Gili Freedman, assistant professor of psychology, has received a grant for $49,051 from the Spencer Foundation for her work on “Changing Attributions to Improve Persistence of Women in STEM.” Partnering with Dr. Melanie Green from University at Buffalo, Dr. Freedman will conduct a set of three studies on women’s attributions in STEM fields to explore avenues to increase retention of women in STEM. Prior research suggests that women may make different attributions than men when receiving lower grades in introductory science courses than in other fields. Based upon initial research, Dr. Freedman and Dr. Green will design an intervention to help first-year students make better attributions such as seeing lower grades as an indication of the challenging nature of the courses rather than a lack of ability. The findings from this research will provide valuable knowledge about the attribution processes among women in STEM and new methods of intervening to increase retention.
Two SMCM students were recently awarded Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) Undergraduate Research Grants to help fund their St. Mary’s Projects. Brooke Steinhoff was awarded $500 for her SMP titled: “Evaluating the efficacy of L-655, 708 direct injection into the medial prefrontal cortex”. Steinhoff is working in Professor of Psychology Aileen Bailey’s lab.
Livia’s Schuller was also awarded $500 from TriBeta to help fund her SMP: “Effect of migration distance on body condition and response to physiological stressors in White-throated Sparrows”. Schuller is working with Assistant Professor of Biology Jessica Malisch.
Professor of Anthropology Julia King is featured in Nov. 21 edition of The Washington Post. King’s research team includes St. Mary’s College of Maryland alumni Scott Strickland (’08), Catherine Dye (’17) and Max Sickler (’18), along with current students through King’s anthropology classes.
King, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Chesapeake Conservancy, and the state-recognized Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia, has been tracing the history and development of the Rappahannock Indians in early American history (200-1850 AD). This research is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings,
conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The full Washington Post article can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/the-indians-were-right-the-english-were-wrong-a-virginia-tribe-reclaims-its-past/2018/11/21/2380f92c-e8f4-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html?utm_term=.a8695d72b1b0
St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) was well represented and very well received at the second annual meeting of the Council on Undergraduate Research Transformations Project (CUR-T), funded by the National Science Foundation (Award no. 1625354). The inter-disciplinary SMCM team attending the conference included Drs. Mertz, Neiles, Bowers, Dillingham, Wooley, Koenig, and Foster.
The CUR Transformations Project aims to understand and incorporate successful strategies to integrate high-quality undergraduate research (UGR) throughout four-year undergraduate STEM curricula. SMCM’s contribution to this ambitious nation-wide endeavor focuses on undergraduate research integration in the disciplines of psychology and chemistry & biochemistry, and we have a committed team of 16 faculty and administrators working toward this goal.
The 2018 annual meeting allowed all 12 institutions participating in the CUR-T project to highlight their progress toward achieving project goals, and by all accounts our SMCM psychology and chemistry/biochemistry teams excelled and impressed. Congratulations to all of them, and please feel free to ask them about their CUR-T-related progress and insights. Each team works to create a more research-rich, connected, and scaffolded curriculum, and contributes to two major research questions: 1) What effect do student characteristics (e.g., preexisting academic preparation) have on scaffolded integration of UGR into the curriculum and student learning outcomes? 2) How do different STEM disciplines/departments effectively integrate the components and outcomes of high-quality UGR to reach more students? The CUR-T principal investigators received NSF funding to answer these pertinent questions in order to advance the academy’s understanding of effective teaching and learning and the disciplinary and cultural factors necessary for curricular integration and transformation. Collectively, we are at the cutting edge of STEM curricular transformations.
St. Mary’s College Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Cassie Gurbisz’s research on Chesapeake Bay grasses is featured in an article in today’s Baltimore Sun. The article discusses the impact of flooding on oysters and grasses as another surge of stormwater and pollution flows through Conowingo Dam. Gurbisz is pictured on the front page and included in the video accompanying the story.
Gurbisz’s research project is being funded through an award from the Maryland Sea Grant program, a part of the University System of Maryland. Maryland Sea Grant works to develop scientifically sound ideas and practices that enhance the Chesapeake Bay’s ecology along with the businesses and jobs that depend on it. Gurbisz’s project is titled: Quantifying Nutrient Sequestration in Chesapeake Bay Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Beds.
Congratulations to the 12 students who presented their research on July 27, 2018 to conclude the SMCM Mathematics REU, a 7-week NSF-funded research experience for underrepresented students in mathematics who are early in their college careers. Over 100 students from across the country applied for the 12 positions. Two of the participants, Mariel Santos ’20 and Beth Thomas ’21, are undergraduates at SMCM. Santos’ team presented “Knots & Links: Local Moves & Polynomial Invariants.” Thomas’ team presented “Combating Tuberculosis: Using Time-Dependent Sensitivity Analysis to Develop Strategies for Treatment and Prevention.”
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program.
