Latest News

Vaccination Trepidation: A URSP Continues Tuesday, January 24,2017

Vaccination Trepidation: A URSP Continues

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 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 Student awarded the Betty Endicott Scholarship Monday, July 10,2017

URSP Student awarded the Betty Endicott Scholarship

In Spring 2017, rising senior Ashley Whimpey worked on her project "Mason ENCORE and Undergrads" through our Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) and has now been awarded the Betty Endicott Scholarship for her work "And a Kitchen Sink" on the Mason Cable Network.

Read the full article by John Hollis here.

URSP and 4-VA student recieves Sigma XI award Friday, January 6,2017

URSP and 4-VA student recieves Sigma XI award

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!

The 48 Uses of Dragon's Blood Tuesday, March 7,2017

The 48 Uses of Dragon's Blood

Both Dr. Bishop and Dr. van Hoek have mentored 14 students between them for our URSP. They are a prime example of real research that is not only being conducted at our institution, but what is also available for our undergraduates to get involved in with real research.

Read the article at The Economist 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. 

Summer Team Projects announced! Wednesday, December 21,2016

Summer Team Projects announced!

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:

"The Enslaved Children of George Mason"

Faculty: Benedict Carton, Associate Professor History and Art History; Wendi Manuel-Scott, Director of African & African American Studies and Associate Professor History and Art History

"PEREC Science and Outreach: Assessment of ecosystem health in the tidal freshwater Potomac environment"

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 and Biochemistry

"FaBULIS Data: Food and Behavior – Using Large Interdisciplinary Sets of Data"

Faculty: Cara Frankenfeld, Assistant Professor of Global and Community Health; Sina Gallo, Assistant Professor of Nutrition & Food Studies; Margaret Slavin, Assistant Professor of Nutrition & Food Studies

"Peter Ritter Chamber Music Performing Edition: Editing an 18th/19th-Century Composer's Music Manuscripts for Contemporary Performance and Open-Access Dissemination"

Faculty: Jesse Guessford, Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Composition; Steven Gerber, Research Librarian (Music, Theater, Philosophy)

"Engineering Dance: Understanding Ballet Performance Using Motion Capture"

Faculty: Wilsaan 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

"Together Alone: Living and Working in Solitary Confinement"

Faculty: Danielle 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

"Insects 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!

Schar Student moves from classroom to research project with URSP Wednesday, December 14,2016

Schar Student moves from classroom to research project with URSP

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 (URSP).

Read more in an article by Jordan Beauregard.

Research Teaches Undergrads to Ask the Right Questions Friday, May 19,2017

Research Teaches Undergrads to Ask the Right Questions

Mason provost David Wu, also speaking at the event, sounded a related theme. "When you do research, you spend most of your time figuring out what the problem is in the first place—what is the right question to ask," Wu said. "It is our ambition to have this style of learning permeate all undergraduate education here at Mason."


Read the article in its entirety here.

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.

OSCAR URSP Student wins Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship Thursday, May 11,2017

OSCAR URSP Student wins Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Iris Stone won the very prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Her two URSP Projects were entitled "Optoelectronic and Magnetotransport Properties of Perylene- TCNQ Charge Transfer Crystals" and "Temperature-dependent Optoelectronic Response of PTZ-TCNQ Charge Transfer Crystals with Five Distinct Stoichiometries". For more information, read here.

OSCAR URSP Student wins 2017 Mason Senior of the Year Friday, May 12,2017

OSCAR URSP Student wins 2017 Mason Senior of the Year

Congratulations to Beverly Harp for winning the 2017 Mason Senior of the Year. She did a URSP project with us entitled "U.S Climate Finance and Rural Electrification in India". For more of the story, read here

OSCAR Fellow Feature Wednesday, March 1,2017

OSCAR Fellow Feature

Webb's research involves studying any link between height and size of the arch and the pressure put on various points of the foot.

Read the article by Martha Bushong here.

Mason Impact Hits the Summer with Eight Summer Team Projects Thursday, May 25,2017

Mason Impact Hits the Summer with Eight Summer Team Projects

From the Provost's office, the goal of Mason Impact is simple:

"The Mason Impact initiative seeks to offer all students the opportunity to participate in curricular and co-curricular activities that support their development as Engaged Citizens and Well-rounded Scholars who are Prepared to Act."

With this in mind, OSCAR has made a commitment to sponsor multi-disciplinary, faculty-led projects over the summer that will engage students on a team. These projects range from History to Environmental Sustainability, and the students will work closely with their faculty who created each project.

To read more about the projects, please visit our Summer Team Projects page.

The URSP, where students submit a proposal for their own research question, inducted 27 new projects for the summer semester. Some are traditional projects that seek to perform a piece of research or a continuation of a larger project. Others have been awarded as intensive projects which require a much greater undertaking of research for the scholars.

Find a list of the funded projects here.

ISOM Grad and URSP Recipient Takes on MLB Wages Tuesday, January 17,2017

ISOM Grad and URSP Recipient Takes on MLB Wages

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.

Dr. Bethany Usher Named as Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Friday, January 13,2017

Dr. Bethany Usher Named as Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

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 issues."

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

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.