for each picture, the child is asked what they think the fruit/vegetable is, if they have eaten it before, and to rate how much they like it if they have had it. The research is strictly a program-evaluation. Our job is to report back the extent to which the project is successful in meeting its goals. My job throughout the semester is to go to at least one site each week in order to collect and enter data in this ongoing research project. Although my work will give me valuable experience in data collection with human subjects, it may not yield particular opportunity to present or publish this work in a way that will particularly benefit any applications I make for graduate school. Beginning work on a new project with a research mentor through SURE will allow me to collect publishable data and analyze it in a short period of time, increasing my research experience and qualifications for graduate school.