Undergraduates and graduates attending Augusta State University have the opportunity to enhance learning through direct participation in research and scholarship. At ASU, these opportunities encompass all disciplines.
Research is a vital component of the learning experience as it enables students to apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities they have developed in their academic program to solving problems across the disciplines.
In recognition of Undergraduate Research week, an ASU student was highlighted each day during the week of April 11-15.
William (Billy) Crissman
William (Billy) Crissman is a senior pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in General Studies focusing on children. He is actively involved in three research projects in the Psychology department with three different faculty members. One study, supervised by Dr. Ric Topolski is an investigation into what drives people to make moral decisions. Working with Dr. Nicole Rossi, Billy is also involved in a correlative study between non-scholarly hassles such as registration, the financial aid process and students" negative attitudes towards universities. The third project is a cross-sectional investigation of conversational development in typically maturing children between 2 and 6 years old, supervised by Dr. Quentin Hartmann.
He will be travelling to present research this year at the Georgia Psychological Society Conference in April and the Association for Psychological Science conference in Washington D.C. in May. When asked about how undergraduate research has impacted his undergraduate career, Billy states "I am applying what I am learning through lectures and classes and working on research designs. I am able to ask new questions and have different perspectives on what I learn. I have learned to manage my time [and] being involved in research has made me become more organized. It has given me the opportunity to have one-on-one interactions with professors who are my mentors in research." Billy"s plans are to pursue a Master"s degree in Psychology at Augusta State University and eventually continue to complete his PhD in pursuit of a career in academia since he "enjoys the collaborative environment".
Alicia Mitchell is a Biology Major at Augusta State University and she is currently involved in research in the field of food microbiology. Her research has a real-life application in that she is surveying beverages from local area restaurants and quantifying the amount of coliform and fecal coliforms that are present in the beverages. Fecal coliforms would be a subset of coliforms found mainly in the intestinal tract of mammals with Escherichia coli being the model organism. Additionally, Alicia is asking whether beverages such as sweet tea can actually support the growth of E. coli as well. She has presented her data at the Phi Kappa Phi Student Research and Fine Arts Conference at Augusta State University, and will be presenting at the Association of Southeastern Biologists Annual meeting in April. Dr. Chris Bates, Assistant Professor of Biology, is her faculty advisor.
Tammy Dencker is a physics major who has been investigating the novel geophysical concept known as "three dimensional gradiometry". Her work is an extension of Dr. Poppeliers" seismic gradiometry work, and has served as a valuable proof-of-concept test. The project involved building a structure to support fifteen microphones, wire them into a data acquisition system, and to modify a computer program to process the resulting data. Tammy presented the results of her research at the ASU Phi Kappa Phi Student Research and Fine Arts Conference and at the annual Georgia Academy of Science meeting in Gainesville, GA last month. She won awards for "Best Student Presentation in Physics" at both conferences. Tammy will earn her degree in physics in May. Dr. Christian Poppeliers, Associate Professor of Physics, is her faculty advisor.
Craig Atkins has a strong interest in all things scientific. Not long after Craig entered ASU, he participated in an undergraduate research project in medicinal chemistry with Dr. Chad Stephens. More recently, he conducted research at the Medical College of Georgia. There he investigated the role of SMN protein, which is associated with the disease SMA, in the localization of mRNA during oogenesis in D. melanogaster.
Craig received the Outstanding Undergraduate Research in Chemistry award for his efforts on both projects. In May, Craig will graduate with a BS in Chemistry with a minor in Psychology, with Honors. His interests lie primarily in the biomedical field, and he will enter the PhD program in developmental biology at the Rockefeller University in the fall.
Biology and English Creative Writing
Eve Winkleman is a Biology and English Creative Writing major who will graduate from ASU and the ASU Honors Program in May. Eve has presented her research at the ASU Brown Bag twice and at the Phi Kappa Phi Research and Fine Arts Conference. A former Arabic linguist for the US Army, Eve is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the TriBeta Biology Honors Society, and the Student Ambassador Board. Eve"s English research focused on the character of Mephistopheles in Christopher Marlowe"s Dr. Faustus, reinterpreting him as a sympathetic hero in her paper, "Sympathy for the Devil." Dr. Wesley Kisting, Department of English and Foreign Languages, served as her advisor for the project, as well as serving as the chair of her Honors Thesis committee for her Biology and Chemistry research. For her thesis, Eve is synthesizing deriatives of persin, an antifungal found in avocados that has potential as a breast cancer drug. Her presentation of her research, entitled "Persin Derivatives: Design & Execution," won first place in her category at the Phi Kappa Phi Research and Fine Arts Conference. Eve will be spending her summer at a research internship studying cancer prevention at the MD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Houston, Texas before attending veterinary school at UGA in the fall. Her faculty advisors are Dr. Donna Wear, Department of Biology, and Dr. Tom Crute, Chair of the Department of Chemistry & Physics.
Zachary Bloomer and Mary Gadalla
Zachary Bloomer and Mary Gadalla are biology majors investigating levels of nickel and zinc tolerance in an endangered plant species, Pediomelum piedmontanum, "Dixie Mt. Breadroot". There is only one known population in Georgia where this species is located on an ultramafic substrate on Burks Mt. in Columbia County. In order to test for metal tolerance, Mary and Zach are manipulating metal concentrations in hydroponic assay and measuring growth and biomass for both roots and shoots. Mary and Zach presented a poster on their research project at the ASU Phi Kappa Phi Student Research and Fine Arts Conference and won first place. They are also presenting a research poster to the Tri Beta Biological Honor Society/Association of Southeastern Biologists Annual Meeting on April 15, in Huntsville, AL. Dr. Stacy T. Bennetts, Assistant Professor of Biology, is their faculty advisor.
Political Science and French
Miriam Townsend will complete her studies at Augusta State University in May when she will earn degrees in Political Science and French. Miriam is also a graduate of the ASU Honors Program and won several awards at ASU's March 2011 Honors Convocation including being named Academic Recognition Day Scholar. Miriam's undergraduate research carefully chronicles the social isolation and economic deprivation experienced by the Muslim community in France and considers these conditions as the catalyst for potential terrorist action. Her paper, entitled "Nature vs. Nurture: An Analysis of French Arab Muslims' Conditions and Reactions" was recently selected as the top undergraduate international studies paper by the Georgia Consortium for International Studies and was presented at their conference in February. Miriam will be going to graduate school in the fall to study international relations and security. Dr. Sandy Reinke, Professor of Public Administration, is her faculty advisor.