CSA Day 2021: Student Spotlights in Nutrition, Exercise & Sports Science & Family & Consumer Science

Updated: Apr 11

Interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.


Jill standing outside
Photo courtesy of Jill Bromenschenkel

Jill Bromenschenkel

Project title: “Adulting: a study of life skills and the Millennial and Gen Z cohorts”

Please describe your research.

I conducted focus groups where I held discussions with Meredith students in the Millennial and Gen Z cohorts about their experiences obtaining life skills and their participation in family and consumer sciences classes.

What inspired your topic?

I was inspired by the idea of "adulting" and how young adults enter adulthood often missing skills that help them to navigate life. I am going to be a family and consumer sciences teacher and I was curious about what kinds of skills would help to support my students as they transition out of school into adulthood.

How did COVID-19 impact your research process?

I was about to conduct my focus groups right before we went home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, I conducted my focus groups via Google Meet rather than in person.

Do you feel that this research or some aspect of what you’ve learned will apply to your future, whether in continuing education or in the working world?

This research will directly apply to what I will do in the future as I help to prepare the next generation with life skills as a family and consumer sciences teacher.


Caroline sitting by the front Meredith fountain with her onyx
Photo courtesy of Caroline Coleman

Caroline Coleman

Project title: “Intuitive Eating Practices: An Expanded Mixed Methods Project”

Please describe your research.

My research encompasses intuitive eating in college students. I came on board with a graduate student’s project and have continued to grow and expand the research. Intuitive eating means using your body’s hunger and fullness cues to decide what and when to eat. The original research included Meredith College and NC State University but I have since expanded my population to add community colleges in the area. Within my literature review, I found most of the research that has been conducted included only white college-aged females and I noticed a gap in the research including the African American and minority groups. My thesis study is focusing on the eating habits in African American populations and other minority groups to gain an understanding of their eating habits and what motivates them to eat.

What inspired your topic?

I was asked to join this project as a freshman and fell in love with the research, particularly the qualitative (focus group aspect) of the study. I enjoyed interacting with the participants and being able to learn from their personal stories and perspectives that cannot be captured through survey and numerical-based questions. As mentioned above, I noticed the lack of diversity regarding eating habits and wanted to help bridge this gap in the literature.

How did COVID-19 impact your research process?

Due to COVID-19, I was unable to hold focus groups in person and had to switch my methods of collecting that data to Zoom. I also had difficulties reaching out and planning around the schedules of all the participants so I switched from a focus group setting to individual interviews. I have been fortunate to still be able to gather qualitative data as this is my favorite aspect of this project. I am hopeful to conduct a few more interviews to gain more perspectives. I also faced the challenge of contacting community colleges that would be willing to work with me during this time. I am fortunate that two community colleges were able to send out my survey.

Do you feel that this research or some aspect of what you’ve learned will apply to your future, whether in continuing education or in the working world?

I have learned more about the eating habits of college individuals, which is who I hope to work with in the future. I would like to be a sports dietitian and work at the college level with athletes. While the research I have conducted now does not specify athletes or non-athletes, I can take what I have learned and apply it in my career. I have learned valuable communication, analytics, listening and interpersonal skills from my research that I will be able to use in all my day to day interactions with others, professional and personal.


Kim standing smiling at the camera
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Schuh

Kimberly Schuh

Project title: “Fine Tuning Physical Education: Unpacking Barriers that Inhibit a Positive Experience”

Please describe your research.

My thesis consists of an extensive literature review that dives deep into five different barriers that I have researched and have found that impact students' experiences in physical education classes.

What inspired your topic?

I am going to be a physical education teacher because I have always had great PE teachers who shaped my love for movement, health and wellness and teaching others how to live a healthy life. However, I know that not all experiences within physical education have been positive for students. Therefore, I wanted to dive into research to find out how to make myself aware of these barriers and how to educate myself to be a better teacher for my future students.

How did COVID-19 impact your research process?

COVID-19 totally ended my initial research project. I had to start from scratch and come up with a new topic. I was originally going to research how different types of sports drinks and different alkaline levels of water helped athletes recover after activity. However, due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, I had to scratch my thesis entirely and start over. After brainstorming and thinking about new topics, I landed with my current thesis idea, which I actually enjoy a lot more!

Do you feel that this research or some aspect of what you’ve learned will apply to your future, whether in continuing education or in the working world?

Absolutely. After COVID-19 halted my original idea, I knew I wanted to research a topic related to my future career. I will take every part of what I have learned throughout my research process and implement it into my first years as I grow as a PE teacher!


Interviews compiled by Elinor Shelp-Peck, Co-Editor in Chief

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