David Gerrish, an undergraduate physics major at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), will be the first SMCM student to undertake a summer internship at the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site located at the St. Mary’s Airport in California, MD. Under the mentorship of Dr. Troy Townsend, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science at SMCM, David will be using Computer Aided Design (CAD) to build 3-D printed unmanned aircraft and test their performance at the University of Maryland UAS Test Site. This full-time 11-week internship is traditionally awarded to students attending the University of Maryland, College Park Engineering Program or the College of Southern Maryland Engineering or Computer Science Programs.
According to the UAS website, “UAS Test Site summer internships give students an opportunity to work hands-on with researchers and staff on the modeling, design, analysis, simulation, assembly, and experimentation of UAS. As members of the test site team, summer interns work full-time from offices in California, MD and … [conclude the internship] with a briefing to advisors and UAS Test Site staff on project outcomes. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site at the University of Maryland stands at the forefront of UAS rulemaking, commercialization, and national airspace integration. Formed in 2014, Test Site experts leverage their approximately 150 years of combined experience in military and civilian aviation, engineering, and project management to accelerate the safe, responsible application of UAS in public and private industries.”
St. Mary’s College of Maryland is Maryland’s Public Honors College and is heralded as one of the nation’s top public liberal arts colleges. David’s internship award is a testament to the quality of the applied science component of the SMCM student liberal arts experience. Dr. Townsend says, “One of St. Mary’s greatest values is student research. Every student is required to complete a senior capstone project to culminate their interdisciplinary studies, and I have a team of students who start in lab with directed research in their first two years of college. The applied nature of our research has initiated partnerships with the Navy and commercial partners, where our undergraduate students are conducting PhD level research. Projects like David’s are super cool and could lead to exciting opportunities with new discoveries in technology.”
The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) awarded Barry Muchnick, assistant professor of environmental studies at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a mini-grant to advance civic learning and social responsibility as expected dimensions within students’ majors.
Muchnick’s grant was one of 24 awarded by AAC&U out of the 134 applications, indicating widespread interest in rethinking departmental disciplinary designs for learning, life, work, and citizenship. The Civic Prompts: Civic Learning in the Major by Design initiative is supported by a grant from the Endeavor Foundation and aims to limit the civic-free zones within departments.
“The environmental studies program at St. Mary’s College is excited to expand and deepen our commitment to civic education and to continue to offer new opportunities for student engagement and leadership both inside and outside the classroom,” Muchnick said.
The award secured by Muchnick will help fund a June 6 and 7 workshop at St. Mary’s College tasked to better integrate civic learning and social responsibility into the environmental studies program. The workshop is also sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers
“Educating for democracy is more critical than ever, and AAC&U is proud to support the departments and institutions receiving grants for their commitment to advancing liberal education in the major as a foundation for fostering civic engagement,” said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella in a press release announcing the awards.
Amanda Deerfield, assistant professor of economics, and Sriparna Ghosh, visiting professor of economics, presented research at the Association of Private Enterprise Education in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April. Deerfield’s research in “Examining the Relationship Between Economic Freedom and Ridesharing Legislation” found that states with less economic freedom take longer to pass ridesharing legislation. Her research was supported by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.
A second paper, co-authored by Deerfield and Ghosh, found that states with greater occupational licensing requirements have lower rates of entrepreneurship. Both research papers have implications for policy-makers concerning how to encourage entrepreneurship by improving regulatory conditions.
An archaeologist and adjunct instructor, Scott Strickland is one of many successful alumni working to enrich the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) community. A 2008 graduate, Strickland has worked on SMCM archaeological projects for almost a decade. Strickland began his archaeological career with Professor of Anthropology Julie King, finding and testing Moore’s Lodge, the first courthouse of Charles County, MD. He has since worked on a wide variety of projects, and was instrumental in the discovery of Zekiah Fort, a defensive fortification established in 1680 by Gov. Charles Calvert to protect Piscataway people from northern Native American raiders. Strickland received his Master of Science from the University of Southampton in the UK, specializing in archaeological computing. He also worked on the Colonial Encounters Project, an effort funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities focused on cataloging artifacts and analyzing historical maps for future use.
Currently, Strickland is working on a project funded by the National Park Service, entitled “An Ethnographic Overview and Assessment of Piscataway Park in Prince George’s County.” The grant funding this project was awarded to Dr. King in September, 2017. Strickland, along with SMCM staff member Travis Hanson, hopes to document changes to the Piscataway Park community in Prince George’s County by talking with local residents, gathering historical documents including land grants and tax forms, and recording alterations to the physical landscape. He also serves as an adjunct instructor at SMCM, teaching anthropological applications of Geographic Information Systems and computational methods in anthropology. Strickland is one of countless SMCM alumni that are giving back to the St. Mary’s community through his commitment to historic preservation and ability to teach.
The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.