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ARC Fellows


student in front of UH signage


Nabeela Siddeeque

Biochemistry Major

ARC Project: Women who exit the incarceration system are at high risk of being forced into homelessness due to societal barriers that fail to address their unique mental health needs. If appropriate steps are not taken to address the needs of these women, they could be pushed further into substance abuse and prostitution with no other way to exit this cycle. I am interested in learning about experiences of those women who have had hardships with the criminal justice system and incarceration, as well as their barriers in returning to life outside of the system. My current goal is to collect plausible stories and second-hand oral histories without any personal identifiers that capture shared experiences and use those stories to identify points where intervention could influence a positive impact in the community. I would like to identify things in peoples’ lives that impact their trajectories and outcomes regarding things such as housing, employment or health. By doing this, I can advocate for appropriate interventions that may ameliorate some of these shared troubles.

Impact on Houston: My hope is that through making the CHW certification program accessible to these women, we can decrease the percentage of women that are without jobs due to their criminal history. 

student smiling


Sara-Grace Chan

Biology Major

ARC Project: This project investigates the link between food insecurity and health disparities (such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cancer) in Houston’s Fifth Ward. Data will be collected by performing anonymous surveys at food pantries that cater to the Greater Fifth Ward that asks questions relating to food insecurity, costs, lifestyle choices, and health conditions. After the data is collected, the second stage will consist of tabulating and analyzing the data to identify the relationship between food insecurity and health disparities within the surveyed population. During both stages, educational materials will be created on topics such as what is healthy, how to eat nutritionally on a budget, managing health disparities and how to apply to SNAP.

Impact on Houston: The data analyses and findings will be compiled into a report to help develop proposals to organizations such as Harris Health, UTHealth and the Houston Food Bank suggesting how to help address food insecurity and health disparities for their clientele at a larger scale. The proposals and educational resources will be distributed at food pantries and at health clinics and hospitals who see food insecure individuals. The goal is to improve the services provided by public health institutions and non-profit food pantries. These services tend to be solely focused rather than considering how food insecurity may be contributing to underlying health conditions and how health disparities need to be considered when distributing food and making food choices at pantries. The goal of this research is to not only educate the food pantry recipients, but other organizations with the hopes to have them work together as solely providing food at a pantry is a stop gap measure.

student smiling 


Sharon Siby

Biology Major

ARC Project: Through this ARC project, I hope to improve the service conducted by WISE (Writing to Inspire Successful Education) mentors to better help the mentees we serve. The project drives to eliminate any negative side effects that our mentorship can have on the mentees due to the lack of understanding of education theory.

Impact on Houston: WISE is a program that is defined by the service learning that they conduct through writing mentorship for socioeconomically challenged students in the Third Ward. Through this project, we hope to develop the students' sense of self-efficacy in writing and their ability to develop ideas and support it with sufficient and relevant evidence. Through this, we hope that the mentees will learn the skills of critical thinking and creativity which they can continue to use in their lives.

student in front of flowers


Sondos Moursy

Psychology Major

ARC Project: My research objective is to pinpoint the needs of incarcerated women, factors that lead them to be incarcerated and the possible points of intervention to avoid them following unfavorable trajectories. This research effort will use data analysis of the demographics of incarcerated women supplemented by their stories to reveal their challenges and provide them with educational and career services.

Impact on Houston: The long-term impact of these programs could potentially be reduced female reincarceration rates, decrease in generational poverty, and restored community and families. This research effort will provide an authentic understanding of how the current systems in place result in incarceration for certain groups and reveal the deep-rooted, generational damage mass incarceration has on our community. 

student in front of UH signage


Zain Akbar

Biology Major

ARC Project: My project works with a group of Syrian Refugee children from a local Houston Program known as IMPACT. We hope to study the effects of these children's upbringing on their educational and social standing. Through my project I also hope to be able to implement an after school tutoring program through which I can provide these children with extra help in subjects they may be struggling with. Additionally, during this program, we hope to present an opportunity for children to build relationships with one another through fun activities such as movie nights and game nights.

Impact on Houston: This project can potentially have profound impacts on communities in and around Houston. Through our pilot program, we can observe whether after school programs can potentially help to normalize the lives of these youth and allow them to succeed in both academic and social spheres of their life. Based on the results of this program, we can then use our findings to help bridge this gap for other marginalized communities within Houston who also face a similar disconnect.