Tuesday, January 24,2017
In fall of 2016, Plaster conducted research with Dr. Painter for the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) ultimately called "Oscar Program: The Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of George Mason Students in Relations to Zika Virus." In a survey conducted in April 2016 of 619 undergraduate students at George Mason, "about 52 percent, said they would be likely or very likely to accept a Zika vaccine."
As many college students travel and the population includes those of childbearing age, the level of acceptance to a vaccine is very important.
You can read more in an article by Jamie Rogers here.
Tuesday, November 15,2016
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.
Friday, November 11,2016
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.
Friday, January 6,2017
Berger, working with Dr. Shobita Satyapal and JMU researchers, has presented at James Madison for his research. The project on Supermassive Black Holes - and where to find them - has been written about in publications and has come highly commended. To continue his work, Berger was recently awarded from the very competitive Sigma XI funding.
Dr. Satyapal is very active in supporting students pursue research and Dillon Berger shows how research can be long lasting and interdisciplinary. We are very honored to have both faculty and students be so involved in our programs!
Thursday, September 1,2016
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
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
This passage was taken out of the SWiRL Summer 2016 Newsletter.
Wednesday, December 21,2016
This Fall, OSCAR introduced a new opportunity for summer
research projects based around a central theme, question, or problem. The Summer Team Projects will be run by at
least two faculty members, and include a group of four to ten undergraduate
students. This year, after an overwhelming response to our call for proposals,
we have seven accepted projects. Faculty will recruit undergraduate
participants in the spring and will be expected to use the first week to give
the students an academic orientation to the program. Students will work, with
faculty mentorship, on the project for the remaining weeks of the summer, and
will present their results at the Summer Celebration of Student Scholarship.
We congratulate our faculty who have had their proposals
accepted! Read more about them below:
Enslaved Children of George Mason"
Carton, Associate Professor History and Art History; Wendi Manuel-Scott, Director of African & African American Studies
and Associate Professor History and Art History
Science and Outreach: Assessment of ecosystem health in the tidal freshwater
Faculty: Amy Fowler,
Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Policy; Thomas Huff, Assistant Director of Shared Research Instrumentation
Facility; Kim de Mutsert, Assistant Professor of Environmental
Science and Policy; Christian Jones,
Professor and Director of PEREC, Environmental Science and Policy; Randy McBride, Associate Professor
Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences; Daniel
Sklarew, Associate Director PEREC and Associate Professor Environmental
Science and Policy; Cynthia Smith, Professor
and Education Director PEREC, Environmental Science and Policy; Gregory Foster, Professor of Chemistry
Data: Food and Behavior – Using Large Interdisciplinary Sets of Data"
Frankenfeld, Assistant Professor of Global and Community Health; Sina Gallo, Assistant Professor of
Nutrition & Food Studies; Margaret
Slavin, Assistant Professor of Nutrition & Food Studies
Ritter Chamber Music Performing Edition: Editing an 18th/19th-Century
Composer's Music Manuscripts for Contemporary Performance and Open-Access
Faculty: Jesse Guessford,
Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Composition; Steven Gerber, Research Librarian (Music, Theater, Philosophy)
Dance: Understanding Ballet Performance Using Motion Capture"
Joiner, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering; Elizabeth Price, Associate Professor of School of Dance; Susan Shields, Director of School of
Dance; James Thompson, Associate
Professor of Psychology; Qi Wei,
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Alone: Living and Working in Solitary Confinement"
Rudes, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society; Angela Hattery, Director of Women and
Gender Studies; Shannon Magnuson,
PhD Student in Criminology, Law and Society
and Post-Mortem Decomposition - what are the effects of environmental
parameters on species richness, community composition, and succession patterns
of carrion communities?"
Faculty: Joris van
der Ham, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Department of Environmental Science
and Policy; Kelly Knight,
Professor/STEM Accelerator of Forensic Science Program
Check back in the spring for more information and to apply
for positions in one of these teams!
