YSU senior presents research, earns top honors at national conference

Megan Evans of Boardman, Ohio, a senior Youngstown State University sociology, linguistics and English triple major, received top honors at a national sociology conference for her research presentation on home ownership and impoverished populations.

Her presentation, “An Assessment of the Effects of Home Ownership on the Lives of Low Income Individuals,” received the Best Undergraduate Research Award at the annual Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology Conference in Greenwood Village, Colo.

This is the second consecutive year that Evans has won the award at the national conference.

Evans conducted her research over the summer with YSU alumna Ashley Orr, who is now pursuing graduate study at the University of Oxford, by evaluating a Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation program that aims to restore foreclosed or vacant properties for low-income families to purchase at affordable prices.

“We wanted to see how owning a home affects the aspirations and expectations of these individuals,” Evans said. “The literature we looked at shows that home ownership is transformative—it can influence a person’s self-esteem, motivation and sense of control. So we wanted to see how this played out with the YNDC program.”

While the study did not yield significant data due to the infancy of the program, it did help YNDC secure additional funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and presents solid implications for future research.

“This study really aligns with my future goals of conducting more research on urban poverty and inequality,” said Evans, who plans to pursue a PhD in sociology to eventually teach at the collegiate level.

Evans is a member of the Honors College, president of the Honors Trustees and co-founder of the Poverty Awareness in Youngstown Initiative at YSU.