- $750 Research/Creativity Grant Application
- $500 Mini Grant Application (First Generation Students Only)
- Call For Proposals: Faculty Research Involving Students
One of the most fundamental components of Title III is student-faculty research, which will allow students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply their knowledge to real-life experiences via applied research projects. The Title III Project Director will coordinate the research program and promote MHU as an engaged learning community that is identified by rich student—mentor relationships.
Student-Faculty Research Initiatives
- Participate in faculty development (i.e.: workshops, conferences, peer institution visits)
- Explore research opportunities in various MHU disciplines and programs
- Publicize research activities in print and on website
- Develop long-term strategies for future research
Title III Student-Faculty Research Goals
- Year 2: individual students and teams compete for funds for 15 on-campus formal presentations
- Years 3 & 4: funding provided for 3 of the best to be submitted to state, regional, or national conferences
- Year 5: funds included for department teams (student and faculty) to propose research projects, with one project funded in each of the five divisions
- Endowment challenge: Title III will fund $120,000 to endow the student—faculty research program. Mars Hill University must match federal funding with $120,000. A total of $240,000 will establish the endowment fund for continuing student-faculty research projects.
MHU Research Grant Competition Winners
- Ali Andrejewski. English/Psychology. “But how describe a world seen without a self?”: Taoist Principles in Virginia Woolf’s "To the Lighthouse" and "The Waves." Ali’s work explores the parallels between Taoism and writings of Virginia Woolf, e.g., To the Lighthouse and The Waves. Ali’s grant will be used to purchase books, to travel to UNC-Chapel Hill (to review a doctoral dissertation), and to consult with the Taoist Institute in Asheville. Woolf’s work, writes Ali, “is a beautiful case study of meaning and “being,” especially when viewed through the lens of Taoist principles.” Ali’s faculty mentor is Dr. Joanna Pierce.
- Ashley Angell. Natural Sciences. Water Quality Trends of Madison County. Ashley will investigate the effects of agricultural contaminants, acid rain, sewage disposal, and wastewater runoff on Madison County rivers and streams. With funding used for research supplies, Ashley will use ultraviolet visibility spectrum analysis to examine pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, suspended solids, and concentrations of nitrate and phosphates. Ashley’s faculty mentor is Dr. Meredith Newman.
- Rachel Dudley. Music. Life as Music: Out of Balance and in Transformation. Rachel’s research examines the juxtaposition of sound and images and how Phillip Glass’s minimalist scores impact the cinematic event that is the “Quatsi Trilogy.” In completing her project, Rachel will visit the School of the Arts in Winston-Salem to interview an expert in film theory. She also plans to analyze Phillip Glass’s minimalist musical notation. Rachel’s grant will be used for travel and purchasing soundtracks, musical scores, and books. Rachel’s faculty mentor is Dr. Jim Sparrow.
- Sonja Gutherie. Music. Clustered Beauty: Cluster Chords, New Notation, and Henry Cowell’s Exploration of New Performance and Composition. Sonja’s work takes a look at Henry Cowell’s use of cluster chords in the Tides of Manaunaun. In strumming piano chords, Cowell sought a beauty of sound in music that he found in all elements of man and nature. In completing her project, Sonja will visit the Music Libraries of Greensboro and Charlotte, engaging in score analyses and investigations of Cowell’s compositional techniques. Sonja’s faculty mentor is Dr. Vance Reese.
- Barbara Hugl. International Studies. Natural Resources – Curse or Blessing? Barbara’s research considers the political, economic, social, and cultural factors that contribute to a state’s success or failure, looking particularly at how international states rank on the Failed States Index. With her grant, Barbara plans to interview representatives at the National Democratic Institute as well as the Foreign Policy Magazine in Washington, D.C. She will also analyze statistical data from the Economic Intelligence Unit, all in the effort to better understand patterns of democratization in developing nations. Barbara’s faculty mentor is Mr. Gordon Hinners.
