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Beth Davies and Aaron Hudson ‘18

"Assessing and intervening in health harming legal needs in the Lehigh Valley"

Major & Minor: Health Science on the OT track/ Public Health
Hometown: Zionsville, PA/ Bear, Delaware 
Project Advisor(s) Dr. Teufel 

Tell us about your research. 

Civil legal aid in the United States is provided by a large number of separate service providers that are funded by many different ways. This legal aid helps eliminate poverty. Therefore the aid helps increase income and financial security through wages, benefits, tax credits, etc., help obtain safe housing and prevent homelessness, improve physical and mental care, prevent/help individuals escape domestic violence, obtain services that help stabilizes families, assist in education opportunities, as well as improving the communities that they live in. Aaron and I went to clinics in Easton, Allentown and Bethlehem. We conducted surveys that focused on Civil Injustices that the patrons were experiencing. Once we collected all of the data we sorted and analyzed the data through the SPSS software.

How did it materialize? (E.g., did you pitch the idea and choose a
faculty member, or did they come to you with an idea?)

Aaron and I had Dr. Teufel as a professor in class last year. We knew that this was an high area of interest for him and we incredibly educated on this topic. 

What was the best part about working with your faculty advisor? What valuable insights did they bring to the research process?

Dr. Teufel taught us material that we would have never been able to learn in class. For example, how to sort and process the data that was collected in the clinics. Most importantly Dr. Teufel made us more aware of larger issues that are within our community.

What was your biggest obstacle?

The biggest obstacle involved being able to gain the trust of the patrons in a short period of time and to get them to fill out the surveys for our research. A large number of individuals that come into these clinics are illegal. Therefore, they feared that if they helped us out with our research they would risk getting deported. 

What was your biggest takeaway from this experience?

The biggest take away was putting the whole project together to see how many people within our community are struggling to access basic needs that a majority of us take for granted. 

Now that SOAR is over, do you plan to expand upon your research? If so, where would you like to see it go? 

We would like to get the project published and potentially conduct a similar project like this in Graduate School.

In your own words, how do you feel about being rewarded this opportunity? Why should other students take advantage of the SOAR program?

We are very grateful for the opportunities that SOAR has given us. It was an absolute privilege to work with amazing faculty as well as other students from the college. Other students should take advantage of the SOAR program because not many schools offer an undergraduate program and the experiences that one will gain during the summer are unbelievable.