CAS_newsletter_04_18

Whether in the form of term papers, senior theses, independent studies or internships, research experiences challenge students to conceive, implement and report on topics that matter to them and their communities. These experiences are also invaluable in preparing students for the demands of the workforce or graduate school. As a result, Northern has made student research a top priority and continually seeks to expand the scope and scale of opportunities both on campus and in the field, often in collaboration with community organizations and businesses. Faculty members continually promote student research and mentor students across professional and liberal arts programs, which gives Northern a distinctive model of undergraduate education that distinguishes it from other institutions. Northern supports these faculty endeavors in a variety of ways, including the biannual Undergraduate Competitive Research Grant and annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creativity Forum. The College of Arts and Sciences, in particular, has faculty members actively involved in research and internships with undergraduate students in areas such as biology, chemistry, history, education, geography, sociology and mathematics. Students routinely work closely with faculty on projects that merit recognition at the regional and national levels, including presenting student and student-faculty research to academic colleagues attending scholarly conferences in those fields. A few examples demonstrate the caliber of research conducted by our undergraduate students via faculty mentorship: Whitney Berner, a mathematics education major, won the Education and Pedagogy Division poster competition at the 2017 National Collegiate Honors Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Berner’s project, “Effects of Classroom Environment on Math Anxiety among Elementary Education Majors,” studied the correlation between math anxiety and classroom environments, focusing on math concepts and math methods classes for elementary education majors. The project was mentored by Dr. Erin Brownlee, instructor of mathematics. Zack North, majoring in political science with a public history minor, was Northern’s selection to represent the university at the state legislative poster session in Pierre in February 2018. North presented a poster titled “Public History in Action: Preserving the Story of NSU Fine Arts,” working under the guidance and mentorship of Ms. Sarah Jones, NSU librarian and archivist, and Dr. Dave Grettler, professor of history. Several history students were recognized for their research under the guidance of Dr. Ric Dias, professor of history. David Hales delivered “Cold War as Imperial Inheritance: The U.S., Britain, and the 1953 Iranian Coup” at the USD Student History Conference, winning the award for Best Cold War Era Paper. Cindy Schnabel presented her research project, “Arsenic, Grasshoppers, and Water in Oakes, ND, 1930-2006,” at the USD Student History Conference, winning the award for Best Environmental History Paper. Nicole S. Christiansen published “‘Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty’: The Grand Army of the Republic and the Dakota Soldier’s Home” in volume 46 of South Dakota History in 2016. Tessa Durnin, a double major in biology and environmental science, presented two papers in two different years at the annual conference of the Society for Freshwater Science, receiving a student travel grant both times. Her research focused on aquatic invertebrates. Durnin was mentored by Dr. Alyssa Anderson, assistant professor of biology. Annika van Oosbree presented her research project “Effects of Probiotics on Xenopus and Embryonic Development” at multiple conferences, winning the poster session for the South Dakota Academy of Science Conference in 2016. She later published her works in the Journal of Student Research in 2017. Dr. Alyssa Kiesow, associate professor of biology, mentored van Oosbree’s research. Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences mentor student research projects that are far too numerous to list here. Their dedication to supporting student research is especially noteworthy, because it requires balancing the emphasis Northern places on classroom instruction with a passion to ensure that students gain the tools and financial support necessary to conduct research and present the results to the scholarly community. Over the last two years, Northern students have presented their research at countless professional conferences, including those of the Central States Communication Association, Entomological Society of America and the Society for Psychological Study for Social Issues, in addition to the conferences noted previously. The College of Arts and Sciences looks forward to partnering with the community to ensure that even more of our students can benefit from these life-changing experiences as we advance the mission of Northern State University. NORTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY | SPRING 2018 Undergraduate Research at NSU Surveys of students and alumni, as well as academic research, clearly demonstrate that opportunities to engage in research, often in collaboration with faculty, are among the most impactful and meaningful parts of the college experience.

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