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From the Stillwater News Press:

Stillwater High juniors and seniors wanting to earn college credits now don’t have to travel any further than down the hall.

Oklahoma State University has partnered with the high school and currently offers a college-level U.S. history and psychology class at a discounted rate.

For many years, Stillwater High School students have traveled to OSU to take college courses and get a head start on college, but this is the first time OSU has provided teachers in the high school.

Both teachers are PhD students who have experience teaching at high schools.

“This is the starting line,” said Brett Rowh, coordinator of concurrent programs at OSU. “This program is about extending as many opportunities to students as we can.”

Concurrent enrollment is open to all juniors and seniors enrolled in an accredited Oklahoma high school that are interested in earning college credit.

Rowh said that anyone interested in bringing concurrent learning to their school should reach out to him at 405-744-1393 or . A minimum of 15 students in required before an OSU instructor would teach at a school site.

Rowh credits his boss, Pamela Fry, associate provost at OSU, for supporting concurrent education and bringing him on two years ago to lead the program.

“She was the driving force behind creating a position here that is solely dedicated to the needs of concurrent students and in supporting all the new avenues for course delivery,” Rowh said.

Principal Uwe Gordon said the partnership with OSU has been great.

“I haven’t had a psychology teacher for seven or eight years due to budget cuts,” Gordon said. “Having a psychology class is a great benefit to students because we have had the demand for it.”

Gordon likes being able to offer his students college courses at the high school.

“The kids like this option because they can still participate in extracurricular activities,” he said.

Senior Annie Kate Wilson, 17, who is enrolled in both college courses at the high school, said she loves how the classes fit right into her schedule.

“I don’t have to drive to OSU, worry about parking and finding the building,” Wilson said. “I signed up for the classes because I wanted to get ahead and I hope that it will help me get into OSU.”

Fellow senior Andrew Hall, 17, who is enrolled in the U.S. History course, said he was enjoying learning about how the 13 colonies were formed.

Hall said he finds the content interesting but is also taking the course because it is cheaper now than taking it as a college student.

Seniors get tuition waved and about half the fees eliminated, according to Rowh. They end up paying about $240 per class.

Juniors have the same reduction of fees but aren’t eligible for a tuition waver, Rowh said.

Rowh wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to convince department heads to support concurrent education and said he was pleasantly surprised when leaders including Thad Leffingwell, professor and head of the psychology department, and Laura Belmonte, professor and head of the history department, showed support.

Leffingwell who has had multiple children take college course at OSU while attending Stillwater High, said it made perfect since to offer courses at the high school as well as continued courses at the university.

Belmonte agreed and said the more students can take advantage of college course while in high school, the cheaper their education will be.

Belmonte said that a growing number of incoming OSU students arrive with up to a year of college education already under their belts and that she’d like to see OSU make sure they are prepared.

“We want to have some control of the level of rigor of the courses,” Leffingwell said.

Stillwater High School plans to offer American history and creative writing to students after the winter break.

OSU research offers insights on women and breastfeeding

Women with a history of chronic extra weight are more likely to stop breastfeeding their babies earlier than other mothers, according to a new study from Oklahoma State University.

Researchers surveyed 1,901 mothers about breastfeeding their first biological child and found that those who reported a longer history of being overweight or obese, breastfed their children about four months, compared to an average of six months of breastfeeding from mothers who had never been overweight. 

Pediatricians recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed their infant for the first six months of life with continued breastfeeding for 12 months. The recommendations are based on benefits for both mothers and infants. Breastfeeding mothers experience reduced risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes, while breastfed infants have lower risk of infections, diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome.

“Breastfeeding can be stressful enough on new mothers,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Misty Hawkins, assistant professor of clinical psychology at OSU. “If we know that women who want to breastfeed but have a history of extra weight are at higher risk for breastfeeding difficulties, then we can develop tailored interventions to help these moms succeed.”

Nearly 60 percent of women, those who had no history of extra weight or whose weight cycled up and down, met the minimum requirement of 12 months total breastfeeding. However, less than half of the mothers who reported chronic overweight met the minimum. The survey also found that – regardless of weight – 48 percent of mothers in the survey did not meet the exclusive breastfeeding recommendation of six months.

Previous research has linked obesity to shorter breastfeeding duration. This study is the first to suggest that the length of time a mother has been in an obese or overweight condition may be an important consideration. However, it does not suggest that becoming overweight or obese before or after puberty makes a difference, though the self-report nature of the study limits firm conclusions.

Hawkins heads the Research on Emotions and Cognition in Health (REACH) Lab at OSU. The lab studies how emotions and cognitive function contribute to the development of poor health and chronic diseases as well as how these diseases and poor health impact people’s emotions, cognition, and behaviors. Hawkins is currently the principal investigator for two federally-funded research awards examining weight loss treatments.

Source: http://cas.okstate.edu/news/latest-news/330-osu-research-offers-insights-on-women-and-breastfeeding

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