Education: Bachelor of Science in life science (May 2019)
McNair Project: Primary Cancer Prevention Intervention for Youth Development Programs (2018)
Mentors: Sara Rosenkranz, Ph.D., and Richard Rosenkranz, Ph.D.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States; however, research is mainly focused on cancer treatments leaving research in primary cancer preventions to be sparse. The World Cancer Research Fund predicts an increase of cancer deaths to be from 8.2 million deaths in 2012 to 13 million deaths by 2030, but the total number of deaths can be reduced since 30% to 40% of cancers are preventable. Furthermore, the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research have created guidelines for lifestyle implementations for reducing the risk of cancer. More importantly, behaviors and habits formed during youth are found to translate into adulthood. Therefore, a behavioral intervention program targeting youth and adolescents is beneficial for long-term behavioral health changes and outcomes. The goal of our research is to create a comprehensive primary cancer prevention intervention to address a wide array of topics such as being a healthy weight; being physically active; eating whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and beans; limiting “fast foods”; limiting red and processed meat; limiting sugary drinks; and limiting alcohol. This primary cancer prevention intervention was developed using various behavioral theories, such as the Self-Determination Theory. Once fully developed, our goal is to disseminate it in youth development programs such as the Girl Scouts of America and the 4-H youth development program. The combination of behavioral-based theories and other previously created evidence-based behavioral interventions will allow us to build and refine an effective primary cancer intervention prevention.