FCS research labs to present at child development conference

March 31, 2017



Andrew Bell
Staff Reporter | agb022@ latech.edu


The family and child studies department is looking forward to making a positive impact outside of the classroom, at the Society for Research and Child Development conference April 6-8 in Austin, Texas. 


Assistant professors for family and child studies Julie Rutledge and Katie Barrow will present data from their research labs at the Society for Research and Child Development (SRCD) conference.


Rutledge’s Children’s Preventative Health and Social Development (CHiPS) lab will present paper and poster presentations on childhood obesity and nutritional values with a quantitative approach. Barrow’s Sexual Health and Families Team (SH&FT) will also be presenting, with a poster presentation on the topic of sexuality and gender development in youth, families and communities with a more qualitative approach.


Barrow said that her lab includes a very hands-on and vigorous process.


“We look at words, not numbers,” Barrow said. “We collected 37 narratives on how young adults experienced their gender growing up, and how they learned about gender in their families. We go through each narrative, line by line, and we come up with common codes and themes across all of the data. It’s a very intensive process but it’s awesome.”


Barrow specified that her research lab is aimed toward a different age group than Rutledge’s lab.


“My research lab is more focused on adolescents,” Barrow said. “We’ve interviewed people on a variety of issues related to their own sexuality, as well as gender development.”


Rutledge also broke down the data included in her presentations. Her research lab will present paper symposiums as well as poster presentations at the conference.


The paper presentations include information about childhood obesity.


“My first symposium has to do with the role that parenting plays in childhood obesity,” Rutledge said. “The second symposium deals with the outcomes of being obese related to the classroom, bullying and peer-relations.”


Rutledge also mentioned her two poster presentations, which are both related to a project called We Inspire Smart Eating, a nutrition education curriculum at Head Start in Ruston, including suggested diets for certain families to test the effectiveness of the diets.


“The first poster presentation is on the overall findings from the WISE project,” Rutledge said. “We evaluated the results after our intervention year and compared it to the same information gathered from the families before we started to see if we had an impact.”


The second poster presentation was based on a Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance program, according to Rutledge.


“We’re focusing on making changes in the classroom because teachers have over 500 opportunities a year to interact with children around food (breakfast, lunch and two snacks),” Rutledge said. “They generally eat more with teachers than their families. These teachers have an incredible opportunity to influence the next generation.”


Peyton Percle, a graduate student majoring in clinical mental health counseling, was a part of the CHiPS research lab. She expressed how happy she is to be involved in the lab.


“It has been amazing being able to work on research projects that benefit others,” Percle said. “Seeing how much what we do positively influences the lives of others is so rewarding. Research quickly became a passion of mine, and that’s because Dr. Rutledge’s love for what she does radiates onto those around her.”




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