- Ashley McCarthy. Natural Science. Plantago major and Its Health Benefits. Ashley will be investigating the medicinal qualities of Plantago major, a common weed plantain imported into America from European colonists. Plantago major is found in Western North Carolina and throughout the South. Using funds to purchase supplies (e.g., bacteria, agar, and petri dishes), Ashley will test the resistance of Plantago major against pseudomonas aeruginosa, staphylococcus aureus, and streptococcus pyogenes, looking for alternative medical treatments to diabetic sores and other immune disorders. Ashley’s faculty mentor is Dr. JoAnn Croom.
- Amanda McMahan. History. A Mixed Legacy: Heriot Clarkson and the Creation of Little Switzerland. Amanda’s research explores Heriot Clarkson’s impact on the political and social structures of Little Switzerland, a tourist town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, established in 1909. To complete her project, Amanda will first review some of the limited secondary sources pertaining to her interests. Then, she will travel to the UNC-Chapel Hill Archives to research the Heriot Clarkson papers. Amanda will also conduct archival research in Little Switzerland. Amanda’s faculty mentor is Dr. Lucia Carter.
- Christopher Phillips. History. Gay Asheville: How Asheville’s Gay Culture Influenced Economical and Social Change in an Appalachian Community. In conducting interviews, Christopher will be researching how local gay culture influenced the economic and social revitalization of Asheville during the 1980s and 1990s. While the gay movement has been researched in larger metropolitan areas such as San Francisco and New York, Christopher’s work is important in that it examines the influence of the gay movement on the more rural context of Asheville and surrounding communities. His grant will be used for purchasing a digital audio recorder & recording supplies, books, and for paying stipends to his interviewees. Christopher’s faculty mentor is Dr. Lucia Carter.
- Jarred Pickering. Chemistry. Studies on the antioxidant properties of curcumin derivatives. In his research, Jarred will synthesize a series of curcumin derivatives, investigating their antioxidant activities. Curcumin is the yellow pigment found in the spice turmeric and has been identified for possible use in treating stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. In evaluating the structural basis of the biological activity in curcumin, Jarred’s grant will be used to purchase chemicals and other research supplies. Jarred will also use funding for travel to Western Carolina or UNC-Asheville to analyze the data he acquires in his experiments. Jarred’s faculty mentor is Dr. Roxana Ciochina.
- Wes Skidmore, History. The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 and the Christiana Riot of 1851: A Juxtaposition of Two Illuminating Events on Race Relations in Free Northern States. Wes will be traveling to the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and to the American Philosophical Society for the purpose of examining primary sources pertaining to the Abolitionist Movement in American history. In particular, Wes will examine the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 and the Christiana Riot of 1851, looking at how race relations in Philadelphia and the Abolitionist Movement changed over time. Wes’s faculty mentor is Dr. Lucia Carter.
- Kimberlee Williams. Music. All we are is All we are: Nihilism in the Music of Nirvana. Kimberlee will analyze the music of Nirvana, looking to explain how Kurt Cobain expressed nihilism through the style and the lyrical content of his music. Her research will also consider the cultural implications of the Grunge counterculture on popular culture at large. With grant funding, Kimberlee plans to study the score and guitar tablature of Nirvana’s music. She also plans to compare song lyrics to nihilistic philosophy, e.g., the ideas of Nietzsche. Partial funding will be spent for travel to the UNC-Chapel Hill Music Library. Kimberlee’s faculty mentor is Ms. Cathy Adkins.
- Jaime Kuehl, Senior, Biology. Jaime’s winning grant funded her investigation of the second to fourth finger digit ratio, examining the correlation between the ratio and athleticism. Jaime’s research replicated previous studies in other contexts, using Mars Hill College students as participants. In this study, Jaime first measured students’ finger length, weight, height, body-fat percentage, and body mass index. Then she examined the correlations between the finger length ratios and other variables. Dr. JoAnn Croom is Jaime’s faculty mentor.
- William Skidmore, Rising Senior, History. In completing his project, Wes will be investigating racial inequalities and African Americans’ experiences with the early American judicial system in Philadelphia. In particular, Wes’s Research Scholars grant will be used to help fund his summer experience with the Shear-Mellon Fellowship Seminar where he will analyze court records and other primary source historical evidence housed in the Philadelphia City Archives and the Library Company of Philadelphia. Dr. Kathy Newfont is Wes’s faculty mentor.
