SXU professor receives $10,000 Illinois Board of Higher Education Fellowship

Saint Xavier University nursing professor Mary Ann Freitag, DrNP, RN, recently received a $10,000 Illinois Board of Higher Education Fellowship for discovering a possible link between health problems and academic performance among students in high financial need in SXU’s undergraduate population.

Freitag administered the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment to all of SXU’s returning undergraduates at the beginning of the 2007 academic year.

After analyzing the results in summer of 2008, Freitag found students receiving Pell Grants were more likely to rate conditions such as stress, sleep problems and minor illnesses as having a negative impact on their academic performance. Pell recipient students also had higher than average body mass index ratings.

“The fellowship Professor Freitag received is yet another testament to the excellence of Saint Xavier’s nursing faculty,” said SXU Interim Nursing Dean Kay Thurn, Psy.D. “We congratulate Mary Ann for these initiatives that will improve student health at the University. Her research is a contribution to the health care profession.”

Freitag said she plans to put part of the fellowship toward continuing education on health promotion-related opportunities and collaborating with SXU Student Services to design and implement of future programs.

“My goal is to learn more about creating a healthy environment on our campus, thereby improving the health and health behaviors of our students,” Freitag said. “Healthy students are successful, and successful students graduate.”