Professor of Hospitality Finance
Student success hinges on a number of factors, many of which seem obvious — desire to learn, sound study practices, ability to apply abstract concepts. But could there be more to it than that? Amit Sharma thinks so, and as a 2017-18 TLT Faculty Fellow, he aims to find out.
Sharma wants to examine how students’ food choices impact their academic performance. Every dining hall card swipe and food purchase via Lion Cash, coupled with self-reported food purchases and intake, holds potential data to help in Sharma’s quest. The key is determining who owns that data and how to tap into it to use it in his research.
The overall purpose of my TLT fellowship would be establish a connection between these varied data sources to enhance our understanding of linking students’ academic performance to their food choices, and financial well being. I also propose to use this fellowship time to develop a collaborative strategy among stakeholders to establish Penn State University as a global leader in linking food choice behavior with individual level academic performance and learning metrics.
Sharma ultimately want to do research to understand what good eating habits look like across campus and how students can be smarter in their choices. His current research has examined food choices from the perspective of young families and K-12 students, and his fellowship will help him to expand that and apply it to a university setting.
TLT will be determining how to streamline the process to access various databases, not only for Sharma’s study but also for future work by other researchers, so aggregated data can be explored in new and interesting ways.