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Arnold School of Public Health

Ten Arnold School graduate students earn 2016-2017 SPARC Graduate Research Grants

February 17, 2017 | Erin Bluvas, 

Ten of the 54 2016-2017 Support to Promote Advancement of Research and Creativity (SPARC) Graduate Research Grants from the USC Office of the Vice President for Research have been awarded to Arnold School graduate students. The students, who represent the Departments of Exercise Science, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, will have a little over a year to complete SPARC-funded projects (up to $5,000 each) that support the completion or promotion of their research, creative or other meritorious scholarship.

Previous SPARC awards have been used by Arnold School students to fund projects, such as the impact of false positive mammography results on breast cancer screening intention among black women, systematic analysis of spelling as a measure of orthographic and phonological awareness skills in first graders, and the associations between food shopping patterns and obesity.

Upon completion, the students will present their findings at Graduate Student Day and are encouraged to develop articles and papers based on their projects for publication in scholarly journals. Before the actual projects even begin, however, the students have already learned about the competitive research proposal process that will continue throughout many of their careers.

The Office of the Vice President for Research designs SPARC application materials to simulate the experience of applying for nationally competitive grants, helping applicants develop their skills in these areas. Students must supply the standard components of a comprehensive grant proposal package, such as a detailed research narrative, budget and other supporting documentation.

Congratulations to the following Arnold School graduate students who have earned 2016-2017 SPARC awards.



Project Title

Oluwole Babatunde

Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Racial Disparities in Diagnosis-to-Treatment Waiting Time and Receipt of Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy among Patients Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in South Carolina

Alycia Boutte


Health, Promotion, Education & Behavior


Diet Quality and Mental Health in Pregnancy Study

Yoojin Cho

Health, Promotion, Education & Behavior

Novel Tobacco Products with Characterizing Flavors

Mark Guinter

Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Development and Application of an Estrogen-Related Dietary Pattern to Predict Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk

Adam Harrison

Exercise Science

Measuring Error Detection during a Continuous Motor Task

Christopher Perry

Exercise Science

Eye-Hand Coupling Within Predictable Movements

Michaela Schenkelberg


Exercise Science

Patterns of and Influences on Physical Activity of Preschoolers with Developmental Disabilities

Joshua Sparks

Exercise Science

Adaptations in Glucose Metabolism Following a Chronic Aerobic Exercise Training Protocol in a Sedentary, Overweight or Obese Population

Melanie Sutherland

Epidemiology & Biostatistics 

Longitudinal Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms among Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes

Jiali Zheng

Epidemiology & Biostatistics 

Association between Inflammatory Potential of Diet and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Two Prospective Cohorts


2015-2016 SPARC Awards

Julius Fridriksson (COMD) recieves 2017 Breakthrough Leadership Award

Arnold School’s Jan Eberth (EPID/BIOS) and Daniel Fogerty (COMD) named 2017 Breakthrough Stars

Mohammad (Rifat) Haider (HSPM) and Sarah (Morgan) Hughey (HPEB) named 2017 Breakthrough Graduate Scholars

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.