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Summer research offers education through experience

Hands-on experience can often times foster the most learning.

Thirty Doane students have the opportunity to learn through doing with summer research projects.

The program allows students to discover more about a topic of interest, work with faculty and peers, and gain valuable experience all while getting paid.

“We are finding out from the education literature that education from real world problems is the better way to learn,” Chemistry Professor Erin Wilson said. “Research gives a very integral skill set. Plus it’s fun.”

Wilson is working with three students on the study of biological macromolecules in environments that resemble their native functional environments.

Through this research students will learn about biofilm infections, among other things, and can discover how better to combat those infections.

Student Megan Uehling ’14 is involved with the research using a NMR spectroscopy to develop the film. Megan became involved in the undergraduate research program the summer after her first year and is an INBRE Scholar, a program that gives undergraduates more lab time to help them decide whether they would like to attend graduate or medical school after their time at Doane.

“I love research,” Megan said. “It’s a real world application of what we’re involved in in class.”

While many students in the science field choose to participate in summer research, the program is available to all fields and can benefit every student. This year Mellon grants were awarded to projects in fields such as the humanities, business and art.

“I think it’s really important when students understand the level of rigor required of good research,” said Nathan Erickson, sociology professor. “You realize the challenge and then you have to take ownership of that project.”

Erickson and fellow sociology professor, Danelle DeBoer, are working with students on a project about inconsistencies related to demographic information for registered sex offenders.

Student MacKenzie Maly ’15, a sociology student working on the project, said she would encourage students to participate in summer research because it helps students further their education in a different way rather than just reading text books. Megan agreed.

“It’s a good learning experience,” Megan said. “You utilize problem solving and use all those skills Doane’s been trying to teach us since our first year.”

 

PHOTO: Nate Knobel '14