Research on FYRE

First Year Research Experience

Take your passion beyond the classroom

Offered by the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business (CASB), the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) is an opportunity for first year and transfer students to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor on a specific research project.

FYRE students can ask questions, check data and create knowledge. The program helps students improve critical thinking, communication, presentation and leadership skills while fully engaging in their education.

apply to take part in FYRE

Applications are due Friday Nov. 2, 2018. FYRE is only available to students who are majoring in an academic program within the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business.

Learn how to apply

First Year Research Experience showcase their research on posters in the Havener Center atrium.

Students are taking a look their research on posters at the First Year Research Experience(FYRE) showcase in the Havener Center.

Students and audiences are talking in the First Year Research Experience showcase about their research on posters in the Havener Center.

A students is explaining her The First Year Research Experience(FYRE) research in the Havener Center.

FYRE project options

You do not have to major in the discipline that matches the FYRE project. In fact, many extraordinarily successful partnerships have resulted from FYRE students and mentors from different disciplines. Students may apply for up to three projects.

Over 30 research projects are available for the 2018-19 cycle. Please take some time to study them and talk to the professors involved to learn more about a project.

The FYRE program emphasizes one-on-one mentorship, so only one FYRE student will be selected to work on each project.

Arts, Languages, and Philosophy

Faculty Name: Dr. Max Tohline
Department: Arts, Languages, and Philosophy
Office Location: 223 Castleman Hall
Title of Research Project: Can shifts in IMDb movie rankings trace or predict shifts in social attitudes more broadly?


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Recently, I was looking through the history of the Top 250 movie rankings on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and noticed something surprising: in the 11 years between 2004 and 2015, Forrest Gump leapt from 117th place all the way up to 13th. No other movies in IMDb's top 25 rose (or fell) so meteorically. I wondered: what is it about Forrest Gump that’s different? And have any other films experienced such dramatic re-evaluation? In this project, I propose to broaden the search to include the entirety of IMDb's top 250, using snapshots from Archive.org's Wayback Machine on which to perform a variety of data analysis, historical analysis, and film-theoretical analysis. I'd like to collaborate with a student who's interested in looking for statistical trends in the relative popularity of films over time as a way of, perhaps, cracking open trends in sociopolitical opinion or beliefs more broadly. While other research projects in statistics and the social sciences have used IMDb datasets before, none that I can find have looked at shifts in user ratings over time as a means of taking the ideological temperature of a culture. So there's some exciting new work to be done here.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

In the first week, we'll comb archive.org's Wayback Machine for one snapshot of the IMDb Top 250 per year from 2004 to 2018. In the next six or seven weeks, we'll collaborate on inputting this info into a database of some kind (Excel or whatever the student feels comfortable with), charting and graphing the data, devising useful methods of statistical analysis to identify both trends and outliers, and selecting intriguing patterns for further historical contextualization. Based on what we discover, the second half of the semester could involve following up leads with additional data or analysis, but we’ll probably consider how best to situate the patterns we identify into film theory. This will involve considering the applicability/transferability of Kracauer's study of Weimar cinema From Caligari to Hitler (an important forerunner of this project), researching the work of other scholars who have tracked relevant cultural shifts over time by other means, and hopefully then start outlining/drafting a paper together.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Data analysis and graphing, identifying trends and outliers, working with a little bit of film theory and history, and most importantly, exploring how to put numbers in the context of history and critical theory to arrive at a synthetic approach to analyzing cultural shifts over time. It’s an interdisciplinary project for someone who likes to tackle problems with an interdisciplinary mindset.

Faculty Name: M. Emilia Barbosa
Department: Arts, Languages, and Philosophy
Office Location: 226 Castleman Hall
Title of Research Project:
 Gender, Violence, and Representation in Contemporary Peru


Description of Research Project:

Through systematic contact with real life materials such as ethnographic interviews and interviews with performers, social activists, and producers, complemented with contextual readings and documentary watching, the student will gain an insightful appreciation of the current state of gender issues in Peruvian society as portrayed by the arts and culture. Collaboration will be expected towards the transcription of interviews conducted in Peru in 2017 from a variety of social agents, as well as the translation into English of some of those interviews, but not all. Prior knowledge of the Spanish language at least at the intermediate level is necessary for the understanding of the interview materials, readings, and documentaries. Some of the gender issues explored include, but are not limited to, LGBTQIAPK identity, violence against women in the postwar period, domestic violence, women’s empowerment and self-esteem workshops, collaborative women’s performance and theatre, indigenous and women’s voices in spoken art festivals, and alternative positions in the current Peruvian gastronomic scene.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline:

At the end of this research collaboration, the student will present either a poster or a 15-minute presentation at the 15th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (UGRC) to take place at the Havener Center on April 16, 2019. Later in the semester, the student will participate in the FYRE Research Showcase in early May. Work will begin on the first week of the spring semester with the discussion of some contextual readings, which will be followed by working supervised by me on a weekly basis. Weekly, we will cover specific assignments regarding the direct transcription and translation of my interview materials. Tentatively, I will do all revisions over the weekend and then the student will be making revisions and corrections based on my suggestions over the school week. In case I am away travelling to conferences, we will be meeting electronically using a web-based platform for that effect.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The successfully completion of this research experience will allow the student to improve his Spanish language proficiency, significantly expand on his research skills and knowledge of a specific Latin American national society, and acquire solid methodological practices and approaches that will hopefully inspire him/her throughout his/her academic career.

Faculty Name: Dr. David Samson
Department: ALP
Office Location: 131 Castleman Hall
Title of Research Project: Music History App Data Collection & Biographical Sketches


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

A student with an interest in History and/or Music would be greatly appreciated. This project will be in support of another project Dr. Samson is currently engaged in with a student from the Computer Science department (who was awarded an OURE grant for this year). We are developing a music history app which will allow users to search for “milestone anniversaries” of major composers’ birth and death years for the purposes of research and repertoire planning. If the app development moves forward at the rate we hope, more data will be added, including…

  1. the addition of a wider scope of composers
  2. adding a second database to include the publication and/or premiere dates of historically significant music compositions
  3. composer pages which will provide brief biographical sketches of the composers in the database

While work has already begun on developing the app, assistance is needed in gathering data and building the databases that that will used in the app. If app development and database construction progresses at a faster rate, help will also be needed in writing the biographical sketches that will also be added to the app.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student will responsible for finding multiple reliable sources in order to pull data regarding composer birth and death dates (this can become tricky, especially with composers of the 17th century and earlier as birth dates may differ from one source to another) then help build the database with Dr. Samson. Similar data collection involving the publication and/or premiere dates of specific compositions may also be involved as well as writing brief biographies of the composers listed in the database. In the early part of the spring semester, the student (with guidance from Dr. Samson) will familiarize him/herself with the various music history sources available. By the beginning of February, the student should be able to start compiling composer birth/death dates and putting that data in the database. Depending on the rate of data collection, by late March or early April, the student will either begin collecting data on the second database dealing with specific compositions, or they will help write the biographical sketches.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Through work on this project, the student will… -develop skills in locating reliable sources of historical information. -enhance their ability to determine the accuracy of sources especially when contradictory information is found. -be able to pull from those sources the information necessary for the success of the overall project. -learn about important musical composers and compositions of historical importance. -develop writing skills that will enable them to sum up the lives of important historical figures in a few brief sentences.

Faculty Name: Jeanne Stanley
Department: Arts, Languages, & Philosophy
Office Location: 127 Castleman Hall
Title of Research Project: Research, Editing, and Publishing a Play


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

"The S.TE.M. Monologues, which was performed in 2016 is ready to be given a revision, proper edit, and submission to the appropriate publishers. This will include interviewing and data collection, discussion of results with the professor, and editing skills in the unique world of play scripts.


Brief description of FYRE student's responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes:

The student will collect data from the 2016 cast about their experiences with the flow and words of the play "The S.T.E.M. Monologues". The student will compile the data, so the faculty member can revise as necessary. The student will research the proper way to edit a play script, then edit for publishing The student will research at least five viable publishers & help with submission


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Technical editing skills Interview and data collection/compilation Revision with the faculty member Research of the particular editing styles for play scripts & of the publishers who accept play scripts.

