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Critical Thinking & Research >>>

Plate Waste Study

During my foodservice management rotation at the Solana Beach School District, I collected food waste data from first to third-grade students at Solana Santa Fe School to help gather resources for my internship director’s plate waste research study. A total of 20 data points were collected by taking pictures of the pre and post lunch plates (ten from boys and ten from girls). I subjectively estimated the waste percentage from each plate and came up with suggestions to reduce plate waste. Please take a look at the report by clicking on the following link. The picture on the right shows one of the post-lunch data points I collected.

Smarter Lunchroom Initiative Effectiveness Assessment via Plate Waste Study

The Smarter Lunchroom Initiative (now called the Smarter Lunchroom Movement) presents a set of strategies to help shape healthy-eating habits among school children. One of its ideas is to influence students’ eating behaviors by altering the school lunchroom environment, such as adding healthy eating posters on the cafeteria wall. The purpose of this project is to assess the effectiveness of the Smarter Lunchroom interventions on Smythe Elementary School and Vista Del Mar School from a plate waste standpoint. Under the guidance of Mrs. Kusanyonon Mackenzie, I collected more than 1000 plate waste data from these two schools. I analyzed the data using Microsoft Excel and summarized my findings and suggestions in an infographic.

Pureed Diet Customer Satisfaction Survey

During my clinical rotation at Scripps Health, I learned that patients on pureed diet can have decreased appetite and food intake due to the specific texture of their meals and thus become more prone to nutritional risks. To investigate the acceptability of the pureed diet served at the two Scripps Mercy hospitals (San Diego and Chula Vista), I conducted a customer satisfaction survey using the pre-existing survey form provided by the Food and Nutrition Department. This survey asked patients to assess the pureed diet from a variety of aspects, such as appearance and flavor. I carried out the survey through in-person interviews. A total of 7 patients, or their family members, were interviewed. I utilized my critical thinking skills to analyze customer replies and formulate relevant suggestions for improvement. Later on, I was informed that one of my suggestions has been adopted by the Chula Vista hospital. Please take a look at the full report by clicking on the following link.

Pureed Food

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Systematic Review Project

For my Dietetics Senior Seminar class in spring 2016, I did a systematic review on the topic of "The Effects of Consuming Goat’s Milk Infant Formula on the Growth Outcomes of Infants and Children Compared to Cow’s Milk Infant Formula." While doing this project, I received training on analyzing human nutrition research articles. To narrow down the focus of my research topic, I systematically searched through several credible databases such as PubMed and Cochrane Library using keywords, and inclusion criteria. I was able to capture five primary research papers that were relevant to my topic. To analyze these five articles, I evaluated their background information and utilized the Quality Criteria Checklist. In the end, I came up with a graded conclusion statement and a practice guideline. I also orally presented my findings to the rest of the class. Please click on the following link to access my finished project.

Undergraduate Research Apprentice

In spring 2016, I participated in the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program at UC Berkeley. The program is led by graduate students who are willing to train undergraduate students about research techniques. In my case, I helped facilitate the sociology research project led by Ph.D. candidate Gillian Gualtieri. This project studied how people's perspectives towards gender and race influence their perceptions of fine dining in New York City and San Francisco. My duty in this project included assisting with primary data collection from popular food magazines in San Francisco Public Library and processing PDF files using Adobe Acrobat Pro. I was also responsible for administrative tasks, such as uploading data to team members. Additionally, I received training for qualitative coding analysis through this program. To know more about URAP, please click on this link

American Culture Engaged Scholarship Program Project (ACES)

In spring 2015, I participated in the ACES program through the course of Human Food Practices, which aimed at learning about food practices of Native Americans and Spanish explorers. In this program, I worked with four other group members to collect the origins of traditional foods eaten in the Fruitvale area. For each food item that we studied, we made an introductory card about its origin and its role in the diet of the historical population. These cards were then exhibited in the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park museum. In addition, we presented our findings to the rest of the class. Please click on the following links to see our presentation PowerPoint and my report on my experiences of doing this project. 

Junior Seminar Project

For my Dietetics Junior Seminar class in fall 2014, I completed a group project with three other partners. In this project, we did a library research on the topic of how coconut oil can affect people’s health. Each of us focused on a different angle of this topic, and we shared our findings to the class in the form of a presentation. For my part, I researched the effects of coconut oil on plasma cholesterol level and plasma triglyceride level in the U.S. population. Alongside the presentation, I also wrote a report on my focus area using professional language and citation format. Please click on the following link to see our presentation PowerPoint, my instructor’s evaluation form for the presentation, and my written report. 

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