I spent my Summer Fellows experience researching how we can assess the amount of learning that takes place in the neuroscience classroom through concept mapping. By simply asking students to make pairwise rankings of terms related to a particular domain, let’s say neuronal physiology, before and after they learn the material in class, we hoped to be able to assess how much they actually learned in the classroom by comparing their concept maps to experts in the field. This is very promising research into implicit forms of learning, and we will continue this research well past Summer Fellows.
WHAT WAS VALUABLE ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE
There were so many amazing opportunities during Summer Fellows! I think the two most valuable things for me were, gaining the research and data-analysis skills through first-hand experience, and hearing the speaker series that was organized by the college every Wednesday afternoon. Both of these things have made me a better scientists and a better student overall.
THE COOLEST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE
The coolest part would have to have been the final research symposium at the end of Fellows. It was amazing to not only be able to present my own findings, but to walk around listening to my peers explain what they had been working on. There were so many different projects in so many fields of study, but the commonality was that we were all there supporting each other and being recognized for our hard work. It made it even better that members of the community and family members came to see the symposium as well: Even people outside of Ursinus seemed genuinely interested in people’s work.
WHO I MET THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE
The person who made the biggest difference over Summer Fellows was undoubtedly Dr. Stevenson, my mentor for Fellows. Working one-on-one with Dr. Stevenson was a great experience. She allowed me the freedom to work on things independently and support my own self-learning, but was always available if I ever needed help, or simply to give advice on how my methods could be improved. Working with Dr. Stevenson was an invaluable experience and has definitely helped my research career: We are actually continuing our Summer Fellows research into the academic year.
Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good
Research with Dr. Joel Bish
Research with Dr. Jennifer Stevenson