Biological Sciences

Faculty Name: Matthew Thimgan
Department: Biological Sciences
Office Location: G-13 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Identification of histaminergic neurons in Drosophila


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The project will be to use imaging techniques to identify histaminergic neurons in the brain of Drosophila. These neurons are involved in increasing wakefulness, though it is unclear how they impact wakefulness and if they are manipulated or the impact on behavior and cognitive performance if they are overactive. They may be on reason that millions of people suffer from insomnia. This research project will help establish how the sleep and wakefulness interact to regulate both our waking activities as well as the restorative aspects of sleep.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The participating student will perform genetic crosses with flies to express green fluorescent protein specifically in histaminergic neurons using increasing enhancer fragments. The student will define if there are differences in expression between these fragments to isolate expression in particular neurons. Using these drivers, we can express RNA interference fragments in these neurons to alter sleep and wakefulness. We can then test the consequences of the decreased sleep.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The primary technique that students will learn is immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy to identify neurons, the dendritic fields and axonal projects, as well as off target expression. Moreover, students participating in this project will learn how to set up genetic crosses, design experiments with appropriate controls, and analyze data.

Faculty Name: Katie Shannon
Department: Biological Sciences
Office Location: M-1 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Investigating the regulation of a protein kinase in cytokinesis


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Cytokinesis is the physical process of cell division, which divides the cytoplasm between two cells. One important pathway that regulates cytokinesis is called the Mitotic Exit Network or MEN for short. The MEN is a signaling pathway that allows a dividing cell to complete cytokinesis and exit mitosis. To study cytokinetic defects, budding yeast is used a model organism. Of interest is the regulation of Dbf2, a MEN protein kinase, by phosphorylation. Mutant alleles of the dbf2 gene that prevent phosphorylation or dephosphorylation have been created. In this research project, the student will learn how to introduce the mutant dbf2 alleles into yeast cells. The student will observe the cells during mitosis through use of fluorescence microscopy to determine the effects of the mutations on cytokinesis. The student will also examine the effects of the Dbf2 mutations on the interaction of the kinase with other proteins. This research has implications for human health, because Dbf2 is a member of the Ndr kinase family, and human homologs of Dbf2 have been implicated in cancer.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The FYRE student is expected to spend 9-12 hours per week in the lab. Dr. Shannon will provide training in experimental techniques, no previous experience is necessary. Student’s responsibilities include tasks such as making media and solutions required for experiments. The student will be expected to read background papers, attend lab meetings, and present at the Undergraduate Research Conference in addition to performing experiments. Expected outcomes include generation of new yeast strains and analysis of cytokinesis phenotypes in the first two months of the project. Microscopy will begin mid semester, and immunoprecipitation experiments to examine protein-protein interactions will be undertaken if time allows.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The FYRE student will learn molecular biology techniques such as plasmid purification, yeast transformation, and PCR. Student will gain microscopy experience, which may include examination of both fixed and live cells, and may involve training on the new confocal microscope located in Schrenk Hall. Student will be mentored and will have an authentic basic science research experience.

Business and Information Technology

Faculty Name: LiLi Eng
Department: Business and Information Technology
Office Location: 107D Fulton Hall
Title of Research Project: Financial Statement Analysis


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The project would involve doing a literature review of academic papers on financial statement analysis. The student will then download sample financial reports from company websites. The student will extract some accounting and financial data from the reports. The data will be entered into a spreadsheet. The student will then conduct an analysis of the data using a statistical program. Finally, the student will write a report on the research and findings.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):
  • Weeks 1-2: library research of academic papers
  • Weeks 3-4: literature review of papers
  • Weeks 5-8: downloading financial reports
  • Weeks 9-12: entering data, analysis
  • Weeks 13-16: writing final report

What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The student will learn how to conduct library search of academic papers, read academic papers, summarize relevant literature, read financial statements, do statistical analysis, and write an academic report.

Faculty Name: Dr. Nathan W. Twyman
Department: Business and Information Technology
Office Location: 111 Fulton Hall
Title of Research Project: Gamification in the Waiting Room


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

This project seeks to leverage medical facility waiting room time to encourage positive health-related outcomes, such as greater ownership of personal health, health care understanding and satisfaction, or specific outcomes such as increased likelihood of obtaining a vaccine. We are seeking to identify the best methods of using “gamified” mobile and similar apps to effect these outcomes. Initial studies have investigated emergency room, women’s center, and dermatology settings.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The FYRE student is responsible for collecting data at a medical facility. This would involve 1) coordinating with medical facility staff, 2) distributing and collecting mobile devices to waiting patients and answering questions, 3) collating data for analysis. Typical research and writing tasks are also possible depending on the FYRE student’s interest.

  • Month 1: Coordinate with medical facility staff to establish schedule and protocol
  • Months 2-4: Collect and collate data at the medical facility

The expected outcome is 3 months of data collected, preferably at least 2-5 hours per week.If more than one FYRE student can participate, each student can separately provide up to 2-5 hours per week of data collection, up to a maximum of 3 students. Especially because of the requirement to collaborate with external organizations, self-discipline and professionalism are critical skills the FYRE student must employ. The student(s) must find transportation to and from any local Rolla medical office (the exact office has not yet been finalized).


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Experience collaborating with medical facility personnel, an understanding of certain health care challenges and opportunities, familiarity with HIPAA and IRB human subjects requirements, and the ability to collect experimental data from human subjects in a controlled manner.

Chemistry

Faculty Name: Garry S. Grubbs II
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 205 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Actinides, Ions, and f-Electrons: Understanding Chemical Bonding when Chemical Models Break Down


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Our physical understanding of chemistry deals with valence electrons-the electrons in the outermost orbitals. It is these electrons that typically participate in bonding and, therefore, chemistry. However, in the lanthanide and actinide series, the differences between electronic structures exist in f-orbital electrons, which are inner orbitals. We know, however, that the chemistry of actinides and lanthanides in the series ARE different, incongruent with our thinking of valence electron chemistry.

In this project, we will investigate the nature of the chemical bond by looking at the rotational spectra of laser ablated thorium and uranium metal in the presence of chlorine gas, hydrogen gas, oxygen gas, nitrogen gas, and carbonyl sulfide in order to study the types of bonds these systems make. We will construct a discharge/laser ablation source in one to study the ions made by these species as well which will give us a better understanding of the chemical pathways each may take in a reaction vessel like a nuclear reactor.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student will work with a graduate student to design, construct, and implement a laser ablation/discharge dual source. This source will be implemented in order to create ionic species of metal-containing and non-metal-containing species. The student will, under the supervision of a graduate student and the PI, make these species in situ and investigate the resultant rotational spectra. This is the first experiments of their kind and will result in the publication if successful. The student will be asked to learn how to assign resultant spectra and run the instrument.

  • January- Design Discharge/Laser Ablation Source using CAD program
  • February- Have Discharge/Laser Ablation Source Fabricated
  • Start Work on Neutral Actinides
  • March-Have Data on Neutral Actinides
  • Start Assembling Discharge/Laser Ablation Source
  • April-Assign Neutrals
  • Experiments on Ions
  • Start on Poster
  • May-Present Results at FYRE Wrap-Up

What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  • Understanding of the Chemical Bond/Fundamental Chemistry
  • Computer Animated Design
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Microwave Engineering and Circuit Design
  • Programming
  • Physics
  • Vacuum Technology

Faculty Name: Nuran Ercal
Department: Chemistry
Office Locations: 230 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Antioxidant properties of thiol drug-nanodiamond complexes


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Highly reactive molecules such as free radicals can damage biological molecules like proteins, lipids, and DNA. This process, known as oxidation, is normally kept in check by our body’s supply of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds or enzymes that participate in reactions with these potentially damaging molecules and prevent them from attacking important cellular components. One of the body’s most important antioxidants is known as glutathione ( GSH). Oxidative stress occurs when endogenous antioxidants are unable to counteract this process, and it is an important component of numerous diseases including traumatic brain injury and cataracts. In many cases, administering antioxidant drugs can be beneficial, especially those that can mimic the action of GSH or increase its levels. N-acetylcysteine, which is used to treat Tylenol toxicity, and tiopronin, which is used for rheumatoid arthritis and cystinuria, are some examples. However, ensuring that they reach their site of action is an important obstacle to developing effective treatments. Ideal candidates for drug delivery vehicles are nontoxic and do not reduce the efficacy of the drug. This project will focus on investigating the antioxidant capabilities of tiopronin and its major metabolite thiolactic acid when used in conjunction with nanodiamonds, a novel drug delivery platform.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student will be expected to perform multiple experiments to measure the ability of tiopronin and thiolactic acid to participate in reactions that are representative of those that protect biomolecules in living systems. Then, the student will perform these experiments with nanodiamond-drug formulations. A battery of assays for this purpose have already been developed, and the student will be responsible for performing them, as well as analyzing and interpreting the results, under the guidance of Dr. Ercal and senior research group members. This work will provide key information for a larger project, which is to develop an antioxidant treatment for cataracts. By February, it is expected that basic experimental protocols will be established and student is able to operate instrumentation largely independently (with supervision). By April, assays for tiopronin and thiolactic acid should be completed, and testing of nanodiamond-tiopronin formulations will be finished by the end of the semester.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  • The student will 
  • Develop the ability to design, plan, and execute scientific experiments
  • Interpret and report data to other group members
  • Communicate results to other researchers in the broader scientific community
  • Gain a basic understanding of redox chemistry in biological systems
  • Learn to survey the literature to build knowledge and to aid experimental design
  • Develop important laboratory skills, such as solution preparation, pipetting, sample preparation, and analysis
  • Understand principles of analytical techniques used in biochemical research (especially UV-Vis spectrophotometry and high-performance liquid chromatography)

