2018 Quesada Research Award funds five student projects

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January 23, 2018

Five Barrett Honors College students whose research interests run the gamut from healthcare to humanitarian aid have won the 2018 Jose Franco and Francisca Ocampo Quesada Research Award.

The Quesada Research Award was created to increase understanding of Hispanic culture and the influences of the Hispanic community while promoting the interdisciplinary work of Hispanic researchers. The award, which ranges from $500 to $1,500, is given to students working on Hispanic topics as part of their honors thesis projects.

Quesada Award recipients have the opportunity to present their research at Barrett Honors College’s annual Celebrating Honors Symposium of Theses and Creative Projects. This year’s symposium is scheduled for 4:30-6 p.m., Tuesday, April 10 at the Barrett Honors College Tempe campus.

Cristina Musch

“I am extremely grateful and excited to have been selected to win the Quesada scholarship,” said Christina Musch, a senior in biochemistry with a minor in Spanish.

The scholarship will help cover expenses for Munch as she travels around the city of Phoenix collecting data on barriers Hispanics face when trying to access health care. She plans to create a map of available health care resources that she will distribute at a health fair she will organize.

Emily Schmid

Emily Schmid, center, at her thesis defense.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the Quesada Award. I am very passionate about my research and am thankful for the support the Quesada family has given me. When I present my research I will be thinking of the Quesada family and hope to carry on the family name by continuing my research as an award recipient,” said Emily Schmid, a senior nursing student.

Schmid already has completed her honors thesis titled Low-Income Mexican-American Women and Infants and the Effects of Breastfeeding on Obesity Rates. She will use her funds to travel to Spokane, Washington in April to present her findings at the Western Institute of Nursing Conference.

“I am excited for the opportunity to share this research with the nursing community, as I hope to make a difference in this specific population,” she said, adding that her goal is to become an obstetrics nurse, publish her research and volunteer in the community.

“I am truly humbled and filled with gratitude to the donors and to the honors college for making this possible,” said Janice Dilgert, a senior double majoring in psychology and health education and health promotion.

Janice Dilgert

Dilgert conducted research on the effect of bicultural values on protecting the well-being of Hispanic adolescents as they transition from high school to Arizona State University.

“The adolescents who are highly bicultural, meaning highly adjusted to both American culture and Hispanic culture, are showing lower values of depressive symptoms, stress symptoms and anxiety symptoms,” she said, adding that she hopes that through her presentations at SRA, further research will conducted and future programs designed to help support Hispanic students as they transition to college.

Ana Aragon, a senior studying applied biological sciences, is gratified that her research has gained support.

“Knowing that their (the Quesada family’s) mission is to fund projects that are aimed at supporting the Hispanic community reassures me that my thesis work serves a greater purpose,” she said.

Aragon received funding to professionally translate a Physician’s Cultural Competence for Patient Satisfaction scale into Spanish.

“The scale is crucial in helping analyze how different cultural and demographic factors influence patient satisfaction among Hispanic and European-American patients. Translating the scale into Spanish will ensure that patients are able to comprehend the questions and respond accordingly for accurate data collection,” she said.

Gabriel León, a senior geography and urban planning major, will use his award to continue research on Arizona’s southern border region and migrant crossings into the state.

“Documenting a landscape over 13,000 square miles for search and rescue/recovery of lost and deceased migrants has been a daunting challenge, and there's still so much left to do. I will use the funds to cover gasoline, food, medical supplies and training to be able to continue on-the-ground research as both an academic and a humanitarian aid worker,” he said.

“With more than 3,000 confirmed migrant deaths and somewhere between 9,000 and 15,000 estimated migrant deaths on the Arizona-Mexico border, it is critical to understand the region and be able to respond adequately to the humanitarian crisis,” he said.

Phil Hershkowitz, a member of the Quesada family that funds the award, said the quality of applicants and their thesis projects is impressive.

“When we got the opportunity to be associated with Barrett we knew we would get quality applicants, but every year we are very pleased to get so many high quality applicants. The depth and scope of their research is what impresses us the most,” he said.

“The pool of applicants continues to be excellent. As long as Barrett wants us involved in supporting students, we would like to stay there. We have found a home at Barrett.”

Barrett Honors College is in the midst of Campaign 2020, an effort to gain support for programs and opportunities that help students fulfill their goals and potential. The campaign focuses on building support in several areas, including student scholarships; fostering global citizenship by expanding access to educational travel, global leaders and internships; increasing the amount of professional development funds for honors faculty and establishing a visiting honors faculty program; and developing an honors student success center. Find out more about how you can join us in strengthening Barrett’s unique learning environment.



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