IUPUC student research project goes virtual

For the last 11 years, the Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus Office of Student Research has celebrated student research with an annual showcase.

Students, faculty, staff and the public are usually invited to campus for the exhibition of student projects, but this is the second year the showcase was an online event due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Professor Julie Goodspeed-Chadwick, director of the office, said the plan is to return to an in-person exhibition in spring 2022.

In the past, students created posters to display their research data and presented that information in a small group format to attendees.

This year, Goodspeed-Chadwick asked the students to record their presentations to be displayed alongside their posters on a web page, as they did in 2020.

This year’s online exhibition features the work of 23 students, including three from Jackson County, and 11 faculty mentors on 11 research projects.

Each team received a grant from the Office of Student Research to fund its project.

To earn a grant, students submitted project proposals, passed a meticulous vetting process by a review committee and then completed their projects with direction and guidance from a faculty mentor.

To learn more about the Office of Student Research and to view this year’s presentations, visit iupuc.edu/osr.

Descriptions of four projects involving Jackson County student researchers and their hometowns are:

Infection Control Among the Homeless during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The homeless population is at an increased risk for health disparities, specifically issues with dental care, skin integrity, and infection. With homelessness and COVID-19 both on the rise in Bartholomew County, we hope to provide this population with reusable masks, hand sanitizer and education on infection control methods using limited resources. (Allissa DeGroot and Jennifer Ratliff of Columbus, Hannah Stephenson of Elizabethtown and Nicholas Wagner of Seymour)

Hoosier Youth Activists Project

With the highly political climate that America exists within, youth activism is dramatically on the rise, and with it, the need to study and empower the youth activists pouring themselves into political movements and organizations. This project seeks to find out from local youth activists their observations on secondary influences in their civic agency and empowerment by using surveys and interviews pertaining to their activism in their community. With this data, this research team will use an Action Civics approach to craft recommendations for local schools on how to better encourage and foster their youth activists. (Victoria Gilles of Shelbyville, Christian Litsey of Seymour, Laura Palomino and Priscilla Villarreal of Columbus)

Mechanisms of Control: Literary Findings on the Ways Patriarchy Maintains Intellectual Power

Throughout history, the intellectual freedom and voice of women has been stifled by the dominant patriarchal society; however, despite this stifling control, many women authors have persevered, detailing this oppression in rich and fascinating ways. This research project explores the works of three women authors — Amy Lowell’s “The Sisters,” Gertrude Stein’s “The Gentle Lena” and Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” — showing the three pillars of phallocentric control in the process. With this gynocritical approach to analyzing women’s literature, this research illustrates the importance of women’s voices in the literary canon in representing the experiences of women through art, justifying a centering of women writers and attendant issues in the literary canon. (Christian Litsey of Seymour)

This project was presented at the Indiana University Undergraduate Research Conference on Dec. 11, 2020. Litsey received the second prize for Best Undergraduate Research Project.

Farming Practices as Funds of Knowledge for Multilingual Learners

This research project builds upon IUPUC teacher preparation coursework on integrating diverse funds of knowledge (Moll et al., 1992; González et al., 2005) into curricula and instruction. Recent research has demonstrated the value of inviting and learning from farming practices as funds of knowledge as a supportive educational practice (Harper, 2016). This project builds on this research by seeking to understand farming practices as valuable cultural funds of knowledge and to integrate these perspectives into a revised lesson plan introducing the concept of funds of knowledge to a culturally and linguistically diverse classroom. (Taylor Russell of Seymour)