 

Faculty Name: Dr. Klaus Woelk
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 145 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Calibration Experiments in support of high-resolution NMR Relaxometry


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

In standard high-resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, the excitation of nuclear spins is used to gain structural information about molecules and materials. Parameters such as nuclear chemical shift and internuclear J-coupling are typically extracted from the recorded NMR spectra. Less known is that the time it takes for nuclear magnetization to return from excitation to thermodynamic equilibrium (called: relaxation time) also reveals key information such as the electronic environment and mobility of substances. For example, relaxation of nuclear magnetization has been used to determine the porosity of spongy materials such as zeolites or oil and gas shale. Yet current mathematical procedures and software packages fail to produce high-resolution results when more than one relaxation pathway is present in a researched sample.
This project involves creating, testing, and analyzing solutions with single-value relaxation times to support the verification of a new computation concept that promises to resolve multiple relaxation times in a sample leading to true high-resolution NMR relaxometry. Combining capillaries filled with solutions of single-value relaxations will provide sample with multiple known relaxation times. These samples will be used for NMR experiments to test the robustness of the new computation concept and potentially determine its limitations.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

In collaboration with a PhD students, the student will be responsible for creating standard solutions by dissolving different amounts of paramagnetic relaxation agents such as copper(II) sulfate or manganese(II) chloride in water. Depending on the concentration of the relaxation agent the samples will have different, yet single-path NMR relaxation times. They will be tested with standard NMR relaxometry experiment that follow pre-installed protocols on the 200 MHz NMR spectrometer in Dr. Woelk’s lab and the departmental 400 MHz NMR spectrometer. The student will extract relaxation data from the recorded NMR spectra and conduct computer analyses to reveal the relaxation times of the samples. After generating and calibrating sample solutions with different, yet single relaxation times, portions of the solutions will be transferred into small capillaries, and the capillaries permanently sealed with an optical-fiber fusion splicer. Several sealed capillaries will be combined in a single NMR tube to generate samples of multiple relaxation times but without interference of the individual solutions with each other. The multiple-solution samples will be investigated with the same relaxometry experiments and analyzed with our new computation procedure. The student is expected to participate in, and regularly present results at, our weekly research group meetings.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The FYRE student will learn essential laboratory skills to prepare highly accurate aqueous solutions and will be trained in operating sensitive state-of-the-art NMR instrumentation. In addition, the student will extract data from NMR spectra and conduct targeted analyses and computations with commercial software such as Excel and SigmaPlot. The student will learn to work in a research team which includes providing regular reports to the research group and preparing poster and oral presentations for undergraduate research showcases and regional scientific conferences.
This project supports a very recent discovery and development, and has the potential to revolutionize the way NMR relaxation is viewed in the scientific community. There are already several applications and requests for collaborations, which can easily be used for follow-up projects (from OURE to Masters and PhD theses).

Faculty Name: Thomas P. Schuman
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 335 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Control of alkali-silica reactions (ASR) and interface development in cementitious composites


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Surface modifications will be devised and applied to aggregate materials to control surface reaction and interfacial strength development between the aggregate and the cement continuous phase. The project involves synthesis of polymer materials and coatings on aggregates that will prevent ASR and also provide enhanced interfacial bond strengths in cement composites to enhance mechanical strength.


Brief description of FYRE student's responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes:

Synthesize polymers and polymer coatings on cement aggregates. Measure ASR reaction rates as a function of pH and specific surface area of aggregate. Synthesize and measure concrete properties: compressive and flexural strengths, interfacial analysis, porosity, chemical resistance


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Polymer materials chemistry, cement materials, polymer solubility, surface modification (as compared to bulk chemical reactions), bulk chemical reaction (polymer syntheses and characterization), spectroscopy, calorimetry, mechanical characterization, time management, interdisciplinary (group) research interaction

Faculty Name: Amitava Choudhury
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 330 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Developing electrode materials for Li- and Na-ion Batteries


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

In this project we aim to synthesize new materials or modify a well-known electrode materials for enhanced efficiency for lithium and sodium ion batteries. Several synthesis routes including hydrothermal and high temperature ceramic methods are employed to synthesize new materials. The materials are then characterized by employing X-ray diffraction techniques. Lithium or sodium ion coin cells are then fabricated with the synthesized materials and then tested for their performances. The goal of this project is to understand what structural features of the materials make it a good lithium or sodium ion battery electrode and how we can improve the performance by modifying the chemistry/structure of the materials.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The FYRE student will be trained by a graduate student of Dr. Choudhury on how to carry out a synthesis of material. After that the student will be given a problem where he/she would try to synthesize a target compound by employing different synthesis routes. As the student makes progress in the project, the different characterization techniques will be introduced slowly as and when it is needed. The students can come at any time in the laboratory as permitted by their course work schedule. In one semester nothing much can be expected but the students can at least learn how scientific research is carried out in a laboratory and with some luck they may get some interesting results. If the students are interested in continuing the research beyond the FYRE period, they have the option to apply for OURE fellowship.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  • The students learn different materials synthesis techniques
  • They get training on how to handle and interpret X-ray diffraction data
  • They learn how to fabricate a lithium- or sodium ion cells/batteries
  • They learn electrochemistry and how lithium/sodium ion batteries work
  • They learn about solid state/materials chemistry being involved in this research
  • They develop skills to analyze and present scientific data

Faculty Name: Manashi Nath
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 331 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Developing Ultrasensitive Non-enzymatic Glucose Sensors for Controlling Diabetes


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Diabetes has long been recognized as one of the leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide second only to cancer and heart-related ailments. Diabetes is a silent killer and early stage diagnosis and controlling blood glucose level is the key to maintain and control the disease. Blood glucose levels are typically monitored with the help of glucose detection through electrochemical oxidation of glucose to gluconic acid or gluconolactone. Typically, in conventional glucose detectors, enzyme-based electrochemical sensors are used which suffers from several critical challenges including reduced efficiency and sensitivity, reduced shelf lives, lack of long-term stability (due to enzyme denaturation), high fabrication cost (due to complex enzyme purification steps), and high detection limit (due to less efficient indirect electron transfer). This project deals with designing more efficient nanostructured electrocatalysts for glucose oxidation comprising transition metal chalcogenides (selenides and tellurides) which can offer direct electron transfer pathways over a wide potential range leading to much higher sensor efficiency. Nanostructuring of the electrocatalysts on the other hand, can increase the catalytic efficiency manifold by increasing the functional surface area for catalytic activity. We propose to develop this idea further and investigate the transition metal selenide nanotube and nanorod arrays for electrochemical glucose sensing.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

While working in this project, undergraduate researchers will be involved in designing catalyst composition through combinatorial electrodeposition, as well as designing patterns for E-beam lithography. The combinatorial electrodeposition has been designed specifically with undergraduate researchers in mind, and involves preparation of the electrolytic bath by systematic variation of the relative precursor concentration followed by electrodeposition. Electrodeposition is a simple synthesis method to grow films and the student will be required to follow a general protocol for electrodeposition. This method produces a library of product composition and the FYRE student will be expected to build this library by choosing different transition elements from the periodic table. The student is also expected to study the catalytic activity of these electrodeposited films through detailed electrochemical measurements, and confirm their composition and morphology through bulk characterization techniques such as SEM, TEM, and powder X-ray diffraction. Once the catalyst has been deposited and characterized, the students will carry out the glucose detection tests from various samples including chemical solution with added glucose, varieties of beverages including fruit juice, soda etc., and blood samples that will be acquired from PCRMC. Other job responsibilities include designing pattern files for E-beam lithography using a lithography-based software installed in MRC.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  • Proficiency in nanostructure synthesis.
  • Learn about E-beam lithography and how to design diverse patterns. Missouri S&T has recently acquired a state-of-the=art E-beam lithography system (through NSF-MRI), Raith E-line, which will be used extensively for this project. Since this is a high-end instrument, the undergraduate researcher will work closely with a trained graduate student, and will gain first-hand experience in creating the design file for the pattern.
  • Learn about the basics of electrochemistry including electrodeposition, electrochemical measurement and experiments, and how to interpret electrochemical data, starting from basic such as current-voltage profile, to advanced concepts like capacitance, Faradaic efficiency, and electrochemically active surface area. 
  • Learn about material characterization through electron microscopy including SEM and TEM, as well as compositional analysis from other techniques such as powder X-ray diffraction, EDS, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The student will learn the basics of data interpretation for each of these techniques. 
  • Since, this project is part of a bigger NSF-funded project, the student will also acquire skills related to collaborative teamwork.
  • Acquire skills related to oral scientific presentation of the research work.