- Belize Interdisciplinary Research Adventure (Savannah Garrison, Ryan Cauble, Senior, Psychology and Religion; Jeff Corping, Junior, History; Brittany Downs, Junior, Religion; Lee Mason, Sophomore, Zoology and Regional Studies; Aki Masunaga, Sophomore, Biology and Regional Studies; Ashley McCarthy, Senior, Biology; Amanda McMahan, Senior, History; Samantha Rybicki, Sophomore, Zoology; Kesha Thompson, Senior, Biology). In June ’09, the team ventured to Belize for a two-week cultural/historical/ecological emersion experience like none other. Conducting interdisciplinary filed research, students lived in Mayan villages learning from the people and the place. Faculty mentors included Drs. Carol Boggess, JoAnn Croom, Lucia Carter, Kathy Meacham, and Alan Smith.
- Kristina Donahue, Sophomore, Fashion and Interior Merchandizing. Kristina coordinated consumer marketing research in conjunction with the Mars Hill College Bookstore. With her research, she developed a marketing plan for carrying the Jedidiah USA HOPE Collection (line of clothing merchandise) in the bookstore. The HOPE Collection donates a substantial portion of its revenues to world humanitarian causes. Dr. Kathryn Eason is Kristina’s faculty mentor.
- Kevin Hertlein, Senior, Music Education/ Performance. With his research, Kevin investigated religious influences on the music of Gustav Mahler. He examined biographical sources in addition to selected Mahler scores, looking to better understand the power of music and how it offers insight into human nature. Kevin’s faculty mentor is Dr. James Sparrow.
- Barbara Hugl, Junior, International Studies. As part of her study abroad experience, Spring ’09, Barbara researched the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. In addition to interviewing the Austrian Ambassador in Beirut, Barbara spoke with both Israelis and Palestinians in Lebanon, exploring the sentiments of those living in this region of the world and considering the conflict’s global impact. Barbara’s faculty mentor is Dr. Katharine Meacham.
- Brandon Johnson, Junior, English, Regional Studies. Brandon’s community-based project explored the culture of Southern Appalachia, looking in particular at the rich musical heritage of the region. Brandon seeks to preserve and share Appalachian music traditions by educating communities. In particular, he performs his expanding repertoire, augmented with background and thematic information he learned from his research. Brandon’s faculty mentor is Dr. Carol Boggess. Click here for Brandon’s final report.
- Reb! Knight, Senior, Zoology. Reb!’s research was used in developing Cherokee County’s Farmland Preservation Trust plan. In particular, Reb! created maps, using GIS (geographic information system) software to document current farmland in the county. Her works was used to help determine the farmland that is most critical for preservation for both ecological and economic reasons. Reb!’s faculty mentor is Smithson Mills, Director of the Richard L. Hoffman Center for Assessment and Research Alliances. Click here for Reb!’s final report.
- Ashley Koontz, Senior, Education. In her project, Ashley investigated the Response to Intervention (RTI) special education program that was implemented in Rutherford County Schools. This community-based grant looked at the efficacy of the Rutherford model for the purpose of adapting RTI for Madison County Schools. Essentially, RTI first helps schools do a better job of identifying children with special needs; then, this research-based program helps schools do a better job of providing services. Ashley’s faculty mentor is Dr. Chris Cain.
- Heather Wright, Senior, English. Heather critically examined the literary works of Jane Austen, but took an even more critical look at how the 21st Century has misconstrued Austen’s books. Heather maintains that we often miss the wit and sarcasm the author levied in her reactions to a Regency England that has been idealized by 21st Century audiences. Heather’s faculty mentor is Dr. Carol Boggess. Click here for Heather’s final report.
- Lindsey Collins, Senior, Sociology. Lindsey’s research investigated high school students’ perceptions of popularity, looking to better understand the contextualizing factors that shape students’ conceptions of popularity. Her faculty mentor is Dr. Ashby Walker.
