Summer celebration showcases MTSU student, faculty research

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Ashley Corson's research will take her to the American Chemical Society's national conference later this month. It also is the subject of her MTSU Honors College thesis.

Performing a chemistry research project --synthesizing or making rapid compounds in order to kill the organism (three different varieties of fungi) -- with mentor and assistant professor Kevin Bicker for the past 18 months led her to this point.

Corson's highly scientific project was among nearly 50 showcased during the annual MTSU Summer Research Celebration July 31 in the Student Union Ballroom.

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"This definitely pushed me to do my best work, be independent and think on my feet when the professor's not here," said Corson, 21, a senior biochemistry major from Greenbrier, Tennessee.

Nearly 90 students and 40 faculty participated in the summer research through various means, including:

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• URECA or Undergraduate Research Experience and Creative Activity.

• National Science Foundation-sponsored REU or Research Experiences for Undergraduates.

• MSPS or Master of Science in Professional Science, a ground-breaking two-year master's degree in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines, equipping students to work in public and private business enterprises and in the academic world.

• Two sections of professor Laura Dubek's freshman English class, "Research and Argumentative Writing," that featured 30 students.

• The MTSU Honors College and College of Basic and Applied Sciences and departments of recording industry, physics and astronomy, engineering technology/mechatronics engineering, biology, psychology, chemistry and the Women in STEM (WISTEM) Center.

Nontraditional student Charlotte "Cat" Archer, 54, of Murfreesboro, traced four distinct movements -- free speech and student rights, civil rights for blacks, women's rights and gay rights -- in her research.

Archer, a senior majoring in women in gender studies (sexuality track) and minoring in psychology, anticipates graduating in May 2016. Her report, which also will be used as part of her Honors thesis, raises many questions.

"It is my hope we will answer some of these questions by examining a current social movement, which has recently been very successful in achieving some of the strategic goals for which they've been working over the last few decades," she said of the gay rights movement. She also plans an expanded survey.

Dr. Jackie Eller, interim vice provost for research and dean for the College of Graduate Studies, said she was "really impressed with the diversity and quality of the presentations the students are doing" this summer.

For more information about MTSU's research, call the Office of Research at 615-898-5005 or visit http://www.mtsu.edu/research/.

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