Faculty Name: Rainer Glaser
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 104B Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Kinetics and Mechanism of Oscillating Chemical Reactions


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The classical Belousov−Zhabotinsky (BZ) oscillating reaction refers to the oscillatory ceriumcatalyzed bromate oxidation of citric acid. In the overwhelming number of chemical reactions, reagent concentrations decrease steadily, product concentrations steadily increase, and in some cases, one or more intermediates may form and later disappear. In oscillating reactions, however, some species concentrations oscillate periodically (with thousands of oscillations) as the reaction progresses. How can that possibly happen?

Since the original discovery of the BZ reaction many similar oscillating chemical reactions have been discovered that use dicarboxylic acids (malonic acid, malic acid) as the organic substrate and are catalyzed by other metals such as Fe, Ru, Mn, and Cu, or by combinations of catalysts such as Fe/Ce. The study of this set of reactions is at the core of the field of “Nonlinear Dynamics”, a modern, exciting, and growing field in reaction kinetics.

It is our goal to understand these reactions so well that we can simulate their kinetics without any simplifying assumptions and considering consumption of substrates and the formation of a myriad of products. To meet this challenge, we combine experimental studies of the reaction kinetics, mechanistic studies to explore plausible reaction mechanisms, and computational simulations of the complete multi-equilibria systems.



Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

Students interested in working with us are expected to bring interest, enthusiasm, curiosity and dedication to the project. No specialized prior knowledge is required. Students will be mentored, instructed, and guided by Dr. Glaser and his advanced graduate students. We will teach the students the skills they need to progress with their projects. It is expected that several undergraduate students will work in the area of nonlinear dynamics. Studies of oscillating reactions involve several stages: (1) setting up and running oscillating reactions, (2a) direct recording of the reaction kinetics using UV/Vis spectroscopy and/or (2b) video-recording of the reaction and subsequent mathematical image analysis to determine the reaction kinetics, (3) oscillation pattern analysis of the reactions as a function of reaction time using mathematical methods, (4) formulation of the chemical equations that will be described by mass action kinetics, and (5) mathematical simulations of the reaction kinetics by numerical solution of the kinetics differential equations. Students may be involved in all or some of these components. More chemically oriented students may focus on (1) and (2a) and (4), for example. Mathematically skilled students might prefer to work on Mathematica notebooks for image and/or pattern analysis and simulations in (2b), (3) and (5).


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The Glaser group has been working on BZ reactions for a few years and we published papers on several aspects. We will build on this foundation. Student working on this project will learn laboratory skills for chemical experimentation and instrumental analysis (UV/Vis spectroscopy), gain knowledge about the formulation and exploration of complicated multi-reaction systems, conceive of new reaction paths and explore their viability with modern theoretical methods of electronic structure theory (structural studies, thermochemistry, reaction rate constants), learn mathematical methods for image analysis and oscillation pattern analysis, and apply and develop mathematical fitting algorithms to determine and/or improve reaction rate constants of elemental reactions. Importantly, students will learn about the process of research and best practices in collaborative group work, and students will have various opportunities to disseminate their results at conferences and by way of publication in scientific journals.

Faculty Name: Jay A. Switzer
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 227 Straumanis-James Hall
Title of Research Project: Spin-Coating Epitaxial Films


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Spin coating is typically used in the semiconductor industry to deposit photoresists for lithography. These photoresists are amorphous polymers. We are using spin coating to produce epitaxial films of semiconductors and other electronic materials. Epitaxy is the growth of a crystalline material on a single-crystal substrate, in which the out-of-plane and in-plane orientation of the film is determined by the substrate. Because they lack grain boundaries, these materials have superior properties.


Brief description of FYRE student's responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes:

Spin coating films of materials such as CsPbBr3 and ZnO onto an array of semiconductor substrates. Characterizing these films by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and electrical measurements. The student will work with a graduate student on the project. Work can be completed in a semester, but summer work would also be possible.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  • X-ray diffraction
  • Electrochemistry
  • General lab skills

 

Faculty Name: Vadym Mochalin
Department: Chemistry
Office Location: 232 Schrenk Hall
Title of Research Project: Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Two-Dimensional Materials (MXenes)


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

MXenes represent a relatively new and quickly growing family of two-dimensional (2D) early transition metal carbides and nitrides, which were first synthesized in 2011 from bulk layered crystalline Mn+1AXn (n = 1, 2, 3) phases, where A represents group IIIA or IVA elements and X could be C, N or both. By etching of the A element, 2D transition metal carbides/nitrides (MXenes) with a general formula Mn+1XnTx (n = 1, 2, 3) are obtained, where T stands for the surface terminations -OH, -F, and -O- that render MXenes hydrophilic (x is their fractions). The combination of hydrophilicity with high electrical conductivity provided by MXenes is unique among 2D materials, having earned them a nickname “conductive clays”. Similar to their bulk counterparts (transition metal carbides), MXenes offer high monolayer elastic properties and bending rigidity, making them potential nanofillers for reinforced composites, etc. Because of their 2D structure and many extraordinary physical properties, MXenes have raised a significant interest for various applications, such as optoelectronic devices, triboelectric nanogenerators, supercapacitors, lithium ion batteries, sensors, etc.

In this project we will seek new ways to produce novel MXenes and characterize them for different applications.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student will be responsible for systematic studies of reactions of MAX phases with different etchants. We will start with the most common MAX phase Ti3AlC2. It will be first grinded and sieved to produce Ti3AlC2 fractions of different size (2 weeks). Each fraction will then be involved in reactions with different bases including NaOH (2 weeks), KOH (2 weeks), NH4OH (2 weeks), LiOH (2 weeks) etc. In these experiments we will vary the etchant concentrations, temperature, and time of treatment to find the conditions in which the corresponding MXene (Ti3C2) is formed. All solid products of these reactions will be characterized using X-Ray diffraction (1 month in total). The student will present her current progress at our weekly group meetings where the results will be discussed and next experiments planned based on the outcomes. In the end, based on the material from her weekly group presentations the student will write a final report, which then will be used to prepare a publication and a conference presentation (e.g. for MRS meeting). The student is expected to significantly contribute to the publication and presentation.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Work with one of the leading groups in the world on novel 2D transition metal carbides will provide an invaluable experience for the FYRE student. The student will be exposed to first class research project at the very frontiers of 2D materials research. The student will be working directly with one of my post-doctoral researchers involved with MXene research. While working on the experimental program of the project, the FYRE student will learn techniques to produce novel 2D materials – MXenes. The student will also learn how to synthesize MAX phases, disperse MXenes in colloidal solutions and analyze their structure by X-Ray diffraction. Besides these specific skills, the FYRE student will get firsthand experience working in wet chemistry lab that will significantly improve her general experimental skills regardless of her future career path. Active participation in discussions, presenting at our weekly group meetings, writing reports and parts of publications, as well as conference presentations will significantly improve writing and presentation skills of the FYRE student.