Thursday, February 9,2017
Bethany Usher would love a window in her office. And if George Mason
University’s new associate provost for undergraduate education moved to
the Merten Hall space waiting for her, she would have one.
Instead, Usher will remain in her windowless digs in the Johnson
Center, straining to see daylight through the top-floor windows visible
through her office doorway.
“There’s always something going on in this building,” Usher said.
“The space is active for students and faculty, and being accessible to
them is really important.”
Usher has spent the past five years engaging with students and
faculty as director of the Students as Scholars initiative in the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR).
The experience and relationships she forged will be invaluable as she
investigates and then tries to construct what she calls “a clear vision
of what we want the undergraduate experience to look like.”
For Usher, that vision is one of total student engagement, not only
with their studies but with experiential learning that enhances the
facts and figures gleaned in the classroom and creates a passion that
perhaps spotlights a life path.
“I do think the undergraduate experience should be transformational,” Usher said. She called it “engaged scholarship.”
Usher found that experience for herself as a biology and anthropology
major at the University of Virginia. Through a grant from the Howard
Hughes Medical Institute, she was an undergraduate biomedical
researcher. She helped excavate and save a Monacan Indian mound in
Orange County, Va., that was eroding from water damage. And she worked
at a bookstore.
“All those things changed my perception of what it means to be an engaged undergraduate,” Usher said.
“She gets it,” George Mason Provost and Executive Vice President S.
David Wu said. “It’s about rethinking higher education in a different
framework. It’s how the students discover their passion and use that to
enhance the quality of our education. She really gets that idea.”
Usher knows this is not a top-down exercise. There will be many
discussions with students, faculty and campus organizations. Most
important is to find out what students want from their educational
experience, what they are not getting and what they want more of.
“I don’t think we’ve asked enough students that question yet,” she said.
There’s no better place to do that than at the Johnson Center.
“I like being here,” Usher said, “even if I don’t get a window.”Article
Wednesday, December 14,2016
Rowan, a student of the Schar School and specifically Dr.
Jennifer Sklarew, chose to look at Bangladesh for her assignment on studying
energy portfolios. What evolved was further, deeper questions about how the
global community interacts with Bangladesh. Rowan and Dr. Sklarew applied for,
and were granted, an award from our Undergraduate Research Scholars Program
Read more in an article by Jordan Beauregard.
Tuesday, December 6,2016
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.
Tuesday, January 10,2017
current Mason community members who have served as mentors of
undergraduate student scholars are eligible. All full-time
undergraduates regardless of rank and/or major are eligible. You can nominate your choice for excellence winners in one or both categories: http://oscar.gmu.edu/awards.cfm. Nominations are due March 1.
Tuesday, January 17,2017
In an article by Jennifer Anzaldi, Wheeler discusses how he uses performance data and other factors such as age, team, and year to produce a salary recommendation. He is quoted in the article as saying that in regards to a real-world application, this type of projection based on data can benefit the team and the players both: “Teams can see players who are over-performing for their salary and poach them. They can look to see which players are likely to be traded. A player may be underperforming for his salary but on a new team, based on certain conditions, he can perform better and the new team can grab him for an appropriate price."
Wheeler is currently a grad student in Data Analytics Engineering.
You can read Anzaldi's article in its entirety here.
Friday, January 13,2017
For the past five years, Dr. Usher has worked as Director of
OSCAR, and has gained the confidence of the faculty and the students we serve. Below you can read more from the email sent by
the Provost's office to the wider community:
"Dr. Usher will work in partnership with students, faculty,
staff, academic deans and senior university leaders to develop, direct and
evaluate undergraduate academic initiatives and policies. Taking ideas to
action will be a critical part of this role, and she will collaborate across
Mason to lead strategic university initiatives and respond to evolving academic
Her decision is based on her focus to be forward facing,
student oriented, and service minded.
We here in OSCAR are proud of Dr. Usher's accomplishments
and are excited to be working with her to continue Mason's campus wide
promise of innovative learning.
Friday, December 2,2016
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.