News & Events
Grants Awarded For Research Scholars Program
Eight Mars Hill College students have been selected to receive grant funding for proposals they have written as part of the college’s Research Scholars Program.
|Mars Hill College Research Scholars and faculty mentors: (seated, l-r) Melissa Holloway, Ana Chocarro, Yonatan Arnold, Professor Kari Loomis, Aki Masunaga, and Jaimie Little; (standing, l-r) Title III Director Marshall Angle, Patrick Cash, Instructor Laurie Pedersen, MHC President Dan Lunsford, Professor John Gripentrog, Carson Fackler, Josh Doby.|
Valued at $750, each grant pays a $250 stipend to faculty mentors and $500 to students. In writing their grant proposals students prepared budgets allocating dollars for travel, books, supplies, etc. Grant monies are supplied by the federal Title III program.
According to Mars Hill College Title III Director Marshall Angle, the Research Scholars Program is a vital part of Mars Hill’s emphasis on undergraduate research.
“Colleges and universities are increasingly supporting programs in undergraduate research which promote closer working relationships between students and faculty mentors,” Angle said. “At MHC, students work with faculty mentors who are experts in their fields, learning how to write grant proposals, conduct research, and manage projects. Mars Hill supports undergraduate research because the college believes that student-initiated, faculty-mentored projects afford the best in educational opportunities for our students.”
Grant winners were chosen by a committee of Mars Hill College faculty based in part on students’ demonstrated commitment to conducting applied research. Other important factors in the awarding of Research Scholars grants included: writing style, identification of research literature; description of research methods; explanation of expected research outcomes; and justification of the project’s importance.
Grant recipients for Spring 2010 are listed below.
Yonatan Arnold is a junior history and sociology major from Oklahoma City, OK. His grant title is Orientation 101 Mars Hill College, and his faculty advisor is Sociology Instructor Laurie Pedersen. With his research, Yonatan will be investigating local retention patterns and how MHC might improve retention. In particular, Yonatan will read research literature about social interaction theory and persistence in higher education. Additionally, Yonatan will conduct focus groups with Mars Hill students to learn more about why some students leave as others stay.
Patrick Cash is a junior history major from Morganton, NC. His grant title is Sam Ervin: The Country Lawyer of the United States Senate, and his faculty advisor is assistant professor of history, Dr. John Gripentrog. Patrick will be researching Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. and his roles in the McCarthy and Watergate proceedings. In researching Senator Ervin, Patrick will analyze primary source documents in the Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. Library and Museum. Patrick has also scheduled two interviews: Senator Ervin’s personal secretary during the Watergate Trial, and Karl E. Campbell, Ervin scholar at Appalachian State University.
Ana Chocarro is a freshman psychology major from Madrid, Spain. Her grant title is Child Soldiers and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A View on Nature and Nurture, and her faculty advisory is Dr. Ray Cook, associate professor of psychology. Ana’s project is an extension of her Senior Seminar project in Psychology. Her works investigates the possible relationship between child soldier pathological behaviors and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Her project features a face-to-face interview with Dr. Allen Keller, leading expert on the topic and Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture at the Langone Medical Center.
Joshua Doby is a junior zoology major from Raleigh, NC. His grant title is Testing Biodiversity and Seasonal Variation through Dung Beetles and his faculty advisory is Dr. Scott Pearson, associate professor of biology. With his research, Joshua will be investigating biodiversity in Madison County by testing species diversity of dung beetles over time and in different stages of cow pie decomposition. Dung beetles are a very a good indicators of biodiversity. Moreover, sustainable farming practices, in which cows are rotated to prevent over grazing, provide optimal field conditions for dating, collecting, and analyzing data.
Carson Fackler is a senior art major from Bakersfield, CA. His grant title is Anatomical Studies of the Human Figure for Drawing and Painting: An Investigation of Pose as Content, and his faculty advisor is Scott Lowrey, associate professor of art. Carson’s project will focus on physiological studies of the human body through accurate renderings from an ecorche and artist anatomy texts. The ecorche is an anatomically accurate sculpture traditionally used to train artists in drawing human figures. Having this three dimensional model will provide a more life-like reference, and enhance the information that anatomy books provide. In his work, Carson will compare and contrast his compositions with design elements seen in Greek, Renaissance, and Contemporary art styles.
Melissa Holloway is a senior biology major from Helena, AL. Her grant title is Testing Water for Chemical Leaching, and her faculty advisors are Dr. Kari Loomis, assistant professor of biology & Dr. Scott Pearson, associate professor of biology. Melissa will be researching the leaching effects of plastic bottles at different temperatures and different lengths of time. Her work is important in that she will be investigating the contamination of drinking water with estrogen-like compounds that may cause cancer as well as infertility.
Jaimie Little is a sophomore zoology major from Fayetteville, GA. Her grant title is Natural History and Its Effects on the Early Peoples of the Southern California Region. Her faculty advisor is Alan Smith, associate professor of biology. Jamie will be traveling west to study museum exhibits that compare the natural history of Southern California to Western NC. Specifically, she will be researching the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Aerial Portraits of the American West. Jamie will also explore the Seaver Center for Western History Research. Jamie will be compiling a photo-documentary journal of her experience, speaking with museum curators and spending some time in the Seaver Center archives, if possible.
Aki Masunaga is a junior biology major from Osaka, Japan. Her grant title is Risk of Nest Predation for Forest Songbirds and her faculty advisor is Dr. Scott Pearson, associate professor of biology. In summer 2008, Aki worked with Dr. Pearson, doing field work and data collection in various sites in Western North Carolina. Overall, Aki’s research considers the possible causes of population decline in songbirds, looking at how human activities affect the quality of habitats available for these animals. The next phase of her research will include analyses of the data she collected in 2008, using aerial photographs, forest maps, vegetation data, and predation rates to analyze the relationships between predation risk and the two parameters, vegetation and forest fragmentation.