Economics

Faculty Name: Yishu Zhou
Department: Economics
Office Location: G-9 Harris Hall
Title of Research Project: Carbon Pricing in U.S. Electricity Wholesale Markets


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The U.S. Electric power sector accounted for 1,744 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2017, or about 34% of the total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions. In theory, market-based carbon pricing programs provide right incentives and can achieve the target abatement level in the least cost fashion. However, in practice, the effectiveness of such programs has been long criticized due to its low allowance prices and limited price variations. For example, the price for one ton of CO2 under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is consistently below $10, while the valuation of environmental cost is around $50. Moreover, without such a regulation at the federal level, power plants regulated by regional programs may choose to import electricity from power plants located in unregulated areas, which potentially causes an emission leakage. Electricity retail price may also be pushed up due to carbon policy. This research aims to investigate these effects and evaluate the overall performance and consequences of carbon pricing.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

Responsibilities:

1) The student is expected to first complete reading and study of necessary Economic theories, market reports from electricity markets, academic literature, in order to obtain background knowledge related to the topic (2-3 weeks).
2) Then the student will need to get familiar with the datasets and software, conduct data collection with software (7-8 weeks), and utilize data to compute estimations, graphs which lead to some meaningful results (4-5 weeks).
The workload is about 5 hours per week. The primary data sources include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Information Administration and websites of electricity markets. The software programs will be Microsoft Excel and STATA, no prior experience required.

Expected Outcomes:

With the statistical analysis on data collected, the student is expected to write a section of a longer research paper. This section should include background introduction along with some descriptive statistics, motivation and focal points, major findings/results supported by empirical evidence. This section does not have to be comprehensive, but should have the potential to develop into a larger research project.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  1. Enhanced knowledge of Economics theories and their applications. 
  2. In depth understandings of the structure of electricity markets and environmental regulations in the U.S., which can be extended to other energy markets and engineering-related topics.
  3. Data collection and statistical analysis.

Faculty Name: Mahelet G. Fikru
Department: Economics
Office Location: 103 Harris Hall
Title of Research Project: Electricity bill savings from residential PV systems


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Solar energy production through the use of residential photovoltaic (PV) panels is gaining importance across many states in the US. Several studies have quantified the costs of residential PV installation. However, studies that examine the economic benefits of residential PVs are limited to pre-installation engineering estimates. The objective of this research is to (1) measure the actual value of electricity bill savings for solar adopters and compare it to estimated savings and (2) identify and measure the effect of several factors that affect the actual value of saving. Among other factors, the research will examine how decisions related to the timing and type of energy-efficiency improvements affect a solar adopter’s electricity bill saving. The study will examine variation in the value of electricity bill saving across different locations (California, New York, New Jersey and Arizona), demographics (rural versus urban), different PV ownership structures (lease, third party ownerships) and different electricity markets. Recent survey data (collected by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) from over 1,660 residential solar houses in four different states will be used to test hypothesis.

The project is part of a broader research conducted by faculty from economics (Dr. Mahelet Fikru) and engineering management (Dr. Casey Canfield) departments.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):
  • Do a literature review to summarize factors that affect savings from residential PV systems. Develop testable hypothesis.
  • Perform descriptive analysis and comparative analysis using excel. 
  • Interpret findings and write results.

What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  • Handling complex data, applying statistical analysis and interpreting findings
  • Analytical skills: extracting information, observe patterns, draw logical conclusions
  • Using Excel and STATA for data analysis
  • Apply an evidence-based approach to problems 
  • Writing report

Faculty Name: Michael Davis
Department: Economics
Office Location: 102 Harris Hall
Title of Research Project: Mean, Variance, Skewness and Kurtosis of Golf Statistics


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

This project will examine statistics of PGA golfers. Economists are interested in the statistics of golfers in order to examine what factors lead to greater earnings from golfing. In this study the student will collect data into Excel in order to calculate the Mean, Variance, Skewness and Kurtosis of the golfers’ performance measures. The specific performance measures will include statistics such as driving distance, putting and sand save percentage. At the end of the project it will be possible to compare golfers across the four statistics and examine whether being good at one statistic leads to being good at other ones (Mean). Also we can compare whether being consistent at one statistic leads to being consistent at others (Variance).

The data set at the end of the project can then be used to run a regression analysis of the four statistics on the earnings of golfers to see which statistics are important for determining earnings. While the regression work is beyond the scope of this project, it would make a reasonable OURE project for either the FYRE student or another student.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

Professor Davis will give the student the data in rough form in an Excel spreadsheet. The student will be responsible for organizing the data into a usable format, using Excel to calculate the statistical values mentioned above and then to interpret and summarize the results. At the end of the project the student should be able to hand over a well-organized data set and a short report on what was found.

The expectation is that the student will spend January understanding background material. The organization of the data set should be completed by early March, with the calculation of the statistics being completed by the end of March. April should be used for analysis of the statistics and the writing of a short report.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The student will primarily gain skills in three areas. The first of these is their ability to work with and organize data sets. The student will learn how to assemble a data set into a usable form in Excel. The second skill will be in learning how to calculate the Mean, Variance, Skewness and Kurtosis in Excel. Lastly, the student will learn how to interpret those statistics and how to draw conclusions from statistical results.

English and Technical Communication

Faculty Name: Daniel Reardon
Department: English and Technical Communication
Office Location: 224 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: The Bias of Play: Do Game Reviews Impede the Development of Narrative-Based Digital Games?


Description of Research Project:

In the multi-billion dollar digital game industry, game reviews can make or break game companies (Baker, 2011). In this project, the mentor and student will analyze reviews of digital games that have been tagged by various sources as “narrative,” “narrative-based,” “Story-based,” or similar (yet to be determined) language. The goal of this project is to analyze the emphasis reviewers place on the traditional game mechanics of digital role-playing games (DRPGs), which are among the most popular games in terms of gross annual sales (Stockdale, 2018). Our hypothesis will be that because reviewers base their scores of games on mechanics such as character creation, resource gathering, materials crafting, and leveling, which de-emphasizing narrative structures and storytelling features of the game, a bias in reviews favoring these gameplay aspects has emerged over the years which impedes the development of games as narrative devices.

  • What assumptions do reviews make about why people play digital games?
  • Where can the basic tenets/elements of DRPGs be traced?
  • What elements of gameplay do reviewers tend to favor/disfavor? How can we account for these biases?

Baker, L.B. (2011, 16 September). Reviews make or break video game companies’ shares. Retrieved from The Financial Post: https://business.financialpost.com/technology/reviews-make-or-break-video-game-companies-shares

Stockdale, C. (2018, 6 June). 50 most popular video games of all time. Retrieved form 24/7 Wall St: https://247wallst.com/special-report/2018/06/06/50-most-popular-video-games-of-all-time-2/


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline:

To test our hypothesis, the FYRE student will analyze reviews from 1998-2018 in a yet-undetermined number of DRPGS, from 7-10 of the top websites most cited by aggregate scoring systems Metacritic (www.metacritic.com) and Rotten Tomatoes (www.rottentomatoes.com), and according to reviewer sites’ popularity based on number of viewers per year. The mentor and FYRE student will determine several key words and phrases to search for, and build a database which codes and tracks these key words. This research will provide empirical data for the game mechanics most often cited in reviews. The FYRE student will code the reviews according to our established/agreed-upon list of keywords and phrases. The data will then be examined to determine if patterns have emerged over the years, and repeated in game reviews of DRPGs.
January-March: Reviews analysis and coding; FYRE student and mentor will choose games to review, and number of reviews per games to analyze

April: Conclusions and poster/presentation creation


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The FYRE student will learn close research analysis skills, coding, and hypothesis testing. The FYRE student will also draw conclusions regarding bias in game review content. The data gathering, analysis, and conclusions will form the basis for an article that the FYRE student and I will write and submit to a scholarly peer-reviewed game studies journal. This research will be ongoing, and will likely extend beyond the spring semester of FYRE research. Thus, the project may be worthwhile to continue with OURE.

Faculty Name: Kathryn Dolan
Department: English and Tech Com
Office Location: 220 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: “Breakfast Cereal: A Global History”


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The student will create an annotated bibliography of 20-25 primary and secondary sources for a book project, Breakfast Cereal: A Global History. This project seeks to answer certain questions: What cookbooks, lifestyle guides, magazines (specifically those geared to women and children), history books, and stories were being written in the late 19th through early 20th century that discussed breakfast cereal? How was it developing into the cultural phenomenon it would become—and remains to this day? How did cereal help breakfast become “the most important meal of the day”? How did different nations and regions adopt new breakfast cereals into their cultures? There will be some focus on the global element of breakfast cereals, specifically since the 19th century. The student will search a variety of sources: Google, Mobius, the Missouri S&T library site. In addition, the student will consult librarians in that research focus.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

We will meet monthly over the semester, at a minimum. The first meeting in January will allow for introductions, where I will give an explanation of expectations. I will present the student with examples of appropriate sources and research sites. An example might be Heather Anderson’s Breakfast: A History (2013). We will follow that meeting with regular visits to check progress—for the student to turn in drafts of the bibliography and for me to be able to provide feedback. Finally, we will meet to review the completed bibliography and prepare for the undergraduate research conference in the Spring.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The student will develop improved research skills, the ability to more successfully analyze online research/search tools, and a greater sense of historical context of the core topic: breakfast cereals through history. The critical thinking skills improved during this course of this project will be invaluable through the rest of the student’s career at Missouri S&T and beyond.

