Senior students "become experts" through research
By Katherine Love
Posted March 16, 2013
Posted March 16, 2013
Although she may have preferred to read a romance novel by the pool last summer, senior nursing major Reagan Elliott spent much of her time reading online articles about bodily drainage.
Michael Dabbs, a senior political science and strategic communication double major, also spent his summer focused on researching public relations of South Sudan.
Elliott and Dabbs are two of about 95 seniors finishing their departmental research projects for the university’s John V. Roach Honors College, Colby Bosher, an academic adviser for the Honors College, said.
Each year, more than half of the Honors College seniors choose to conduct research projects, which must fall within their major fields of study, Bosher said. Students must submit an average 30-page paper of their research and give a presentation to members of the college in April.
“They become like an expert on a little part of their field,” Bosher said.
According to Bosher, some of the benefits of these projects are gaining research experience, working with faculty members and having a final project they can show to future employers or graduate schools.
“It’s a huge help with interviewing,” Elliott said. “A big thing in nursing is evidence-based practice and making sure that everything we’re doing for the patients is the best possible thing we can be doing. So any kind of research adds to that practice and evidence.”
Elliott said she researched with nursing professor Diane Hawley about internal bodily drainage after chest surgeries. They tested the efficiency of drainage by natural gravitational flow versus suction-induced flow.
For Dabbs’ project, strategic communication professor Jacqueline Lambiase helped him generate the idea of studying how public relations contributes to the civility and social structure of a post-conflict nation. The two then decided South Sudan, the newest country, would be a good case study because it is so young.
“I’m looking specifically at how non-governmental organizations can come into a country and facilitate relationships between the citizen and the state to build and sustain a society,” Dabbs said.
Other projects range from writing a Japanese novella, researching and choreographing a dance film and engineering a plant compound that would have male contraceptive capabilities, Bosher said.
Bosher said this semester will bring the largest number and greatest variety of projects the Honors College has ever seen. She attributed this increase to more students completing the Honors program and more interest from the various colleges.
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