Mini Grants Open Doors for Student Research
A joint initiative by the Division of Research & Economic Development and the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs was created last semester to award grants supporting research, creative, artistic and scholarly work of undergraduate and graduate students. Forty-one students exhibiting quality projects representing a wide variety of disciplines within the University were awarded Enhancement of Graduate Research and Scholarship (EGRS) grants of $1,000. EGRS money funds elements of student's research projects.
"Thanks to the grant funding, I'll now be able to travel to Stirling, Scotland to the 6th Biennial Stevenson Association conference, where I'll be presenting my work in July," said Rebekah Greene, a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of English, focusing on British Victorianism and Postcolonial Studies. The theme of this year's conference is "Locating Stevenson", which ties in to Greene's dissertation focusing on late Victorian ideals of travel, adventure, and literature as ways of learning more about the world while simultaneously enhancing and expanding the British Empire.
Aside from traveling to present their work, students are using the grant money to fund data analysis, equipment purchases, collection of research materials, and subject reimbursement.
"I am now in India doing field research," said Mandi Caudill, a Ph.D. candidate in the Natural Resources Science department. Her project assesses biodiversity of mammals in the coffee-dominated landscapes of India. Caudill was able to use the EGRS money to purchase digital cameras with motion sensors that she will use as part of her mammal assessment.
Shira Hirshberg, a Master's degree student in the Nutrition and Food Sciences department, is able to put food samples in the hands of her subjects rather than simply talking about the benefits of eating whole foods. EGRS has enabled her to purchase educational materials and the samples she will use during her nutrition and physical activity intervention "The Health It Up Study". Hirshberg's purpose is to promote whole foods that are said to decrease triglycerides and increase HDL-C, both factors in determining risk for heart disease. At this point in time, she has already handed out Chobani and Smithfield Farms yogurt, and Kashi whole grain cereal samples. Items next on Hirshberg's list of sample are nuts that are reported to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, hummus with whole wheat crackers, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The EGRS grants are an effort to show the value the University places on the development of research by students, and the importance of this research in a quality education.
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