Faculty Name: Sarah Hercula
Department: English and Technical Communication
Office Location: 207 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Building a Linguistic Perceptions Survey


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

In the spring of 2017, a former FYRE student worked with Dr. Hercula to conduct background research on and then design a survey that will be used to assess perceptions of various linguistic backgrounds held by faculty, staff, and students on the S&T campus. The survey seeks to uncover potential correlations between participants’ social characteristics and their perceptions of speakers with particular linguistic characteristics. Now that the survey has been designed, the project needs to be approved through the Institutional Review Board on campus and the survey needs to be built in Qualtrics, an online survey platform. Building the survey will entail not only creating the different questions in and sections of the online tool but also working with study participants to record the audio samples to be included in the survey. Finally, the survey will need to be launched and promoted on campus in order to ensure robust participation among the different campus populations: students, faculty, and staff.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student will be expected to assist with the preparation and submission of the IRB application to gain approval to administer the survey (2–4 week). Then, the student will assist in building the survey instrument in Qualtrics (4–6 weeks) and making arrangements to record study participants’ audio samples for inclusion in the survey (2–3 weeks). Upon receiving IRB approval, the student will work with Dr. Hercula to record, edit, and prepare the audio recordings and then insert them into the online survey tool (2–4 weeks). Finally, the student will develop and implement a promotion plan for the launch of the survey (2–3 weeks), which may occur toward the end of the spring semester or be planned for a fall 2019 launch, depending on the timing of the other tasks.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The FYRE student will acquire and/or build their skills in online survey design, audio recording and editing, and survey participant recruitment. The student will also gain a basic introduction to the field of linguistics and the concept of language variation.

Faculty Name: Rachel Schneider
Department: English and Technical Communication
Office Location: 206 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Constructing the British Literary Canon


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

What goes into creating an anthology? What do editors do to put together a particular copy of a text? How do editors choose what to put into an anthology? What is a canon, and how is it fashioned? To answer these questions, students will work with the faculty mentor to create and edit an open-source digital edition of texts for the ENGL 1211 class, The Beginnings to 1800. This will involve not only learning about the principles of editorial work, but also applying TEI markup language (Text Encoding Initiative) to create digital editions.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

Students will be responsible for first learning some basic XML (Extensible Markup Language) and TEI markup language, as well as basic editorial theory from the faculty mentor. Student then will select a series of works out of a list of early British literature, transcribe those works from early editions into XML, then will research those texts to help write introductions to them and to create notes that will help undergraduate readers better understand those texts. If time allows, students may help create the design for the webpage.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Students will learn and practice basic editorial principles, as well as research and writing skills, in transcribing the texts, choosing punctuation, and preparing footnotes and other explanatory material for the edition. Students will also learn introductory skills in coding (XML).

History and Political Science

Faculty Name: Andrew Behrendt
Department: History and Political Science
Office Location: 130 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project:  A Good Dish, but Thirsty: Paprika, Empire, and the Exotic in Anglophone Tourism to Hungary, 1870-1940


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Paprika – the often-mild, sometimes-hot spice product of the Capiscum annuum pepper – is closely associated with the small Central European country of Hungary. It is the star of Hungarian cuisine: what gives goulash its kick, salami its color, and paprikash its name. The tourism industry has long employed paprika as a shorthand symbol of Hungary and Hungarianness, particularly what makes Hungarians exotic and “fiery.” In earlier research on tourism to Hungary in the 1920s & 1930s, I have found a curious recurring theme: paprika is too hot for mild-mannered Britons & Americans to handle, but enticing enough to stand in for the alleged erotic “spiciness” of Hungarians themselves.

This project will dig deeper into the association between paprika, spiciness, and the exoticization of Hungarians as “semi-Oriental” within the British and (time depending) American popular press, tourism literature, and travelogues. Using English-language sources* from the 19th and 20th centuries, we will explore the evolution of “spiciness” as a theme in British and American culture. In particular, I hope we will be able to connect what we find about paprika and Hungary to wider discussions of imperialism, race, and gender, namely the British Empire in India and American settler colonialism in the Southwest.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student will search digital databases of UK/US periodicals for selected terms, catalog the results, archive downloaded files, and compile interpretive reports on what they’ve read. Depending on time, the student will also read further primary sources, such as travelogues and tourist handbooks, and help the Mentor locate and work with sources on film and in music. 

While the project is designed to be accessible to students with no prior knowledge of Central European history – ALP students should feel invited – the student will be asked to read a limited selection of short secondary source materials on food and tourism history in order to give them a quick grounding in the immediate fields of research.
OUTCOMES: The student and Mentor will collaborate to write a final research report that can serve as the basis for a later scholarly article, publishable (with appropriate credit to the student) in a journal. The student will also create a poster for the FYRE Showcase and for entry into the Undergraduate Research Conference (though an oral presentation may also be possible).

Timeline: Project begins first week of the semester, with weekly progress meetings and biweekly reports. Presentation ready by April 9; final write-up by May 3.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

For students thinking of pursuing their own research in historical studies, this will be a very useful way to “practice” before striking out on their own. But, regardless of discipline, this project will help develop/grant documented experience in:

 

  • Project design, workflow strategy, and time management
  • Sustained experience using large online databases & honing search engine techniques
  • Improved note-taking methods
  • Creation of a multi-user digital archive
  • Presentation design & strategies, including potential use of professional poster-making software
  • Public speaking 
  • Analytical writing in the humanities/social sciences, including professional citation and formatting
  • Experience working with historical documents in various formats

 

Faculty Name: Shannon Fogg
Department: History & Political Science
Office Location: 125 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Quaker Aid in France during World War II


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The American Quakers provided refugee relief in France during World War II. They provided material aid to Jews in internment camps in southern France, established schools inside the barbed wire, provided medical supplies, distributed clothing and food, and worked to liberate camp inmates and to facilitate their emigration. They were vital in the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust, but they also helped others by providing supplemental rations in public schools, running children’s homes, and establishing employment offices. In order to provide this aid, it was vital for the Quakers to raise money through publicity campaigns in the United States. This project will examine newspaper articles about aid to France. What tactics did the Quakers use to raise awareness, interest, and money for France? What can we learn about attitudes towards humanitarian aid? What were the main themes used in fundraising? Why? How is publicity used during war?


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student will be responsible for conducting primary source research in multiple newspapers and magazines. The majority of the articles will come from the New York Times, but other papers may be consulted. All work is expected to be completed before the Undergraduate Research Conference so that a poster related to the research may be entered in the conference. Student will meet regularly with the advisor to deliver articles, discuss the research, and formulate an argument with evidence for a poster.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The student will learn how to work with online newspaper databases to search for relevant articles. Newspapers serve as an important historical source for research and the student will develop key skills in searching for materials such as identifying key words or important dates. They will also learn to analyze information about the article’s placement in the paper (is it front-page news? Buried in another section? Etc.) The student will also enhance critical thinking skills by analyzing the documents and placing them within the historical context. The student should also learn more about issues such as refugees, humanitarian aid, pacifism, propaganda, antisemitism, and the context of daily life in France during World War II. The student will also work on historical writing skills such as making an argument, supporting it with evidence, and correctly citing sources.

Faculty Name: Dr. Justin Pope
Department: History and Political Science
Office Location: 123 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: The Search for the Akwamu people in the Slave Societies of the Americas, 1729-1734


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

This new research project attempts to trace the journey of one nation of Africans into the Americas. In 1729, the Akwamu Empire, in modern day Ghana, West Africa, suffered a terrible collapse. Rival African armies enslaved thousands of Akwamu subjects and sold them to European slavers on the Gold Coast. Using the “Transatlantic Slave Trade Database,” we will attempt to identify the European slave ships that purchased enslaved Akwamu people and trace their journey into the ports of the Americas. The goal of the project is to identify the most likely landing places of the Akwamu people in the western hemisphere.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student researcher will use the online TransAtlantic slave trade database to identify all possible vessels that carried enslaved Africans from the eastern half of the Gold Coast between 1729-1734. Working with the professor, the student will attempt to reconstruct the oceanic passage of the enslaved prisoners and determine their possible ports of destination. The student will discover the possible slave trading vessels in the first month of research. He or she will focus on the evidence from the ship logs in the second month. In the third and fourth month, we will focus on mapping the most likely destination of the enslaved Akwamu people.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Students will gain skills in historical research. While the transatlantic slave trade database is antiquated, the student will quickly become skilled at searching for slave vessels and discovering the evidence available to historians. He or she will also improve skills in historical analysis and gain detailed knowledge about the history of the Atlantic slave trade. Some experience with digital mapping would be preferred, but is not required. I will credit the student for his or her assistance in any publications that result from the research.

