UTPA Report: 8th Annual College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Conference

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 7:14am

Students conducting research at The University of Texas-Pan American are tackling some big issues that affect the Rio Grande Valley from health care access to political corruption, reporter Jennifer Berghom has more on that.

Ethan Portillo says he was curious to find out from area health care professionals what they thought about retail clinics, "Well, personally, I used to work at a pharmacy that was bought out by one of these chains, and then from talking about these clinics, I was like this is a new idea, this hasn't happened in the Valley, so I looked more into it and found out what they were and decided to go on from there and how it would affect the Valley."

The UTPA senior was one of many students who showed their work at the eighth-annual College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Conference recently. Students displayed their research addressing many issues facing the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, including health care access and the lack of women entering science-related careers.

Dr. Martha Cantú, UTPA vice president for Student Affairs, "They are investigating some really interesting topics that we need to know more about, especially in the Rio Grande Valley like health care and just so many different science-related fields."

UTPA's Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Martha Cantú says having students conduct research inspires them to perform better in their classes and encourages them to continue studying issues that matter to them.

Dr. Martha Cantú, "It shows that we want to engage our students in real problems of today, so they see the relevance and they see the importance of it, and as I was telling some of the students, we're counting on them to solve these issues that are difficult to solve but are very, very important to the very existence of health care in the Valley and of our population here, so I feel like we're in good hands and I feel like the students have really done their research well. I'm really, really proud of them."

Dr. Martha Cantú, "I just think it's so important and this kind of research, hands-on kinds of things are very important, this is how we're going to learn a lot about what we need to be doing what are the trends where are we headed and especially in our population here in the Valley so I think it's fantastic. It's great."

Portillo says he is grateful for having the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate student, "It's a great honor, I mean, I would think that this kind of research wouldn't be done until you're a graduate student and be able to present this ... It was a big learning experience because you have to go out there and talk to people and learn more about the field, about the anthropology, and being out in the field, getting feedback, was a big experience for me."

I'm Jennifer Berghom reporting for UTPA and News Center 23.

The university hosts events for students to showcase their research throughout the school year.

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