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Positive body image study, art technology, among grant recipients

July 11, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. — New technology for art students, and a research project studying self-compassion and body pride share in more than $130,000 in grants from the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC), the Well House Society and the IU Foundation.

IU Kokomo’s Division of Allied Health Sciences and New Media, Art and Technology (NMAT) program were among 16 programs, representing seven IU campus, receiving funding.

The WPLC funded a research program in the Division of Allied Health Sciences, led by Angela Coppola, assistant professor of health sciences, and co-director of the Applied and Community Research Center. Together with a student research assistant, Coppola will study promoting self-compassion and body pride to enhance health behaviors in women.

Students in the New Media Art Technology program will be able to create work using two 3D printers and a computerized CNC router, which can be programmed to cut wood and other materials, with funding from the IU Foundation. This was the first year the IU Foundation Board of Directors partnered with the WPLC to provide supplemental funding for five select projects.

Minda Douglas, associate professor of fine arts, and chair of the NMAT program, said the equipment funded will allow students in all areas of art and design to use technology as part of their creative process. It can be used in classes including graphic design, metalsmithing, printmaking, physical computing, sculpture, installation art, animation, and many more.

“By incorporating the technology into the program, the students will truly experience a 21st century art and design program that prepares them for the high-tech design world,” she said. “The high tech program will serve the students in our region well, and will help make our program a first-choice in recruitment efforts.”

She anticipates having the new equipment ready for use during the fall semester.

Coppola plans a year-long study of how women in Indiana foster self-compassion and body pride, and link them to health behaviors, with a goal of generating ideas for programs or initiatives to improve women’s health. She and a student research assistant will recruit and interview about 25 women.

She said self-compassion is like compassion for others, but extends the kindness to one’s self. That emotion has been linked to healthy behaviors because it improves self-confidence.  Body pride is a positive emotion of what the body can do, such as walking a 5K.

“Figuring out how to link health behaviors and self-compassion is a new area in the health research field,” she said. “Self-compassion and body pride play a role in promoting health, but it is unclear how to promote the emotions in women to enhance their health behaviors.”

She wants to see how to foster positive emotions and linking them to positive health behaviors, such as engaging in physical activity or stopping smoking.

The funding will be used for incentives for participants and for community partners assisting, including the Indiana Department of Health. Coppola also plans an event in mid-2018, to translate what she learns from the data into action.

It also will pay a stipend for a student research assistant, who will gain hands-on experience in data gathering and analysis, writing for scholarly publication, and sharing results through conference presentations.

The WPLC considered a record 80 applications for funding, more than double what it typically receives. Grants ranged from $3,200 to $15,000, and support projects that aim to improve public health, support women’s leadership, promote STEM disciplines, increase opportunities for diverse and underserved populations, and promote global experiences for students.

"We were impressed by the applications we received, which reflect the creativity and commitment of the applicants to IU students, the IU community, our state and beyond," said Janet Smith, a WPLC member who led the grant-making process. "It is a challenging process to select awardees, as we receive more worthy applications than we can currently fund."

This year marks the council sixth grant cycle, with cumulative awards totaling more than $670,000 since 2012.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.
Last updated: 07/11/2017