Dr. Zi Yan
International Students’ Experiences
An Assistant Professor of Health Sciences in Merrimack’s School of Science and Engineering, Professor Zi Yan teaches a number of courses including Introduction to Public Health, Introduction to Epidemiology, Health Behavior and Promotion, and Global Public Health.
Having studied in the U.S. as an international student, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Dr. Zi Yan has experienced the various challenges and opportunities that international students face while studying outside of their native countries. In an effort to help both international and domestic students understand themselves and one another better, Dr. Yan has undertaken a six-week, theory-based, peer education program to promote cultural competences and health behavior practices, including physical activity, nutrition, smoking cessation, and stress management, among international and domestic students at Merrimack College. This initiative aligns with the goals highlighted in the Agenda for Distinction by fostering cultural competency attainment among domestic and international students, which will benefit both groups academically, professionally, personally, and socially. This project was funded by Merrimack College Provost Faculty Initiative Fund.
In the other project that was also funded by Provost Faculty Initiative Fund, Dr. Zi Yan looked at the first year experiences of international students at Merrimack College. In this project she surveyed and interviewed international students who took the First Year Experience class that was offered first time for the international students at Merrimack College. Upon finishing this project, she hopes to identify the best strategies for college to help international students have successful academic, social, and cultural transition.
In Spring 2014, Dr. Zi Yan is leading another research project focusing on promoting physical activity and fitness among individuals with intellectual disabilities. It is a project collaborated between Merrimack College and CLASS Inc, a non-profit organization proving services to individuals with disabilities in Merrimack Valley. During the 6-week project, Merrimack Health Sciences students will provide one-on-one education and physical activity sessions to the CLASS participants. This project not only provides opportunities for Merrimack students to apply their knowledge and skills to the real world, but also serves the service-learning mission of Merrimack College.
Dr. Zi Yan’s research has been published in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, Journal of Sport and Health Science, Health Educator, Health Sciences Journal, and The Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science. She also has presented her work many times in the annual conferences of American College Medicine Association (ACSM), Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD), and American Association of Public Health (APHA). Currently, she is also co-editing the book “Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Recreation (In Chinese).”