TAMARA LUQUE BLACK, Ph.D.

Student Success Video & Toolkit Project

A collaborative research study with Dyana Valentine

Created a video in which Santa Monica College students, staff, and faculty address the question "What is Success?" Developed a "Student Success Toolkit," a collection of worksheets and other materials intended to supplement the resources currently offered through SMC's Counseling 20 Course. Funded by a development grant awarded by SMC.

Exercise & Fitness in a US Commercial Gym

UCLA dissertation research

Given the importance of health, exercise, and fitness in contemporary America, and the increasing numbers of individuals using commercial gyms as means to address these needs, it is crucial to assess gym membersí experiences in these social spaces. This study utilizes participant observation, in-depth interviews, and qualitative content analyses of gym media to examine how exercise is experienced in a mainstream commercial gym. The study finds that exercise is experienced instrumentally: members cooperate to create and sustain an exercise definition of the situation; they conceptualize fitness in functional terms (as a means to enhance comfort in ordinary, everyday activities); and they experience exercise as a productive activity that contains elements of both obligation and recreation. Despite tending to favor functional understandings of fitness over representational, appearance-based ones, some members reveal discursive evidence of anti-fat prejudices. The study also finds greater gender similarities than predicted, with both male and female gym members reporting comfort and satisfaction in this gym environment.

To read a chapter about what "fitness" means to gym members, click here.

To read a chapter about fitness as obligation or recreation, click here.