Mathematics and Statistics

Faculty Name: Dr. Matt Insall
Department: Mathematics and Statistics
Office Location: 315 Rolla Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Specification and Design of a Nonstandard Programming Language Compiler


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Using the article by Kohei Suenaga, ``Nonstandard Analysis Meets Programming Language Theory", in the proceedings of The Twelfth International Conference on Computability and Complexity in Analysis (CCA 2015), available at https://proxy.qualtrics.com/proxy/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fc.inf.kyushu-u.ac.jp%2F%7Ekawamura%2Fcca2015- l&token=JB4Lyzr6YQU9XixQOGCwdmag3zrScFeeHeKWrkqIuew%3D, and the Interpreter Design Exercise available at https://proxy.qualtrics.com/proxy/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fruslanspivak.com%2Flsbasipart1%2F&token=WQInGLw%2BvwlQMLCk0h%2BgnZRwHJXRBwrZdqEEpbIxTU0%3D, etc, we will build a Compiler for a Nonstandard Programming Language. Prior programming experience is necessary.


Brief description of FYRE student's responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes:

Weeks 1 and 2:

  1. Study Compilers, Interpreters and Nonstandard Languages
  2. Explain all from 1 to Mentor
  3. Summarize 1 & 2 in a short paper.

Week 3:

  1. Develop Pseudo-code for Interpreters for a Standard Language and a Nonstandard Language
  2. Develop Pseudo-code for a Compiler for a Nonstandard Language
  3. Summarize 1 & 2 in a short paper.

Weeks 4, 5, & 6:

  1. Design a Compiler for a Nonstandard Language
  2. Write Final Report 3. Present Results at an Undergraduate Conference

What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Mathematical Skills:

  1. Problem Formulation
  2. Problem Solution
  3. Conjecture Development
  4. Proofs or Refutations of Conjectures

Computational Science Skills:

  1. Compiler design Specification
  2. Compiler Design
  3. Compiler Testing

Communication Skills:

  1. Informal Communication with a Mentor
  2. Informal Communication with Peers
  3. Formal Writing to Report Results in Mathematics/Computational Science
  4. Formal Oral Presentation to Report Results in Mathematics/Computational Science

Physics

Faculty Name: Yew San Hor
Department: Physics
Office Location: 111 Materials Research Center
Title of Research Project: Construction of Scanning Tunneling Microscope


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) is a scientific instrument that can map the surface of materials at the atomic scale. It is also useful for measuring surface electronic transports of materials in interest. STM has become more important in the study of material science and condensed matter physics. This project aims to build a fully functioning, research quality STM that is capable for material surface imaging at the atomic scale and for surface electronic structure characterizations. The set up for the STM requires a graphical user interface to control the equipment. The focus of this project is to make a graphical user interface to control the machine.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The work involves:

  1. The setup of network on a computer port via USB and Ethernet. 
  2. A design of a user-friendly window to control the STM. 

The student will learn the C# programming language and know the basics of functional programming. He or she will join the STM research team to write a miniature program for custom scan types, familiar with digital logic in binary and hexadecimal, read and interpret the miniature programming language and send instructions to the STM based on the language instruction set, familiar with the time stamp communication processes, create a custom file type to store presets and user preferences, learn the basics of Serial Peripheral Interface communication, and create a micro language to send control signals between the STM and a computer.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The student will acquire knowledge of the operation of STM. In the process of designing the controller for the STM, the student will acquire experience in programming and computer interfacing. He or she will gain research experience in setting up a new instrument for scientific exploration.

Faculty Name: Anh Thu Le
Department: Physics
Office Location: 118 Physics Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Classical approach for atoms in ultrafast intense laser pulses


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Ultrafast intense laser-atom interaction is a major research direction that has found numerous applications in science and technology. In particular, it opened up the field of attosecond physics. Interestingly, many phenomena that occur in atoms or molecules in intense lasers can be partly understood and simulated by classical physics. In this project, we will investigate the motion of a “classical” electron in intense lasers, after it was emitted from an atom, by solving Newton equations numerically. Motions of the electron for various laser parameters will be studied and visualized. This project will give valuable insight and constraints for further studies and contribute to our understanding of various features for strong-field phenomena. Furthermore, this project might be extended in the future to simulate certain quantum behaviors of atoms or molecules in intense lasers using the Classical Trajectories Monte-Carlo approach. Some prior familiarity with basic programming in any language (for example, Fortran, C++, Python, or Matlab) is needed. Please contact Dr. Le (lea@mst.edu) with any questions about your level of preparation as you make your project selections.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The student responsibilities include: (1) writing a computer code with the help of the faculty to solve Newton equations for an electron in intense lasers; (2) running the computer code for different laser parameters to obtain solutions; (3) At the initial stage, it can be done with a personal computer. At a later stage, it is expected that the student can run the code at a high performance computer (HPC) cluster such as the Forge at S&T (http://itrss.mst.edu/hpc/theforge/ ); (4) Analyze and discuss the solutions with the faculty; (5) Learning and sharing research experience with the members of the research group.

Expected outcomes include one or more of the following: (a) an accurate and efficient computer code that will be used for future research in the group or elsewhere; (b) results of this investigation will be used for writing up a section of a scientific article. (c) student will be strongly encouraged to participate in the Undergraduate Research Conference held on campus in early April.
Rough timeline:

  • 12/2018  01/2019: research background reading
  • 01/2019 – 02/2019: writing and testing the code
  • 02/2019 – 03/2019: obtaining first results and analyzing
  • 03/2019 – 04/2019: test run on HPC cluster and further data analysis

What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The student will get to know how to use a computer programming language (such as Fortran, C++, Python, or Matlab) in real research. He/she will have hand-on experience of setting up and solving Newton equations numerically. The students will learn how to analyze the solutions using different visualization tools and interpret the meaning and implications of the solutions. It is also expected that the student will learn and get familiar with high performance computing.

Faculty Name: Aleksandr Chernatynskiy
Department: Physics
Office Location: 117 Physics Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Mechanical properties of the magnesium oxide at high pressure via molecular dynamics simulations


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Behavior of the materials at the conditions of high pressure and temperature that is expected in the interior of the planets remains a challenging topic for the investigation. Mechanical properties are particularly important to understand due their interplay with the thermal properties as well as their effect on the dynamics of the Earth’s mantle. In this project, we will employ molecular dynamics simulation to elucidate the defects in the structure that appear in the crystals of magnesium oxide under the compression.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

Student is expected to survey the literature to identify most appropriate interatomic potential for this investigation, to become familiar with the supercomputing environment on HPC “Forge” available at Missouri S&T, to perform basic molecular dynamics simulations employing well developed community codes and to analyze their results.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  1. Scientific literature search.
  2. Supercomputer user skills: familiarity with Linux OS, job schedulers, parallel computing.
  3. Experience in working with community codes employed in scientific research.

Psychology

Faculty Name: Jessica Cundiff
Department: Psychological Science
Office Location: 115 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Developing a game to teach about gender bias in the workplace


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The purpose of this project is to develop a game that can be used in the classroom to teach students about gender bias in the workplace. The goal of the game is to illustrate how the effects of unconscious bias unfold overtime and show how individuals can interrupt the operation of unconscious bias on their own and others’ behalf. The game is currently under construction and draws from prior work on the Workshop Activity for Gender Equity Simulation (WAGES).

Game cards will need to be finalized and the game instructions will need to be created. The game will also need to be pilot-tested so that any problems in game construction can be identified and resolved.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The FYRE student will help with the final steps of game construction. Specifically, the student will help finalize the game cards, create the instruction manual, and pilot-test the game with groups of research participants. Results from the pilot-testing will be used to identify and resolve any problems in game construction.

Timeline:

  • Jan 21 – Feb 8: Finalize game cards
  • Feb 11 – 15: Create instruction manual
  • Feb 18 – March 1: Prepare materials for pilot-test; submit IRB application
  • March 4 – 22: Conduct pilot-test
  • April 1 – 12: Analyze data from pilot-test; revise game based on results
  • April 15 – 19: Re-run pilot-test with revised game
  • April 22 – May 3: Make any final adjustments to the game

A successful student can potentially continue working on this research project the following year through the OURE program. Future work will involve evaluating the effectiveness of the final version of the game.

