Faculty enhance research efforts and explore ways to engage more students
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 23, 2019) — For Ebony Glover, assistant professor of neuroscience, finding ways to involve and encourage undergraduates while pursuing research activities has been a fundamental part of her career.
Over the summer, through Kennesaw State’s Summer Research Fellows program, Glover worked on a grant proposal focused on examining the biological factors of men and women that contribute to anxiety risk, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder and vulnerability in women.
“The success of my proposed project is critically dependent on the engagement of undergraduate student researchers in all aspects of the study, from data collection to the dissemination of results via conference presentations and manuscript publications,” she said. “Accordingly, undergraduate students will be exposed to the high impact practice of scientific investigation and contribute to our understanding of biological factors that influence women’s mental health.”
Research-based experience for students is one of the aims of a grant proposal Yenupini Joyce Adams, assistant professor of nursing, worked on over the summer.
Pictured: Seated – left to right – Selena He, Ayse Tekes, Evelina Sterling, Joyce Adams, Allison Garefino, Ebony Glover. Standing – left to right – Brendan Callahan, Christopher Allen, Brian Kliszczewicz, Bob Buresh, Mari-Amanda (Aimee) Dyal, Hoseon Lee, Pegah Zamani, Katie Bennett
Both professors, along with 22 other Kennesaw State faculty, are learning best practices to prepare successful grant proposals as Summer Research Fellows. Adams credits the program’s supportive environment and the connections made in helping advance her efforts in studying maternal health and mortality issues immediately following childbirth.
The Fellows program is a new initiative developed by the University’s Office of Research as a way to support faculty in their pursuit of external research funding, especially the opportunities involving undergraduate researchers.
“Relevant research and effective teaching are strongly linked themes of a well-rounded undergraduate education,” said Evelina Sterling, director of research development and strategic initiatives in the Office of Research.
Pictured: Seated – left to right – Margot Hedenstrom, Katie Ingram, Evelina Sterling, Sweta Sneha. Standing – left to right – Dominic Thomas, Yuri Feito, Mohammed Aledhari, Saurabh Gupta, Justin Park, Altug Poyraz
Not pictured: Adriane Randolph, Alice Gooding, James Gambrell, Mike Franklin
Sterling, assistant professor of sociology, mentored the faculty through the process of writing federal grant proposals to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The two-month curriculum included guest speakers with experiences as grant reviewers and recipients, and a peer-review process during each stage of proposal development.
“The mentoring program provides faculty with the tools they need to take their research to the next level, which in turn benefits the students involved who not only see the real-life applications of the projects, but also develop marketable skills in problem-solving and critical thinking,” Sterling explained.
Jungkyu (Justin) Park, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, said that the Summer Research Fellows program gave him time to focus solely on grant writing and his assortment of projects, which serve as a natural fit for applied research opportunities for his students. He plans to submit a grant proposal centered on developing novel 3D carbon nanostructures using a 3D nanoscale printing process.
“In my lab, undergraduate students will utilize the results obtained in my current research studies to develop their own independent research proposals/projects,” he said. “I have consistently observed that students perform much better when they are excited about the research topic and when they take it on as their own projects by being involved in research idea development and project planning.”
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.