Erin Oates wins prestigious Kappa Omicron Nu award

Erin Oates, left, at the Kappa Omicron Nu National Conclave.

September 14, 2012

By Steven Johnson ’13

Erin Oates, a junior dietetics major, recently won first place for undergraduate research at the national conclave for Kappa Omicron Nu, the leading honor society for students in human sciences.

Oates’ research helped the Tazewell County Health Department review the health of its residents, a survey the county undertakes every 5 years. In this year’s assessment, an innovative process developed by the National Association of City and County Health officials called MAPP, or Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships was utilized.

During the spring semester of her sophomore year, Oates collaborated on the public health research project with Dr. Molly Cluskey, associate nursing professor and assistant dean with the College of Education and Health Sciences. Oates also worked with Dr. G. Kevin Randall, associate professor of Family and Consumer Sciences and director of the C.C. Wheeler Institute, a graduate nursing student and Tazewell Public Health Department officials.

Throughout her research, Oates gathered information on public health at the county level and employed research methods and statistical procedures that brought to light different aspects of family and consumer sciences.

The Rockton, Ill., native was surprised to learn that she was to be rewarded for her research.

“I was honored when I received first place at KONu Conclave in Michigan,” Oates said. “I honestly didn't expect it. I think more undergraduate students should participate in research; the entire experience of giving multiple presentations, learning research methods, self-discipline, networking and recognition will last a lifetime and no doubt be useful in graduate school.”

Oates hopes her achievements encourage other students to get involved with research projects that interest them.

“It is not hard to become involved in an undergraduate research project,” she said. “I've found that professors get very excited and will help in any way possible when a student shows interest in research.”

Ryne Koeppel, a senior studying family and consumer sciences, attended the conclave as the local Kappa Alpha Tau chapter delegate. Koeppel was ecstatic to hear of the Erin’s achievement.

“I feel Erin has really shown that when you set your mind to something and you take the initiative, you can achieve so much in your first couple of years here at Bradley,” Koeppel said. “The opportunities that are presented here on our campus can be wonderful springboards to future research projects and journal publishing.”

Oates credited her Bradley professors with encouraging her to apply for the award while finishing up her busy semester.

“I learned a valuable lesson in all of this. I came very close to not even submitting a paper to the Kappa Omicron Nu,” she said. “After a few shoves from a certain professor, I agreed to write up the paper and submit it. Just last week, I was informed that the same paper I submitted and won first place with at Conclave was published in the 2012 issue of Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences.”