 


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The FYRE student will gain experience conducting research with human participants, including training on ethical treatment of participants. The student will also learn about psychology research findings regarding unconscious bias and sexism in the workplace. The student will learn how to code and analyze qualitative data and use the data to make revisions to the game. Overall, the skills learned through this project will benefit the student in future coursework involving research methods and critical thinking.

Faculty Name: Daniel B. Shank
Department: Psychological Science
Office Location: 133 Hum./Soc. Sci. Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Opening up the Black Box: How does the Complexity of Artificial Intelligence Algorithms Change Attributions of Responsibility?


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

Many proprietary AI programs are used on a mass scale to select or recommend people for jobs, loans, promotions, firing, prison sentences, medical care, education, and housing. The companies and governments who use these software packages intend to speed up decisions, increase efficiency, and eliminate human bias, however these AI systems are often imperfect as best and extremely biased at worst. Additionally, their proprietary nature means they are black boxes to most who use and are affected by them causing scholars to label them as weapons of math destruction and algorithms of oppression. Disclosure of algorithms may increase the transparency of the process, however it is not known if this disclosed information would change attributions of responsibility. The larger research project will investigate whether the complexity, data sources, and AI type make a differences in attributions of responsibility for the AI’s actions, especially moral violations. To understand people’s perception of AI complexity, the FYRE student will develop AI algorithm descriptions that vary in complexity and pilot test them for complexity, responsibility, and perceived mind. The hypothesis is that complexity will increase mind and general out-of-context responsibility, and those will lead to in-context attributions of responsibility for biased action by AIs.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

This project has three phases – literature review, stimuli development, and pilot testing – which are ordered but may overlap. For the literature review the FYRE student will read important books and papers in this area, and search for AI algorithm descriptions in existing literature (months 1 and 2). From searching the related literature, reading general information, and interviewing those working in AI on campus the FYRE student will write approximately 20-40 algorithm descriptions to use as stimuli. The FYRE student will pilot test these algorithm descriptions in the psychology lab and revise them (months 2 and 3). The best descriptions will be retained and a full study will be collected using Amazon Mechanical Turk. This data from this study will demonstrate how different algorithms are perceived in terms of complexity, mind, and out-of-context responsibility (months 3 and 4).


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

Based on this project and skills gained by Dr. Shank’s former FYRE student, the 2019 FYRE student will gain a number of basic skills including (1) searching for specific aspects of design within research articles, (2) how to read and write brief summaries of important papers, (3) interviewing experts, (4) the basics of conducting a laboratory experiment and pilot test, (5) creating and testing stimuli, (6) using data to interpret the success of stimuli, (7) creating output in a poster format, (8) understanding how a research project develops, (9) working with a research team, (10) organization skills, and (11) communication skills. Additionally, the student will get an on-the-ground perspective of a cutting edge research area of applying psychology to people’s interactions with advanced technology. The larger project will continue beyond the semester, allowing interested and capable students to apply for a research assistantship or OURE.

Faculty Name: Dr. Amber Henslee
Department: Psychological Science
Office Location: 111 Hum./Soc. Sci.  Bldg.
Title of Research Project: Testing the Hangover Hypothesis during St. Pat’s


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

The overall objectives of this project are to continue investigating the residual effects of alcohol consumption after blood alcohol content (BAC) has returned to zero and the corresponding risk propensity among college students surrounding celebratory events. The cognitive and behavioral effects of acute alcohol intoxication are well documented. However, the residual effects during a hangover (i.e., the “hangover hypothesis”) are less clear. These equivocal results may be attributed to inadequate study design, various cognitive assessments, the impact of sleepiness, and the sample (e.g., heavy drinkers versus social drinkers).

Risk decision making or risk propensity is a cognitive task. It can be assessed by lab-based measures; however, it is also exhibited behaviorally by substance use. In general, substance use is positively associated with increased risk propensity but there is variability in these data depending upon the sample (e.g., heavy drinkers versus social drinkers). However, the residual effects of alcohol consumption on risk decision making, specifically surrounding celebratory events, is not well understood. Thus, the specific objective of this proposal is to assess the residual effects of alcohol consumption and sleepiness on risk decision making in college student drinkers before, during, and after celebratory events (e.g., St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween).


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

This is my 3rd year as a FYRE mentor. My first FYRE student (Sara) will graduate in Spring 2019. The current FYRE student will train under Sara to learn about the research project and the protocol including how to format an IRB application, recruit and screen potential subjects, collect data on participants, organize data, and perhaps preliminary data analysis.

The FYRE student MUST be available to be in the lab during the mornings for about 90 minutes each day, Wednesday – Sunday, the week before St. Patrick’s Day (March 6th – 10th), the week of St. Pat’s (March 13th – 18th), and the week after St. Pat’s (March 20th – 24th), to collect data on participants.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?
  1. CITI training (Human Subjects ethical training is required, but it is also required for PSYCH 2200 and to work on future projects using human subjects, so this will give the student a jump-start). 
  2. Institutional Review Board (IRB) application process and formatting (this is also required for Human Subjects studies and good to learn early on).
  3. How to recruit subjects via the online SONA system and screen them to determine if they are eligible to participate. 
  4. Run subjects through the protocol which includes administering a breathalyzer, a cognitive task on a computer, and online self-report surveys. 
  5. Organize data from multiple sources.

Teacher Education and Certification

Faculty Name: Michelle Schwartze
Department: Teacher Education and Certification
Office Location: 214 Centennial Hall
Title of Research Project:  The Impact of Classroom Design on Active Learning


Description of Research Project (maximum 200 words):

In this study I am addressing active learning along with the twenty-first century skills of collaboration and critical thinking. Education is moving towards a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus. One of the goals of STEM education is to teach students the twenty-first century skills of collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking (Reagan, 2016). I teach pre-service teachers who are going to have to one day teach their own students these skills, so it is imperative that I model them for my pre-service teachers. Thus, I try to make my classroom an active learning classroom with a variety of methods for modeling collaboration and critical thinking. I find it difficult, though, when the classrooms are set up for teacher directed instruction and are not easily adapted. Therefore, I hope to address this issue in my study by examining how twenty-first century seating options in a classroom can impact learning and the use of active learning to address twenty-first century skills for our students.

Reagan, M. T. (2016). Stem-infusing the elementary classroom. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.


Brief description of FYRE student’s responsibilities during Spring 2019, including expected outcomes and rough timeline (maximum 200 words):

The FYRE student will help complete a finalized literature review of current research in the area of twenty-first century seating and its impact on learning. This would need to be done by mid-March 2019.

The FYRE student will also be helping to evaluate student surveys to look for common themes. This is a qualitative study so the surveys will be examined for primary themes and then categorized into those themes. The FYRE student will also have the opportunity to help create survey questions for this research. The timeline for this would be to have completion by May 2019.


What skills will the FYRE student acquire or enhance as a result of working on this research project?

The FYRE student will gain skills in finding valuable research articles and evaluating them to complete a thorough literature review. The FYRE student will also gain hands-on experience with creating and evaluating qualitative survey data.

About the program

FYRE goal

Motivated students will learn to execute solid research methods.

Apprentice-style research partnership

Faculty mentors and students work together throughout the spring semester.

Additional research opportunities

It's not expected that a comprehensive research project will be completed in a single semester. FYRE students are encouraged to continue more advanced research, including S&T’s Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) projects. Mentors and students may also choose to continue their working relationship beyond the term of the program.

Students on FYRE

Randy Greeves in the FYRE (First Year Research Experience) showcase.

Randy Greeves seeks results

Mentored by Shannon Fogg, chair and professor of history and political science, Randy Greeves, a history and political science major, researches the humanitarian efforts applied children's treatment during war. Randy wants to use his research skills in industry when he graduates. In the FYRE program, Randy learned about the difficulties subject matter experts face and how to overcome them to produce results. 

Stephanie Dukes in the FYRE(First Year Research Experience) showcase

Stephanie Dukes knows her path

Mentored by Susan Murray, chair and professor of psychological sciences, Stephanie Dukes, a psychological sciences major studied personal "grit"—how it affects G.P.A. and how a sense of purpose can enhance a person’s grit. Stephanie wants to use her degree to help victims of domestic abuse. The FYRE program taught her how an experiment can be formed from an idea.

Want more information?

For questions, contact Kate Drowne, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business and professor of English. 

Contact: kdrowne@mst.edu or call 573-341-6699