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Students Attend National Undergraduate Conference

Five William & Mary undergraduates recently presented their health policy research at the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which is “the largest symposium of its kind in the world, bringing together nearly 4,000 undergraduate students each year from all fields and disciplines.” The Schroeder Center regularly supports undergraduate students who want to enrich their academic experience at William & Mary by showcasing their health policy work to policymakers and other students and faculty from around the country. William & Mary’s Sarah Farney (’21, Economics/Government), Emily Finto (’21, Economics/Government), Emma Purdue (’22, Business/Economics), Cody Taylor (’22, Economics/Public Policy), and Chloe Walker (’21, Public Policy/Sociology) prepared a poster presentation on “The Association Between Nursing Facility Quality and County Racial and Ethnic Composition: A Study of Virginia Facilities.”

The W&M students, who were competitively selected, focused on identifying variation in the quality of Virginia’s nursing facilities and examining the extent to which any variation is associated with differences in local and county-level racial and ethnic composition. Insufficient staffing, poor health outcomes among residents, and safety violations affect nursing home quality. In conducting their multivariate regression and GIS analyses, the students used data from Nursing Home Compare, the U.S. Census Bureau, and LTCFocus. They found disparities in nursing facility quality between neighborhoods that have higher Black and Hispanic populations and those with non-minority populations, with lower quality nursing facilities more likely to be found in counties with higher percentages of Black and Hispanic individuals. The students concluded that both state and local solutions be developed to provide “all Virginia residents with equitable access to care.”

Sarah Farney (’21, Economics/Government) noted that preparing for NCUR “was a great experience” and that participating in the conference encouraged her to think about how to connect the group’s study “results to actual policy” so that they “were suggesting solutions instead of just presenting a problem.” She also thought the experience helped her learn how to communicate “technical information in a way that is accessible to people without an Economics or Statistics background.” And she enjoyed learning about the research conducted by other students around the country, including a study from students at the University of Kentucky related to the Louisville Metro Police Department and another study from a student at Siena College on young adults’ financial literacy.

The Schroeder Center will continue to help students seeking experiences beyond the classroom and provide them with opportunities similar to what they might see in graduate school or in a professional career setting. To learn more about the Schroeder Center’s support of undergraduate students, please read about students presenting at the annual Posters on the Hill conference in Washington, DC and the Women in Economic Research Conference in Williamstown, Massachusetts