Saharra Dixon, a 2018 graduate of the University of Delaware, calls herself the “dramatic health educator.” By using theatre techniques in providing health and wellbeing support to communities during the pandemic, Dixon facilitates behavioral and social change in a time when it’s so vital.
Dixon, a health professional and health educator, earned a bachelor’s degree in health behavior science from UD’s College of Health Sciences, a master’s in educational theatre/applied theatre from New York University and a health education specialist certification.
When coronavirus (COVID-19) exploded in the United States in the spring of 2020, Dixon used theatre to assess new needs bubbling up in communities.
“I felt like communities, especially Black and brown communities, were being forgotten and I wanted to ensure they had proper social support during this time,” she said. “I’ve learned that theatre posits itself as a great tool to center a community’s voice, their wants and their needs.”
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University of Delaware rising junior Sophia Angeletakis has won the 2020 George and Margaret Collins Seitz Award, the Office of the Dean of Students has announced. This annual award celebrates an outstanding first or second year student who exemplifies the Blue Hen student values of openness, mentorship, engagement, innovation and respect.
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When it came to selecting a program of study for health behavior science and promotion, the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition’s BS in Health Behavior Science, and MS in Health Promotion, were an easy choice for Mackenzie Perkett. “The opportunities to work with faculty on community health programs and engage directly with community members on how to best identify and solve their health concerns, was one of the best things about my time at UD.” Ms. Perkett graduated from BHAN in 2018 with her MS in Health Promotion and in 2016 with her BS in Health Behavior Science. While at UD, she conducted a needs assessment for the Food Bank of Delaware and then developed and evaluated a health promotion intervention for food pantry clients. She has three peer-reviewed publications, and a national award for outstanding graduate level research from the Society of Behavioral Medicine. All the while, Ms. Perkett was an avid Ultimate Frisbee player for the UD team, participating in several national tournaments. Ms. Perkett is now a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of Population Sciences at the Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
When I first began my journey to earn my master’s degree, I was anxious about how I would excel in my program, since I had no direct experience within the field of nutrition science. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Purdue University, where I learned about nutrition from a biomolecular perspective. Upon my arrival at the University of Delaware, my anxieties were eased. As soon as I expressed my concern, the professors in the nutrition department offered bountiful resources to help bolster my knowledge, which has molded me into a better researcher. My advisor, Dr. Chai, gave me the opportunity to develop my skills as both a bench scientist and a clinical researcher. Dr. Chai and the nutrition department’s unwavering support has helped me to receive multiple job offers prior to graduating. My graduate research experience has prepared me for my upcoming position as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Nemours Children’s Hospital. My roles at Nemours will entail coordinating, implementing and completing clinical research studies with the highest ethical standards and protecting research volunteers. Additionally, I have the opportunity to work closely with investigators to evaluate methodology and protocols and help with the world-changing research Nemours is doing for children with varying orthopedic conditions. I am confident that I will succeed in my new role as I have acquired many of the necessary skills during my time as a graduate researcher. I look forward to my new journey and will always be a Blue Hen.