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Innovative student research nets scholarships


January 02, 2009

Undergraduate students conducting research in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are being recognized for their innovation and excellence. Eight students were chosen to receive several undergraduate research scholarships for spring 2009.

“The work being done by these undergraduates is exciting and far-reaching in scope,” says Michele Daley, director of scholarships and academic services in the college. “The scholarships provide opportunities for students to pursue research that is of interest to them and may carry them into graduate school.”

Students are supported by faculty mentors for the duration of their research project, according to Daley. The faculty mentors guide students through the research process, teaching new techniques and sharing their own research processes.

Sun Angel Excellence in the Humanities Research Scholarship

Four students are recipients of the Sun Angel Excellence in the Humanities Research Scholarship. This scholarship is offered to Liberal Arts and Sciences students who are majoring in English, film and media studies, history, languages and literatures, philosophy or religious studies.

Riki Meier, a junior majoring in English and biochemistry, will be studying how people compose a gendered self in the anonymity of an online environment, and how this then impacts their everyday life. To do this, she will study an online book discussion on www.weightwatchers.com and investigate what the postings reveal about her research topic. Meier also received the Randel and Susan McCraw Helms Homecoming Writing Contest from the ASU Department of English this fall.

Charles “Ben” Strauber, a junior majoring in English and biochemistry, is investigating the impact of globalization on the people of India; specifically how the chance to become proficient in English impacts their socioeconomic status and growth. He will explore whether speaking and understanding English can cause a divide in workplace access to jobs and information and if teaching English is used as a way to maintain the status quo. Strauber is a recipient of a Flinn Foundation Scholarship, which provides funding to top Arizona high school graduates to attend one of the state's public universities. Included in the program is the ability to travel overseas as well as other professional development opportunities.

Whitney Meshay, a senior majoring in political science, German and religious studies and Gary Vogel, a senior majoring in German and history, will examine first-person accounts of the lives of married couples in Germany from 1933 to 1950, where one spouse was Jewish. They will analyze and edit unpublished memoirs, and investigate the ostracism, gender-related differences in persecution, and the complicity or ignorance of the German public with regard to the Holocaust. Meshay and Vogel received the Morris and Julia Kertzer Scholarship from the ASU Department of Jewish Studies in fall 2008. The award is given to upper classman and graduate students who engage in studies about Jews or Judaism.

Woman and Philanthropy Access to Undergraduate Research in the Sciences Scholarship

Four students are recipients of the Woman and Philanthropy Access to Undergraduate Research in the Sciences Scholarship. This scholarship is offered to students who are enrolled in the college and majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, Earth and space exploration, kinesiology, life sciences, materials, mathematics and statistics, physics, psychology, or speech and hearing science.

Ashley Brown, a senior majoring in psychology, will study the relation between perceived barriers and behavior problems among Latino and European American youth. She will examine whether Latino families have a harder time seeking mental health services for their children and how this will impact future behavioral problems. Brown was the recipient of the Dean’s Circle Scholarship for Psychology in fall 2008. The award is based on academic record of achievement as a psychology major in the classroom and research, and promise for continuing contributions to the field.

Lara Cardy, a senior majoring in biochemistry, will research the physiological measures of stress in normal hearing listeners and cochlear implant patients. She hopes to discover the difference, if any, in stress. Lara is a recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which provides up to $7,500 per year for education expenses to students who are pursuing careers in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering. The Goldwater Foundation seeks students who display intellectual curiosity, dedication to their research, and possess potential for continuing contributions in their field.

Rachel Caspar, a junior majoring in biochemistry, will research mitochondrial pathology in a model of Alzheimer’s disease. This project’s goal is to examine the interaction between the amyloid precursor protein and the mitochondria that results in Alzheimer’s disease causing actions. Caspar’s research would provide targets for disease halting treatments. To delay the onset or halt the progression of the disease would allow for greater quality of life.

Priscilla Luna, a senior majoring in biochemistry, will study the structural arrangement and dynamics of DNA oligonucleotides, including structures containing nicks, gaps and hairpin formed structures. She hopes to characterize the relevant timescales over which these structures display changes in arrangement.

Additional information about college scholarships is at: clas.asu.edu/scholarships.