Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Economics and business major Victoria Picone ’05 (Bethlehem, Pa.) recently studied the relationship between obesity in children and the education of their mothers.

She worked under the guidance of David Stifel, assistant professor of economics and business, whose expertise in the economic and social aspects of nutrition and food programs in developing countries earned him placement in Who’s Who in Agriculture Higher Education. Stifel previously researched this topic with Susan Averett, professor and head of economics and business.

Picone’s research, which examined the economic likelihood of a child aged between three and 11 to be obese, involved preparing graphs and charts and analyzing the data and variables to lay the groundwork for further work on the topic.

A portion of research was to estimate the body mass index (BMI) of children at the midst of being considered overweight. It also estimated the median and mean BMI in children.

“The standard approach uses statistical methods to explain either a variation in BMI for the average child or whether a child is overweight,” Stifel explains, adding that the method for determining this information helps to explain the varying BMI rates.

Picone, a member of the golf team and executive board chair of Lafayette Activities Forum, started by learning about factors that affect obesity rates in children, then analyzed data from National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

She collaborated with Stifel through Lafayette’s distinctive EXCEL Scholars program, which allows students to conduct research with faculty while earning a stipend. The program has helped to make Lafayette a national leader in undergraduate research. Many of the more than 160 students who participate each year share their work through articles in academic journals and/or conference presentations.

“Lafayette is unique in the way it facilitates collaborative research between faculty and students,” Stifel says. “The fact that this collaboration is not only encouraged, but is also supported financially makes Lafayette an ideal place for students who are interested in doing academic research.”

Stifel was patient and understanding, Picone says.

“This project has allowed me to experience the research side of the college environment and has given me a better understanding of what research is like,” says Piccone. “It has helped steer me towards a more definite career path.”

Picone believes Lafayette’s intimate size, desirable student-to-faculty ratio, and friendly staff of professors encourage students to get involved in research outside the classroom.

“Lafayette has prepared me for my future by not only challenging me academically, but also offering many opportunities to explore different realms, such as research and internships,” she says. “Lafayette’s educational approach centers around its students, which is unlikely in larger institutions.”

In addition to leading Lafayette Activities Forum and playing golf, Picone is an officer of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, an America Reads tutor, a volunteer through the Landis Community Outreach Center, and a member of College Democrats.

As a national leader in undergraduate research, Lafayette sends one of the largest contingents to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research each year. Forty-two students were accepted to present their work at the last annual conference in April.

Categorized in: Academic News