She said that a longer-term study would be needed to determine whether the girls would continue to eat healthy when playing with Barbie, or unhealthy in the case of Tracy Turnblad, and whether exposure to one doll or the other would lead to eating disorders or food addictions in their teenage years.
Jellinek conducted the study largely on her own, corresponding with her mentor at Virginia Wesleyan College by email. She met with study participants at Brownie meetings, at the Pediatric Health Care of Long Island office in Bellmore and at the Bellmore Library. She conducted the interviews, she said, “anytime I had free time, whenever I could.”
“She really was a busy young lady,” said Kennedy research adviser Barbi Frank.
In addition to science research, Jellinek sings in four choirs at Kennedy, including the student-run women’s choir, of which she is co-president, and she competes annually in the New York State School Music Association’s vocal solo competition, scoring a 96 out of 100 this year. She is also a member of the student government’s executive board, and was membership coordinator this year. She will be the election commissioner next year.
This year, Jellinek also volunteered at New York University’s Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center, which inspired her to organize an iPod collection for the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale. She collected 15 used iPods and volunteered to help patients create their own playlists.
Of her research project, Jellinek said she concluded that too many children “really don’t know what a healthy figure is.”