From Student to Scholar — Research Presentations Showcase Experiential Learning

Annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference viewable online 

What do the 1918 pandemic, cyberbullying, sibling relationship quality, and post-marital body image all have in common? They are all research topics presented at this year’s Mentored Student Research Conference, funded by the Mary Lou Fulton endowed chair in the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences. 

Each year, students in all disciplines of the college pursue their research questions, collect data, and share their findings in poster format. The conference affirms the college’s emphasis on experiential learning — students take what they learn in the classroom and use that understanding and methodology in real-world scientific research. 

“In my experience, the Mentored Student Research Conference is where you can really see the lightbulb go off over students’ heads and they realize they have become scholars,” says Mikaela Dufur, associate dean in the college. “By working on research with faculty mentors, students become producers of knowledge instead of just consumers. With this shift in perspective, they see the world and their place in it differently.” 

Many students in the college plan to continue their education through graduate programs, and this conference gives them a unique experience to refer to in the admissions process. Students can also use this experience on a resume as they seek to enter a competitive scientific workforce. The participation in the conference demonstrates intellectual curiosity, the ability to formulate a specific question and collect relevant data, analyze the data, and tell a story with data visualization. These skills with both quantitative and qualitative data are in high demand. 

Conference posters can be submitted now through March 31 at noon when judging will begin. All are invited to view the poster submissions on the conference website at any time and participate in the conference program. 

This year’s conference program will be held virtually on April 8 at noon. President Kevin Worthen will be the keynote speaker and awards will be presented for the best posters from each department and category. First-place poster teams are awarded $300, second-place ($200), third-place ($100), and fourth-place ($50) posters may also be recognized. 

For more information, visit the Mentored Student Research Conference website.