Grad student's research on addressing teen risk behaviors takes top honors at thesis competition

Darby Disselkoen, a graduate student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, won first place.
Darby Disselkoen, a graduate student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, won first place at the 3-Minute Thesis Competition, sponsored by The Graduate School.
Image Credit: Courtesy photo

Talking with teenagers about risky behaviors can be difficult and uncomfortable, that’s why Darby Disselkoen is advocating for primary care providers to tackle these tough conversations.

Disselkoen, a graduate student pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, won first place at the sixth annual 3-Minute Thesis Competition with her presentation, “Teen Risk: The Provider’s Responsibility?” 

The virtual event, sponsored by The Graduate School, was held February 10 with 10 graduate students competing from biology, nursing and public health. Students had just three minutes to present their research to a panel of faculty judges and could only use one slide as a visual aid.

Disselkoen said her project sought to improve preventive health care for teens by implementing screening for risk behaviors during annual wellness visits using the Rapid Assessment for Adolescent Preventive Services (RAAPS) tool. She said major causes of injury, illness and death in teenagers are linked to engagement in a variety of risk-taking behaviors such as motor vehicle accidents, suicide and substance use.

“As the health care provider, our role is to advocate for our patients and their well-being,” she said. “It is entirely possible that the primary care provider becomes the only person in a teen’s life to ask about the difficult situations they might be struggling with every day.” 

Disselkoen will be representing Grand Valley at the regional 3MT Competition hosted virtually by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools in March.

Mary Chenge, a graduate student pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, took second place for her thesis presentation, “Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Home-Palliative Care.”
Mary Chenge, a graduate student pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
Image Credit: Courtesy photo

Mary Chenge, a graduate student pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, took second place for her thesis presentation, “Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Home-Palliative Care.”

Megan Sanders, left, a biology graduate student, and Hana Christoffersen, a biology graduate student, tied for third place.
Megan Sanders, left, a biology graduate student, and Hana Christoffersen, a biology graduate student, tied for third place.
Image Credit: Courtesy photo

There was a tie for third place. Megan Sanders, a biology graduate student, won for her thesis, “Saving Hemlocks: Innovative Detection Techniques for an Invasive Insect (Adelges Tsugae).” Hana Christoffersen, a biology graduate student, won for her thesis, “Old Photos, New Tricks: Using Repeat Photography to Measure Tundra Vegetation Change.”

More information can be found at www.gvsu.edu/gs/3-minute-thesis-competition-82.htm