Undergraduate Research

At most colleges, it’s hard for undergraduates to get their names in academic publications. Professors usually collaborate with graduate students on research projects or reserve authorship for themselves.

But at FSC, thanks to an emphasis on experiential learning and a program now in its tenth year, faculty members are working with students to conduct research and include them in the credit. The Faculty-Student Collaboration initiative at Florida Southern, a summer research program, is administered by Dr. Mary Crowe, Associate Provost for Experiential Education. Students must apply to the program, which pays a modest stipend to the students and the faculty and also pays for supplies and travel, if necessary.

“Summer is when faculty members are more available to work with students. It’s a way for students to get experience in their academic discipline. In the sciences and the humanities, the work prepares them for graduate school. Getting students’ research published in peer-reviewed publications is huge,” Crowe said.

Here are three of the six projects carried out last summer.

Join The Faculty-Student Collaboration initiative at FSC!

Carlene Fogle-Miller Photo Research

When Sage Publications, a leading academic press, invited Associate Professor of Political Science Bruce Anderson to write a series of articles about political criminal cases for a forthcoming volume on white-collar crime, he persuaded the editors to let four of his junior and senior-level undergraduates do the research, write the articles, and receive the primary authorship credit. Anderson reviews and edits the work, and he will be listed as second author, but the publication credit gives students’ resumes a boost if they apply for graduate or law school, he says. Carlene Fogle-Miller, a senior honors student in political science, is working on an article about the. Whitewater scandal in Arkansas that threatened to derail the political career of Bill Clinton. The authorship credit will be “a very valuable asset” for her future, she said. “I can show I’m capable of good, solid writing,” said Fogle-Miller, who plans to attend law school. “It gives me an advantage over some others who haven’t done this kind of research.”

Fac-Collab-Turtle Photo

Students of Assistant Professor of Biology Gabriel Langford spent several steamy hours each week wading in the muddy shallows of Lake Hollingsworth and gathering data on some of the creatures that live in the lake’s ecosystem. Langford has been conducting a long-range survey of the turtle population in Lake Hollingsworth. The students have caught hundreds of turtles, including a lot of red-eared sliders, the type commonly sold in pet shops, which means when people tire of keeping them, they are releasing them into the lake where they compete with native species. “From the data, the invasive species is beating out the natural species,” says George Giebel, a senior biology student.

Collabrative Research Moore Photo

As the Lakeland Christian School football team is running through a morning practice session, a player gets hit hard and goes down. Florida Southern students Amber Whitney and Megan Moore, acting as athletic trainers for the team, immediately pull him aside to check for symptoms of concussion. The students are getting on-field clinical experience, but they are also participating in a research project on concussions in athletic competition, working with Dr. Sue Stanley-Green, associate professor of athletic training and Director of the Athletic Training Education program. The Faculty-Student Collaboration grant allowed them to spend time over the summer reading published studies on concussions. Then, once football practice got underway at Lakeland Christian, Whitney and Moore conducted computer based testing on the players to assess them for signs of concussion. “It’s hands-on experience in the age group I want to work with,” said Moore, a senior who wants to enroll in a physical therapy program after graduation.