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Student Projects

Student Graduate Projects

Below you can find student graduate projects.

Sean Bell


Cultural Context and Career Choice: Pursuing a Future in Nutrition
Click image to see larger version of poster.
Sean Bell

Student Internships

As part of the NCW curriculum, students are required to complete a 120 hour internship, providing them with supervised observation and field experience in community health settings conducted by government, voluntary, professional or industrial/ corporate organizations. Through the NCW program, the CSUF Center for Internships and Community Engagement (CICE) specifically identifies and places students in organizations that address childhood obesity and nutrition for diverse populations.

Below are some internship experiences from the Spring 2013 semester.


Rachel Aparicio

"I am currently interning for a non-profit organization called Alliance for a Better Community. They mainly serve the Latino population in Los Angeles, and currently are focusing on the Boyle Heights area. My supervisor Is Mark and he is the Health Policy Coordinator. I sort of stumbled upon this internship and really did not know much about health policy until i started interning. We do lots of interesting stuff from finding/writing grants to working with the LAUSD, and even working with state legislators. Sometimes I am in awe when we are on conference calls with state legislators, we input ABC's opinion or our own opinion on new laws they are proposing, and sometimes even proposing our own. To be that close to forming policies for the state of California is pretty amazing if you ask me. I am still unsure of this is what I where I want to go with my career but it is a great experience."  

Jasmine Benavides

"Over the past weeks I have been interning for the YMCA of Greater Whittier. The program is called Activate Whittier and so far I have helped to make marketing materials for the program. Currently the materials I just finished making will be used for an Easter egg hunt for children at Parnell Park. I am excited for the day of the event, as we will have our own booth educating children and parents about nutrition and physical fitness. We will be distributing jump ropes and frisbees with the logo Activate Whittier. So far, I like interning for Activate Whittier because I get to experience obesity and nutrition program planning for underserved populations. I hope to share more in the future as my time interning in for the YMCA progresses."  

Brazilianca Biscos

"I am interning for the City of La Habra Child Development. This week I was taught how to process claims for our food program. Each provider sends us a claim at the end of the month with a menu for each day of the week. The menu shows us how many times they fed the children in their centers and if the food that they are giving to the children is approved by our food program which follows state guidelines. If their menu is up to date and the food they served followed proper servings of fruit, vegetable, proteins, and all that, they then get reimbursed for that month.

This pertains to nutrition because it helps me use everything that I learned in the nutrition classes of what is healthy and what is not health and how many servings of each goes into a meal. By reimbursing the providers for each month they are encouraged to continue feeding these children healthier food and this will help lower rates of children overweight and obese."


Diana Bojin

"I am currently doing my internship at a non-profit organization called Grandma's House of Hope. It is an organization that works with women that are in shelters, children living in motels, and food distribution to needy families. This is my first update on Facebook and in this update I want to talk about a specific day in my internship. On the first day of my internship I helped pack 70 bags of food for children living in motels in Anaheim. The bags were filled with foods such as protein, cereal, snacks, cans of veggies and fruit, cup of noodle soups, and peanut butter. These bags help to provide the kids with food for the weekend (Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday). SInce the kids main meal during the week is at school many of them go hungry when they are away from school such as weekends. So Grandma's House of Hope helps to provide the kids with food. They are distributed to them directly at the motels every other Thursday. So, I helped put together those bags."


Andrew Cardenas

"I am currently interning at Dr. Ribas Health Club in Santa Ana, California. DRHC is a after school program that helps to prevent and combat childhood obesity by getting the children to be active while they are with us, teaching them what is good to eat versus what is bad, and attempting to make slow changes in their life by assigning them fitness homework while they are not with us. It is a fun place to intern at and it is extremely fulfilling to see these kids lose weight and start to lead healthier lifestyles. So far in my internship my responsibilities include, setting up equipment for activities, cleaning up after the children, help motivate them to keep working hard, and putting away the equipment that we use. Well that is all for now, I will be back in a while to give everyone an update."  

Jennifer Chavarriaga

I'm interning at Orange County Department of Ed. On Thursday we were at an event working with the Anaheim Ducks to promote healthy breakfast. We had a workshop where we would rotate students every 7 min. We would teach them what a balance breakfast is and how it provides potential energy throughout the day. We demonstrated with an aqua pod by pumping air into the bottle and having it blast off. This gave the students a visual that when they eat a balanced breakfast, it will give them the potential energy to blast off their day!


Heidi Heramia

"I currently intern at the Pediatric Therapy Network, specifically in the Early Head Start Program (EHS), located in Torrance, CA. The EHS program aids low income pregnant mothers and infants/toddlers (0-3) in healthy growth. The program has health educators that visit the homes of the mothers/families and help them with their daily lives, which also includes nutrition. EHS also has a children's center where the mothers can leave their toddlers. I work with the Health Manager of the program which mostly deals with promoting healthy eating to the families by creating events or making personal healthy eating recommendations. Every time I work with her, she teaches me some of her tasks as a health manager of the program.

