April 2020
Dear CRESP Community:

With the rest of UD, our nation and the world, CRESP has been responding to the quickly changing turn of events as we all navigate the global health pandemic created by the spread of COVID-19. Like most organizations and institutions, our staff at CRESP is working remotely to promote 'social distancing', though our work continues and most projects are only modestly delayed. If we can be of any assistance to our colleagues during this time, please feel free to contact us ( cresp-directors@udel.edu ).  We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and doing well. We will work through this together and we remain dedicated to continuing our mission to improve outcomes for children, youth, adults and families. 

~ CRESP Directors

CRESP's Evaluation of Delaware's first special education-specific leadership training program: The Special Education Administrative Leadership (SEAL) program

The  Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS), in partnership with Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) and the Delaware Academy for School Leadership (DASL) at the University of Delaware, is offering the state's first special education-specific leadership training program. Called the Special Education Administrative Leadership (SEAL) program, it is supported by a five-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. CDS will implement the SEAL program, designing and delivering special education coursework and handling the logistics of internships, single-day retreats and other opportunities available to participants. The goal of the leadership program for special education administrators is to increase the number of SE leaders in DE who are certified. CRESP will provide the independent program evaluation for the project.

For more information about the SEAL evaluation project, click here .
CRUE Project Analysis Provides Beneficial Insight into the Types of Problems and Decisions Occurring in Schools

Center for Research Use in Education (CRUE) is a five-year project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education to better understand how decision-making and problem-solving happen in schools and how education researchers interact with educators to use research to address the current issues of schools. In addition to the surveys underway of educators and education researchers, the staff have been posting articles and blogs at their website, research4schools.org . Kati Tilley, one of the graduate assistants on the project, recently reported on the qualitative analysis of two open-ended questions in the Survey of Evidence in Education which asked what organizational decision was made in the last two years and why the decision was necessary. She reports the analysis in a Data Point, Types of Problems and Decisions Occurring Schools , posted on the Center’s website, Research4Schools.org . This Data Point and eight others have been prepared by CRUE researchers to report on findings from the Survey of Evidence in Education taken by educators.  
Testing a New Tool to Evaluate Dietary Change

One of CRESP’s primary goals is to, “Increase consumption of healthy foods, especially by those at risk for diet-related disease.” We are not alone in this work, as all across the US, programmatic efforts to improve diet often focus on increasing fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption and decreasing consumption of less-healthy foods such as high-sugar snacks and beverages. Until recently, a significant challenge has been the inherent unreliability of measuring the change in FV consumption that could result from our programs and interventions. For example, non-invasive methods to measure dietary FV intake typically rely on self-report of consumption, using a lengthy survey, over the prior 24 hours. Alternately, measurement of carotenoids, the enzymes that give FV their color and that accumulate in blood serum, is invasive and expensive.

However, these same carotenoids also accumulate in skin, offering a non-invasive and cost-effective measurement site compared to blood testing. The Veggie Meter TM (VM) measures skin carotenoid levels via a beam of LED light (also known as reflection-spectroscopy ). In a typical measurement, the index finger is inserted into the VM and subjected to a small amount of pressure. Each measurement takes several seconds and is recorded and displayed on the linked laptop; typically, three readings are taken and averaged. The reflection measurement is converted to a skin carotenoid score that is unique to the subject, using the VM’s pre-programmed algorithms that consider skin pigment other key factors.

CRESP recently purchased a VM, using funding awarded through UD’s “ACCEL” (Accelerating Clinical and Translational Research) program that supports community-based, foundational, and innovative research, and has started testing it in two carefully designed settings a non-profit medical clinic, and a volunteer-led diabetes education program. Specifically, the feasibility of the VM’s use in both clinical and community settings will be examined, as will be the range of carotenoid scores likely in an adult high-risk population. Data collected will support the development and implementation of broader and more rigorous research that will address obesity reduction and that will include a strong priority on increasing FV consumption.

While the clinical setting work has been temporarily suspended to ensure participant and data collector safety as a result of COVID-19, CRESP hopes to resume testing later in the spring of 2020.
University of Delaware researchers are leveraging an emerging technology known as social robots to test news ways to deliver cybersecurity training in the classroom.
Iyanna McCoy

Iyanna McCoy is a graduating senior studying Management Information Systems at the University of Delaware. She has been with CRESP since Fall 2018 as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. During her time at CRESP, she has worked on multiple projects including the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment and Related Disabilities (LEND), where she creates the weekly supplemental report. Iyanna has also worked on UD’s ADVANCE Institute’s  Interim Evaluation Report of Faculty Recruitment , which analyzes strategies to increase the representativeness of faculty from all under-represented groups (URGs) across all Colleges, especially within the STEM and Social Sciences fields. In addition, Iyanna worked with Zachary K. Collier on a R package that utilizes a neural network for the estimation of propensity scores with real data. Her research interest focus on supporting disenfranchised communities that lead to changes in policies and approaches. Prior to working at CRESP, Iyanna was a Data Scientist Intern at Education Analytics, a non-profit that aims to improve education systems based on statistical models and big data. 
 
Outside of CRESP, Iyanna is a Programming Intern for the University of Delaware’s Student Diversity and Inclusion where she supports the development of large and small-scale programs including planning the 2020 Lavender Graduation Ceremony. In addition, Iyanna serves as a College Access and Success Support Associate for TeenSHARP, a non-profit that increases underrepresented students’ access to college and develop student-leaders who are Successful, High-Achieving, and Reaching Potential (SHARP). When she is not at work or juggling classes, Iyanna is active on campus and is the President the National Association of Black Accountants , the Scholarships and Resources Chair for We’re First, a Delaware Diplomat, and a UDream Peer Mentor. She has received several awards including the Department Outstanding Service Award, Student of Distinction, Woman of Promise and the True Grit Award.
 
In her free time, Iyanna enjoys playing video games, listening to music from around the world, indulging in podcasts ranging from financial literacy to secret societies and trying out new recipes. After graduation, Iyanna will be relocating to Seattle, Washington to work for Microsoft as a Business Development Analyst .  
Mia Seibold

Mia Seibold is an undergraduate Research Assistant who has been working at CRESP since August of 2019. Mia is a Human Services Major with a concentration in Clinical Services and a minor in Disability Studies. After she graduates in 2022 she plans to attend graduate school to obtain her Masters in Social Work as she is interested in pursuing a career in medical social work or mental health counseling after graduate school. Outside of her work at CRESP Mia is involved in service organizations on campus (The Big Event; Gamma Sigma Sigma) and her hobbies include collaging, writing, and hiking. 

Mia began her work at CRESP through the College of Education and Human Development’s Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program. Mia spent most of her Fall semester (2019) assisting in the creation of an interview protocol for Dr. Allison Karpyn’s evaluation of the student experience of Lori’s Hands volunteers; she also works closely with Research Coordinator Tara Tracy. Lori’s Hands is a service-learning organization which pairs students who are interested in health and helping others with clients who are living with chronic illnesses. Student volunteers assist their client with tasks that are difficult for them to do on their own such as cooking or cleaning as well as offer companionship. In her second semester at CRESP, Mia has used the protocol in her one-on-one interviews with these students. Conducting these interviews has been an irreplaceable learning experience for Mia and she looks forward to her continued work on this project whose goal is to provide information to Lori’s Hands leadership on ways they could improve and grow their efforts to benefit both students and their clients.
CRESP had a fun first-ever staff contest last month called the, "We love CRESP" door decoration contest. The team winners were Kathleen McCallops and Aly Blakeney (winning door, pictured right).

It was a great staff event and showed how CRESP can come together and show their team spirit!


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Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-2928