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Undergraduates seize research opportunities

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More than 70 undergraduate students in the Getty College of Arts & Sciences engaged in academic research, presentations and poster sessions this past year.

Undergraduate research is a priority because it benefits the students, college, and the University, according to Dr. Catherine Albrecht, dean of the college. “Through hands-on research activities alongside our outstanding faculty, students gain a deep and meaningful insight into their chosen discipline”

Students also benefit from research through improved grades, career exploration, and making connections to influential leaders in their fields and with faculty mentors.

Victoria Dickman-Burnett, a senior from Middle Point, Ohio, with three majors in philosophy, English literature and French, presented a paper titled “Resolving the Dilemma of Human Nature: Virtue Ethics, Feminism and Moral Orientation” – research focused on the systemic nature of hate crimes – at an undergraduate philosophy conference at Ohio State University this spring.

Her work spans two years of research and has paved the way to her acceptance in Ohio University’s graduate program in literature.

“This research has enhanced my experience at ONU because it has given me the opportunity to work closely with professors in a way that most students do not experience until they are in graduate school,” said Dickman-Burnett. “This has prepared me for my upcoming graduate education because I know the work that goes into a long-term research project.”

Andrew Zaebst, a Hudson, Ohio, senior with a double major in social studies and history, presented his research on President Truman’s decision to use atomic bombs on Japan. In another paper he presented the issue of disloyalty to the Confederacy in southwest Virginia during the Civil War at two undergraduate research conferences, including the Phi Alpha Theta Michigan Regional Conference in March.

“Those two opportunities helped me advance my career in education and have provided me with more chances to make connections with people than I ever would have been able to do otherwise,” he said. “Also, having the opportunity to do this research, write these papers and present at these conferences has expanded my education here at ONU and given me more real-world experience than I ever could have expected.”

Mary Drzycimski-Finn, assistant to the dean for student success, said that her office is encouraged by the impressive body of research emerging from the college’s undergraduates. “The University benefits from undergraduate research through exposure, incoming grant money, increasing retention and raising the recruitment profile of incoming students, among other advantages,” she said.

“As students hear of other students who have conducted research, presented papers or posters, and published their findings, they realize that they, too, can participate in such activities,” she said. “They ask faculty about the possibility of pursuing research, and faculty, too, seek out students to mentor and encourage them to undertake co-curricular scholarship.”