Student Research Testimonials
Mark Kidwell (research in sports medicine)The focus of my research experience at Michigan State was on concussions in sport. For the most part, we assisted R.J. Elbin, a MSU Ph.D. recipient, and Dr. Tracey Covassin, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology. Both have done a lot of work with sports concussions and were very knowledgeable on the subject. About three to four times per month, we would go to one of the area high schools and work with the athletic trainer there to administer baseline concussion tests to entire teams as well as post-concussion tests to athletes that had sustained a concussion. Also, with these tests and with parent consent only, we would have the athletes complete a short survey on their emotional status at that point. This information from the survey would help determine how concussions can affect the many different emotional and social aspects of the concussed athletes. After we had gathered most of the information, we would then clean it up into more legible Excel files for easier comparison. The last part of my research experience was preparing for and presenting at the UURAF research fair. We gave a 15 minute presentation on the basics of sports concussion and its management, as well as the results from the study we were taking part in. I want to have a future in sports medicine and would like to come back to the issue of concussion in sports, and participating in this research has given me a good introduction into concussion research. I hope to continue working with Dr. Covassin and others to further my knowledge of the field.
Matthew Steck (research in exercise psychology)The Health Games Study, led by Department of Kinesiology Chairperson Deborah Feltz, involved collaborating with a team of researchers that was examining group dynamics and motivation in exercise. This opportunity allowed me to see research from a firsthand perspective. Not only did I learn about the research process, I was given another opportunity to develop my own study based on my experience working under Brandon Irwin, my mentor. Together we developed and conducted a study examining enjoyment of physical activity between groups of varying task demands, which I presented at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum. In this study, we examined differences in exercise enjoyment between conditions (group or individual) under which exercise was performed.
Working as an undergraduate research assistant made me feel like I truly was contributing to my university. This opportunity allowed me to see a whole new side of academia that most people do not have the chance to see, and for that I am grateful. The mentoring from Brandon Irwin and Dr. Feltz is a main reason which made this experience so great. They provided helpful guidance and knowledge which made me feel assured throughout the whole process.
Jaymee Mason (research on teaching)Mentored by Mary Juzwik and Samantha Caughlan
My undergraduate research position on the Video-Based Response and Revision (VBRR) project at Michigan State University afforded me some really great opportunities. The project studies a program-wide effort to support secondary English student teachers’ (who we call “interns”) development of dialogic instructional practices across a two-year period including the year-long internship. The pedagogical design we investigate is the use of video-based, Web 2.0-mediated dialogues about dialogic teaching practice. My work on the research consisted of transcribing and analyzing end-of-year interviews with 2008-2009 interns, focused on their experiences with the VBRR curriculum. The greater part of my research involved studying these interview data to pose and investigate a research question about how interns understood the relationship between their own and their mentors’ beliefs about and practices with dialogic instruction. I presented my research at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum.
I am thankful for my experience as an undergraduate research assistant. This experience was a great way to delve into my chosen future profession on a more intimate level while at the same time preparing me for my own internship in secondary English. I truly feel as though my undergraduate research experience gave me a great chance to prepare myself in a way that others who are entering their internship year may not have had. I not only had the chance to listen very closely to the experiences of several interns, but I also learned how to work with a professional team by coming to research meetings, meeting deadlines and then ultimately presenting my work to professionals who are also interested in this topic. Having been an undergraduate research assistant, I have developed and honed inquiry skills which will be useful to me as a future teacher, but more importantly I have made connections with a great research team - a group of scholars who are not only very knowledgeable, but also a source of guidance on which I feel I can depend for years to come as I pursue my career as a teacher.