Student Researchers at Albertson College

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Albertson College MAT Intern, Allison Brooks

I decided to take a break from all the depressing national news and report on something positive today. The Idaho Stateman had an article this morning about a student research conference at Albertson College in Caldwell. The original research presented by these students was inspiring.

According to the article by Statesman reporter Vicki D. Ashwill,

[There were] 65 students giving oral presentations or presenting research via displays and one-on-one conversations at the school’s second all-campus research conference.

What the college is providing is an important professional experience for students that can help them work on communication skills as well as research skills, said Carolyn Ash, board member of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

It’s also important for Albertson College to let other students, faculty and the community see what students are doing.”ACI is known to be a great academic institution,” said [conference chair Dr. Sara] Heggland. “Now we can show that at this conference.”

Here are the profiles of the four student researchers highlighted in the Stateman article:

Layne Vanderbeek

Vanderbeek’s composition comes after nearly a year of research on influential composers such as 18th century composers Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to write his own composition.A violinist, Vanderbeek wanted to take aspects of music theory, including culture and history, to compose a liturgical mass, based on a Catholic rite.”I decided to write something pretty big using certain characteristics of other composers,” he said.Lisa Derry, said composition is a natural outgrowth of Vanderbeek’s studies.”It’s deeply intensive, personal work,” she said.Vanderbeek and his fellow choir members will perform one movement of his composition on Saturday.Vanderbeek, 22, is a senior music theory and composition major from Greenleaf.

Allison Brooks

Education major Allison Brooks got the idea for her research project when she learned some teachers were frustrated with too much testing in public schools.Her study on Idaho teacher attitudes toward standards-based testing was based on a survey of teachers in six counties, including Ada and Canyon counties.”What I found is teachers seemed to appreciate the idea of standards and think they are important,” she said.But “61 percent agreed or strongly agreed” that it was also making them less satisfied with their career, she said.Her research may not be far off the mark. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is aware of the complaints and is working on a process to listen to what teachers and parents have to say, said Melissa McGrath, Department of Education spokeswoman. One option is looking at a way to consolidate exams, she said.Brooks, 23, of Boise is working on her master’s in teaching and has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Albertson.

Lisa Stout

Lisa Stout wanted to find out what sixth-graders thought about nutrition breaks throughout the day at schools.Her preliminary data shows that kids were positive about having a snack, she said. In the process she discovered that students who were offered a snack break generally ate healthier snacks than their peers.”It’s something great to look at,” she said, adding she hoped her research could eventually be used by schools.Middleton Heights Elementary School in Middleton is one place where snacks are being used.”One of our goals was to get more protein to students in that snack,” said principal Robin Gilbert. “It helps maintain glucose levels. We’re not seeing that mid-morning crash.”Stout, 23, is working on a masters in teaching and has an undergraduate degree in exercise science and physical education. She is from Caldwell.

Quinton Dowling

Quinton Dowling did his research on soil microbes with student Rachel Kudrna.In other college research, students were using sugar as a possible method of control for cheatgrass, said Dowling.Cheatgrass is an invasive grass species in Idaho that is strangling native plants that provide food and shelter for birds and animals in this area of the state.He and Kudrna wanted to find out if they could look at the microbes in soil to see if the soil was altered by the sugar and, if it was, how fast the soil returned to normal.It means it’s likely that scientist can study soil microbes to look at the long-term impact on the eco-system of any kind of treatment used to kill invasive plant species.Dowling, 19, is a sophomore biology major from Seattle.

Here are a few photos taken at the poster session.

student research1

Allison

Michal

Lisa

Hoover

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