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Tuesday, November 15,2016

URSP Student Contributes to Publication

URSP Student Iris Stone has contributed to a publication in Applied Physics Letters, the most cited journal in Applied Physics. Linked is the paper and Iris' blog post.

URSP and USTF recipient Kelsey Rivers & mentor Anna Pollack presented their longevity research Friday, November 11,2016

URSP and USTF recipient Kelsey Rivers & mentor Anna Pollack presented their longevity research

The researchers looked at the genetic material inside the women's cells, specifically the length of their telomeres. These are caps on the ends of chromosomes that protect the chromosomes from damage. Telomeres naturally shorten as people age, but the structures don't shorten at the same rate in every person. The longer a person's telomeres are, the more times their cells could hypothetically still divide, research has shown. Thus, telomeres are considered a marker of biological age — that is, the age of a person's cells, rather than the individual's chronological age.


For more please continue reading here.

Undergrads Find Persistence is Key to Their Research Successes Wednesday, May 18,2016

Undergrads Find Persistence is Key to Their Research Successes

Mason’s Program Hailed as “National Model”

Presented by the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR), the Celebration of Student Scholarship is an annual showcase for the Students as Scholars program, which provides funding and support for the scholarly work of hundreds of Mason undergraduates each year. Students representing every school of the university presented posters summarizing their research projects in fields ranging from bioengineering to economics, from ecology to anthropology, and from political science to dance.

The power of persistence was a lesson also shared by Francis Aguisanda, BS Biology ‘14, for whom the Students as Scholars opportunity was a life-changing experience. Francis landed a position in Dr. Daniel Cox’s neuroscience lab, but after one semester, he told Dr. Cox that he might have to quit: “I wasn’t sure that I could balance my life in the lab with my extracurriculars and with being a student. But with the encouragement of Dr. Cox and my friends, I persevered.” Francis now works as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, and in the fall of 2016 he will begin the PhD program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University.

At most universities, research of this depth and caliber is the province of graduate students. But in this (as in so must else!), Mason is exceptional. More than 3,600 undergraduates have completed research projects over the past four years, says Dr. Bethany Usher, director of the Students as Scholars program. These undergrads have not only planned and carried out a research project, but also publicly shared results outside of the classroom.

The amazing success of Students as Scholars was highlighted when the Council on Undergraduate Research, a leading national organization, awarded Mason its 2015 Campus-wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishment. In honoring Mason’s program as the best in the nation, the council called Students as Scholars a “national model for other institutions to emulate.”

Opportunities to Support Student Scholarship

Between its impressive impact on students’ lives, and national recognition for its excellence, Students as Scholars is clearly one of the jewels in Mason’s crown. And there is plenty of room to grow. As Dr. Usher says, “One of our goals is that every student has the opportunity to do research here.”

Surprisingly, philanthropic support currently accounts for virtually none of the program’s annual budget. As a result, it must scrape for such essential elements as funding students to travel to and present at the annual National Conference for Undergraduate Research. Examples of how charitable gifts could be used include:

  • A gift of $500 for the travel fund will allow one undergraduate student to share his or her research project at a national conference.

  • A gift of $1,500 supports one student with a research grant during the fall or spring semester.

  • A gift of $5,000 provides one student with a full-time summer stipend, alleviating the need for an extra job and making it possible to work all summer on an intensive research project with a faculty mentor.

If you would like to support a student by making a gift to Students as Scholars, please use our online giving form and designate your gift to “Undergraduate Research Programs.” If you prefer to give by mail, you may send your check to: Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, 4400 University Drive, MS 1A3, Fairfax, VA 22030. We are happy to answer your questions or provide further information; please call the Office of Advancement at 703-993-8850.

Read more and support here:


SWiRL awarded OSCAR grant to operate in the summer Thursday, September 1,2016

SWiRL awarded OSCAR grant to operate in the summer

In Spring 2016, the Social Work integrative Research Lab (SWiRL) was awarded $46,500 by the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR). This funding has enabled us to provide stipends for student participants, and allowed us to operate for the first time during the summer. Our inaugural Summer SWiRL employed one coordinator, two Graduate Research Supervisors (GRS), and four Undergraduate Research Assistants (UGRA). While students continued to develop their research skills by supporting faculty research, Summer SWiRL also provided the opportunity for students to work on the SWiRL Case Study. The SWiRL Case Study is an evaluation of SWiRL. This summer, students interviewed faculty and then transcribed and coded those interviews. In addition, Summer SWiRL featured a weekly brown bag talk, which included skill building workshops (coding), interactive sessions (grad student Q&A), and guest speakers (Professor Valerie Cuffee). As we are learning through the SWiRL Case Study, students experience a variety of benefits from their participation in SWiRL beyond simply developing research skills. As Hannah Carrai said in our last summer lab meeting, “I found community, and I didn’t even know I was looking for it.” SWiRL will continue in the fall with paid, independent study, and volunteer opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students. 

This passage was taken out of the SWiRL Summer 2016 Newsletter. 

Research Assistant Using Grant to Create Diplomatic Simulations Tuesday, December 6,2016

Research Assistant Using Grant to Create Diplomatic Simulations

This project,"Diplomacy in Action: Diplomatic Simulations in the Classroom," is being funded by a $198,000 grant from the State Department's U.S. Diplomacy Center. 

Galarza, a freshman, is a Biology major who has learned that research skills can be learned - and applied - to interdisciplinary subjects. Skills such as collecting background information, communication with diverse groups, and interacting with the complexity of global issues are all things that she can take with her when moving on toward medical research.

Further, Galarza states why OSCAR encourages and promotes Research Assistant positions:

“I get to work with projects that are going to help people,” she said. “It’s not like my old job at the movie theater—it’s actually helping me get where I want to go.”

Read more about this project in Jamie Rogers' article.

Friday, December 2,2016

4VA Funded Students published on AHA Today

Scott Saunders and his group worked on a project titled "Who Died of Consumption? Race and Disease in the United States," which examined how minorities in the US experienced the Consumption "age" that ranged from 1870 to 1910. Their findings were published on the AHA blog on September 12, 2016 and can be found here.

Ian Criman and his group worked on a project that examines the methods developed by the students to understand the experience of disease as well as the advantages of using data analysis to understand social impact. The research was titled "Humanizing Data: Making Sense of Research on Tuberculosis" and can be read here.

To learn more about the 4VA project, please visit the website.


January 02
December 16
December 16
February 01

URSP Proposal Writing Workshop

1:00 PM
Fenwick Library Room 1014A

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