Taste of Research Puts Spotlight on Summer Projects

Meredith’s annual “A Taste of Research,” held September 18, 2013, allowed the campus community a chance to learn how recipients of research stipends spent the summer.

A Taste of Research features poster presentations of in-progress research by summer research grant recipients. The event highlights students' work in summer research partnerships, and features posters showing progress results from these projects.

Fourteen students were funded to work with nine faculty members on in-depth research this summer.  Their projects ranged across disciplines, including natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities.

Undergraduate Research Program Director Paul Winterhoff said the summer stipend project has several goals.

“First and foremost, the program provides opportunities for student learning about how to do research in their prospective or chosen field,” Winterhoff said. “This learning is keyed by relationships with professor/mentors and with peers.”

Rachel Powell, whose project explored the shelf life of organic and conventional produce, appreciated the opportunity to explore a topic related to her career plans.

“Many of my friends who attend larger universities won't have this chance until junior or senior year,” Powell said. “My faculty advisor knew I was interested in food science as a potential career and we collaborated together to create this project.

Another unique opportunity at Meredith was the chance to combine research and study abroad, as  Libby O’Daniel did while participating in the Meredith in Italy program. Her project, “Women Doing Gender:  A Gender Role Comparison of Past and Present Italy and the United States,” was a creative project showing “people doing their gender, or how women perform their gender in Italy and the U.S.,” O’Daniel said. Meredith’s palazzo in Sansepolcro provided “a unique opportunity to observe how women interact with women and men in the piazza.”

New this year was a partnership between Meredith College and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM). NCSSM students worked with some of the Meredith research teams on their projects.

Calais Johnson and two NCSSM students worked with Assistant Professor of Geoscience Matt Stutz on “The Influences on Stream Erosion at the Prairie Ridge Ecostation.” The project allowed Johnson to gain experience working on a research team, which helped clarify her career goals.

“I was able to find what I want to do as a career,” Johnson said. “I found a passion for research and investigating.”

Melyssa Allen

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