I am learning so much from my internship! I am learning how non-profit organizations work and the duties of a health manager. The toddlers are also amazing! I am looking forward to share with you all of my experiences."


Victoria Le Wall

Hi everyone! I currently intern at Easter Seals Senior Day Services located in Brea. The seniors here get physical exercise at least three times a week. When I come in on Mondays and Fridays, I get to exercise with them (each session typically runs for about an hour). They get very motivated with the staff and the interns joining them, not to mention the upbeat music that gets them going! In addition to joining them in their exercises, I also help pass out things like weights and pom-poms. It is great that this facility encourages physical activity. Even the physically disabled seniors still benefit from it.


Stephanie Ramos

I am happy to say that the Open House that we had at Horizon Pregnancy Clinic this past Saturday, March 16th, went well and we had a good turn out. Many families and individuals came to the clinic to see the location and what is offered there. We also made a few new connections during that time which will help with fundraising efforts. I am now working on preparing for the annual banquet we have coming up in April by contacting many local businesses and sending out letters. I also continually update the resource list for the organization and make sure the women we help get what they need. We have had more women come in lately for our services, so it has been nice to see that more people are recognizing this small organization. We had 2 women come in today for pregnancy testing and ultrasounds after the pregnancy was confirmed, along with a woman and her boyfriend who came in today for our Earn While You Learn class, that teaches about child care and health. Today we also sent out a few hundred banquet invites to those who have supported the organization before along with other new connections. It was a very busy day, but it all went well.


Joshshalae Robinson

"As a student for this cohort study I found an internship at the Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove. I had a lot of internship opportunities to choose from but this one seemed to be the best suiting for me and it was. I am working with children from ages 7-11 years old. They are some of the most unique and talented children I have ever met. They have a passion for learning and are willing to learn everything I teach them when it comes to proper nutrition and adequate amounts of physical fitness per day. The Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove thrive on children eating healthy and be physically fit, which is something I love about this experience. Every day that I go to work I get to plan the children's activities for an hour. For the first portion of my internship I choose to teach the kids how to eat properly and healthy. We have focused on how to enjoy eating fruits and vegetables without being discouraged to eat them. I have taught the children that fruits and vegetables can be fun and so far they love it. This is only the beginning but so far so great."


Stephanie Rondini

My internship has been very rewarding and I would like to tell you about an event I participated in. I participated in the Health Fair for Fullerton College where I helped set up, was in charge of the iHEART, and helped tear down everything at the end of the day. I was able to inform students about the many benefits Health Services has as well as what their health fee includes. It is amazing to see how many people did not know where Health Services was or that they can get many services for free. I also answered questions regarding nutrition plus the differences between cigarettes, hookah, and electronic cigarettes.


Chayanin Silpwatanaskul

Hello! My name is Chayanin. I am interning at St. Jude Heritage Health Education. The department focuses mainly on weight management and diabetes education. They offer a weight management program called HMR (Health Management Resources), which is a very structured weight loss program. Most patients in the program are medically supervised due to the very low calories meal plans. The bottom picture shows the table we set up to promote the HMR program at the health fair held by St. Jude Hospital.


Christine Tran

I am currently working on two research projects for AHOC. Both have to deal with schools in cities in Orange County. For one of the projects, we are to look up information on current physical activity-related and nutrition-related programs the schools have going on for the children and/or their family. The second project is about schools that are currently on Safe Routes to School National Partnership and have current routes being modified. We are also to call the engineers in those cities to ask the reason for the modification of those routes.


Mini-Exchange Program

Five students from the Nutrition for a Changing World program recently participated in a mini-exchange program at UC Davis to learn about nutrition-related graduate programs and career pathways. Participants toured the UC Davis campus and laboratory facilities, met and interacted with faculty and other graduate students, attended a seminar, learned about student research opportunities and more.

Below are testimonials from Cal State Fullerton students who participated in the mini-exchange program.


Joshua Attwood, Undergraduate, Kinesiology Major

"UC Davis was an amazing, eye opening experience that provided a lot more than I had expected. The campus was beautiful, the weather was incredible, and it integrated well with the town of Davis. Being given the opportunity to participate in a graduate level lecture hall was a good sample of what graduate students go through. The classroom sizes reflected the necessity students require to fully understand the information they are learning. Also, speaking with graduate officers on the process of what makes the best candidate, strategies for applying, and really discovering what your area of study will be truly helped to focus my mind on what I look to research in this world. I thank Dr. McEligot and all the staff from UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton who helped contribute to my wonderful experience over the weekend."  

