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Summer celebration showcases MTSU student research [+VIDEO]

Ashley Corson’s research will take her to the American Chemical Society’s national conference later this month. It also is the subject of her MTSU Honors College thesis.

Performing a chemistry research project — synthesizing or making rapid compounds in order to kill the organism, comprising three different varieties of fungi — with mentor and assistant professor Kevin Bicker for the past 18 months led her to this point.

Corson’s highly scientific project was among nearly 50 showcased during the annual MTSU Summer Research Celebration July 31 in the Student Union Ballroom.

“This definitely pushed me to do my best work, be independent and think on my feet when the professor’s not here,” said Corson, 21, a senior biochemistry major from Greenbrier, Tennessee.

MTSU student Caleb Hough, left, explains his summer research project to Dr. Jackie Eller, interim vice provost for research dean of the College of Graduate Studies, July 31 in the Student Union Ballroom. Hough, a senior, chose "Green Girls: Renewable Energy Activities for Science and Civic Engagement" as his research topic. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

MTSU student Caleb Hough, left, explains his summer research project to Dr. Jackie Eller, interim vice provost for research dean of the College of Graduate Studies, July 31 in the Student Union Ballroom. Hough, a senior, chose “Green Girls: Renewable Energy Activities for Science and Civic Engagement” as his research topic. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Nearly 90 students and 40 faculty participated in the summer research through various means, including:

  • URECA, or Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activity.
  • National Science Foundation-sponsored REU, or Research Experiences for Undergraduates.
  • MSPS or Master of Science in Professional Science, a groundbreaking two-year master’s degree in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines, that equips students to work in public and private business enterprises and in the academic world.
  • Two sections of professor Laura Dubek’s freshman English class, “Research and Argumentative Writing,” that featured 30 students.
  • The MTSU Honors College and College of Basic and Applied Sciences and departments of recording industry, physics and astronomy, engineering technology/mechatronics engineering, biology, psychology, chemistry and the Women in STEM (WISTEM) Center.

Nontraditional student Charlotte “Cat” Archer, 54, of Murfreesboro, traced four distinct movements — free speech and student rights, civil rights for blacks, women’s rights and gay rights — in her research.

Dr. Bud Fischer, left, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, listens as Daniel Deal discusses his project, "Precipitation Effects on Community Composition and Structure of Cedar Glades," during the July 31 Summer Research Celebration in the Student Union Ballroom.

Dr. Bud Fischer, left, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, listens as Daniel Deal discusses his project, “Precipitation Effects on Community Composition and Structure of Cedar Glades,” during the July 31 Summer Research Celebration in the Student Union Ballroom.

Archer, a senior majoring in the sexuality track of women’s and gender studies and minoring in psychology, anticipates graduating in May 2016.

Her report, which also will be used as part of her honors thesis, raises many questions.

“It is my hope we will answer some of these questions by examining a current social movement,” she said, referring to gay rights efforts, “which has recently been very successful in achieving some of the strategic goals for which they’ve been working over the last few decades.” She also plans an expanded survey.

Dr. Jackie Eller, interim vice provost for research and dean for the College of Graduate Studies, said she was “really impressed with the diversity and quality of the presentations the students are doing” this summer.

For more information about MTSU’s research, call the Office of Research at 615-898-5005 or visit www.mtsu.edu/research.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

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