- Daniel Hensley, Senior, Musical Theater. Daniel applied the Estill Voice Training System to a regiment of character voice development, analyzing the system’s utility in improving voice training. Dr. Julie Fortney is his faculty mentor.
- Lady Westmorland, Senior, P.E., Health and Wellness. Lady surveyed the health and wellness habits of Mars Hill students. Ms. Joy Clifton is Lady’s faculty mentor.
- Krystal Wise, Principle Investigator, Malena Montgomery, and Kristen Jordan, Senior Elementary Education. These educational researchers evaluated the efficacy of their real-world application of the Understanding by Design curriculum development model in Mars Hill Elementary classrooms. Dr. Jim Brown, Faculty Mentor.
- Natasha Cannon, Junior, History. Utilizing primary sources, Natasha explored the role of women servants at the Biltmore House. In her research Natasha learned more about how hard work behind the scenes contributed to the glamorous image presented to the public. Natasha’s faculty mentor is Dr. John Gripentrog.
- Stephen Darnell, Senior, Music. Stephen investigated chromatic pitches in tonal music. Ultimately, used his research for composing music and developing new ways to present the principles of tonal music theory in educational settings. Stephen’s faculty mentor is Dr. Doug Gordon.
- Jack Delaney, Junior, Biology. Jack’s research focused on the viability of bacteriophages as alternative treatments in microbial infection. This line of pharmaceutical research investigated certain bacteria that may have evolved to resist antibiotics, looking to see if said strains may yet be susceptible to bacteriophages. Jack’s faculty mentor is Dr. JoAnn Croom. Click here for Jack’s final report.
- Tyler Greene, Junior, History. Tyler explored the 1925 Coal Glen Mining Disaster that took place in Sanford, NC. Tyler’s research helped him understand how Coal Glen eliminated coal mining in North Carolina and the extent to which the disaster provided an impetus for North Carolina’s first worker’s compensation laws. In conducting his research, Tyler visited the Sanford site as well as the University of North Carolina’s Southern Oral History Program to investigate primary source evidence. Tyler’s faculty mentor is Dr. Kathy Newfont. Click here for Tyler’s final report.
- Reb! Knight, Junior, Zoology. Reb!’s work focused on the question of whether or not tufted titmice have different vocal communications depending on their environment. She recorded the birds’ songs in different locations (e.g., Western North Carolina and the Piedmont), and then analyzed the songs using sonographs, giving her a better understanding of ornithology in the region. Reb!’s faculty mentor is Mr. Alan Smith. Click here for Reb!’s final report.
- Matthew Kupstas, Senior, Business. Investigating issues of sustainability in colleges and universities, Matthew researched ways Mars Hill College might respond to the changing environment. As a result of his research, Matthew created a Green Student Guide that explains how students can help reduce water and electricity waste. Matthew’s faculty mentor is Dr. Paul Smith.
- Molly Leedom, Senior, English. Molly’s research concentrated on the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg, and the obscenity trial that surrounded the work which changed the course of literary censorship in America. She traveled to San Francisco, immersing herself in the San Fran poetry scene, reading, writing, and howling Spoken Word. Molly’s faculty mentor is Dr. Hal McDonald. Click here for Molly’s final report.
- Zachary Rinehart, Junior, Chemistry: Zachary’s synthesized chiral molecules and assessed how asymmetric catalysis affected the amounts and types of products formed. Zachary’s research has pharmaceutical implications for cancer research. Zachary’s faculty mentor is Dr. Jerome May.
- Holly Schaeffer, Junior, Chemistry. Holly’s research centered on the synthesis of laurenditerpenol, a natural product that potentially inhibits hypoxia-inducible factor, a key factor in cancer progression. Holly’s faculty mentor is Dr. Roxana Ciochina.
- Miley White, Senior, Art. Miley created original artwork through photography and printmaking that explores society’s perception of the ideal female body and women’s struggles to adhere to these standards. She showcased 7-12 pieces in a gallery exhibition at MHC. Miley’s faculty mentor is Mr. Scott Lowrey.