Jessica Miller, Undergraduate, Finance Major

"The mini-exchange at UC Davis was amazing as well as informative. I have never known much about graduate school until this trip and now I am very interested. We had the privilege to sit in on a graduate class, attend a graduate seminar, take a campus tour, observe some labs, and meet with multiple doctors involved in the admissions process. For students that are interested in graduate programs, there is a lot to know about. The best piece of advice I can give someone is to research schools and find the best fit for your goals. Pick a school that has the exact program you want and get in contact with a few faculty members you want to work with. Getting your name out there will help during the application process. Each school has different requirements for admissions so it is crucial to do your research. I also recommend taking a trip like we did to get a feel for the school. Also, it is important on the personal statement to make clear why you are a good fit for graduate school. If you have a year or more off, make it productive. Do things that correlate to the program and that will help enhance your chances of getting accepted. Good luck everyone!!"  

Nancy Vargas, MPH student

"My main interest is in reducing the health disparity in the Latino community. UC Davis has multiple studies that concentrate on the obesity epidemic in the Latino community. Getting to see and hear about different types of current research has increased my knowledge in the nutrition field. Before this trip, I had never visited a PhD granting institution outside of southern California. As a Latina, I do not see many members of my community pursue post-baccalaureate education. At UC Davis, I met with graduate students who had the same cultural background as I do. It made me believe that obtaining a PhD was possible. I attended seminars in which I could see myself attending as a student in the future. The program has furthered my interest to pursue a doctoral study."  

Vattana Peong, MPH student

"I have enjoyed my exchange visit at UC Davis offered by CSUF. I had the opportunity to meet with graduate students, professors, and the Nutrition Biology chair. They were all very knowledgeable, welcoming, friendly, and enthusiastic, which made my trip incredibly fruitful. I was very happy that I was able to sit in a graduate nutrition classroom and learn about many research opportunities being offered to students at UC Davis. As for the campus tour, it was very enjoyable to explore such a beautiful and bike-friendly campus. My visit to UC Davis has been a great learning experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I would also like to thank Dr. McEligot for arranging and making this important exchange visit program possible for students."  

Kristina Beasley, Undergraduate, Health Science Major

"The USDA's grant project, "A Childhood Obesity and Nutrition Curriculum for a Diverse and Changing Population," was an opportunity graciously extended to me through Dr. Archana McEligot and Dr. Laura Chandler. The purpose of the project was to continue training and strengthen linkages between institutions for students and faculty. Myself and four other students from CSUF left on March 9th for a 2 day exchange at UC Davis, a leading nutrition education and research university. During our visit we experienced UC Davis, both on and off the campus.

On campus, our first connection was with a current graduate student, Albert, and Dr. Francene Steinberg, Chair and Professor of the Nutrition Department. Albert provided us with information about his field of study where he works with levels of carotenoids found in skin samples, as well as how he has received funding for his degree. He recommended applying for grants through agencies such as the National Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture. Additionally, he suggested looking into the Health Career Connection Network for professional related experience. He advised that applying for funding will not only help out students financially, but will also increase the desirability of the student when applying for graduate programs.

The next stop on our agenda was attending Dr. Steinberg's graduate nutrition class. Her lecture focused on vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin. She reviewed implications of deficiencies, daily recommended intakes, challenges to evaluation as well as setting daily recommended intakes, and sources of acquiring the vitamin. I found it to be interesting that children have shown a rise in vitamin D deficiency, which most commonly is assumed to be the result of an increase use of sunscreen. Aside from the valuable information she presented, her ability to articulate information was captivating.

We next met with Dr. Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr who serves as the Chair of the Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology. Her passion for her field was obvious as she introduced us to the Cooperative Extension Program (CEP). The CEP connects university research to the community by emphasizing what is needed within a community. She also spoke about the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. This program is through the University of California and funds educators to facilitate programs. Additionally, she stressed the importance of acquiring research based experience, maintaining competitive GPA and test scores, and developing research. Lastly, she stressed the importance of connecting with current faculty.

Dr. Steven Lee, Graduate Diversity Officer, met with our group next to discuss more about UC Davis and the application process. He suggested developing our curriculum vitae (CV) as well as our personal statements. He suggested when writing our personal statement to emphasize our strengths, passions, and encouraged us to address extenuating factors. He enlightened us that graduate school is a tailed approach, and suggested researching current faculty to find a professor with similar interests to our own. He also challenged us to ask faculty or other people we wish to receive a letter of recommendation (LOR) from if they would in fact be able to write us a positive LOR.

We then attended a graduate group seminar, which attending graduates are required to attend once a month. This was followed by a meeting with Dr. Lucia Kaiser and one of her graduate students where they introduced their project aimed to increase nutritional knowledge. We wrapped up our trip by touring the Nutrition building with Dr. Steinberg. Here we were able to see where testing occurred by touring the lab facilities. This invaluable experience introduced me to UC Davis and opened my eyes to the availability of resources students have. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope that what I brought home can also aid other students in their academic endeavors."





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