The College of Arts and Sciences sponsors a range of research opportunities for undergraduates. Students in all majors are encouraged to participate in collaborative scholarship with faculty mentors.
Smaller universities are often known for placing emphasis on teaching and learning, while larger universities are often distinguished as leaders in research. Drake's commitment to excellence in teaching and first-class research opportunities means you can have the best of both worlds: exciting, interactive classroom experiences and the chance to work closely with professors who excel in their fields of research.
Undergraduate research assistants gain experience developing and implementing research methodology, collecting data in applied settings, analyzing data using a complex computer system, preparing data for professional conferences, and working as part of a research team.
Examples of recent student-faculty research in the college include:
- Psychology students work with Maria Valdovinos, associate professor of psychology, who secured a $388,000 National Institute of Health (NIH) grant to assess problem behaviors in adults with intellectual disabilities, and what impact changes in psychotropic medications have on the outcomes of these assessments. Dr. Valdovinos also engages students in research opportunities at the Behavior Disorders Clinic she created at Blank Children’s Developmental Center, and in a local public elementary school, providing consultation in a behavior disorders classroom.
- Maria Hanson, a senior Rhetoric and Drawing major, conducted research with associate professor of art history Maura Lyons for the exhibition, Draw Your Weapons: Civil War Cartoons from Harper’s Weekly, which opened in November 2013 in the Anderson Gallery. Maria worked during summer 2013 to catalogue cartoons that appeared in Harper’s Weekly magazine during 1861-65, and assembled print and online research resources for use by a Drake curating class that will help create the exhibition in the fall. Maria’s research will continue into next year as she works with the curating class to create a website showcasing cartoons from the exhibition.
- Drake undergraduates worked with David Senchina, associate professor of biology, to conduct research on whether running and basketball exercises on Nintendo Wii were comparable to the actual physical activities.
- Mathematics education students collaborate with Maryann Huey, assistant professor of Mathematics education, to write innovative lesson plans for a national repository of statistics curricular materials sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and American Statistical Association. Dr. Huey also engages collaboratively with students to create and deliver professional development workshops for middle and secondary mathematics teachers specific to the teaching and learning of probability and statistics in alignment with the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
- Abbey Elmer, a senior Environmental Science major, co-authored a research article with Keith Summerville, associate professor of environmental science, which appeared in the Great Lakes Entomologist publication. The study investigated whether grazing cattle reduce the amount of biodiversity in a prairie.(In short, they don’t.)
- In 2012-13, Drake undergraduates Ryan DuToit, a senior Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science major, and Bennett Hansen, a senior Mathematics and Computer Science major, created a language studies application for the iPad. They wrote thousands of lines of code and researched potential functions for the application in the process.