KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 24, 2021
Three undergraduate researchers will represent Kennesaw State University at the Posters at the Georgia State Capitol, a showcase of the state’s best undergraduate research, on Feb. 24 from 1-5 p.m.
The event gives selected participants from Georgia’s colleges and universities an opportunity to present their research to state leaders. Sponsored by the Georgia Undergraduate Research Collective, the 2021 poster session will take place as a synchronous online virtual conference.
“We are so pleased to see KSU students accepted to this event, which began in 2019,” said Amy Buddie, director of undergraduate research at KSU. “This is such an important opportunity for our students to connect both with Georgia legislators as well as other undergraduate researchers around the state. This event helps show our state’s decision-makers that students at KSU and elsewhere are conducting meaningful, relevant research that makes a difference.”
The selected KSU undergraduates are Lawren Cumberbatch of Grayson, Artis Trice of Ellenwood, and Alexandra Walsh of Lawrenceville. Although their projects span from the sciences to the arts, each student’s research project began in a similar fashion.
Cumberbatch, a senior biology major with a statistics minor, is conducting research on food deserts, areas which the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as neighborhoods that have limited access to affordable and healthy food sources. Using her background in applied statistics, her research explores the causes of food deserts by analyzing the demographics of the affected communities. She presented this research at the fall Symposium of Student Scholars at KSU.
“I always understood the process of research and found it to be interesting, but actually conducting research has been more important to me than I could have imagined,” she said.
Cumberbatch was drawn into the world of undergraduate research through her degree requirements. Her journey began with a biostatistics course, in which a student guest speaker presented a research project and encouraged the class to take additional statistics courses. Cumberbatch heeded the speaker’s advice, which led her to meeting her current faculty mentor, Susan Mathews Hardy, senior lecturer of mathematics.
“Conducting research shows you that you can actually have an impact on the world,” said Cumberbatch, who wants to become a medical doctor. “Your research findings matter in people’s lives.”
Senior geography major and Honors student Trice is also conducting food insecurity research, which he also presented at the fall Symposium of Student Scholars. His research involves planning community gardens in DeKalb County in hopes that the produce grown will help sustain parts of the county that do not have access to healthy food options.
“I am interested in pursuing this type of research as a career,” Trice said. “This experience of studying and planning urban gardens has been very helpful to my future goals, whether that is in community organizing, urban agriculture, or natural resource management as a whole.”
Prior to his research, Trice already had experience volunteering at various community gardens, such as the North Marietta Neighborhood Community Garden and a Seattle-based community garden during a summer internship. His idea for the project was a result of a research methods class that he took with Paul McDaniel, associate professor of geography. With McDaniel’s help as his mentor, Trice was able to incorporate his experiences into a research project.
“Research allows you to do new and cool things,” Trice said. “You can explore things that people may not have done before, and if it’s something that you’re passionate about studying, you may as well try to find the answer.”
Walsh, a junior dance student in KSU Journey Honors College, is presenting her first undergraduate research project. Her research explores the history of the renowned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky-penned ballet, The Nutcracker, and the various factors that have contributed to its long-standing success.
“Through analysis of existing scholarship, I investigated the history of The Nutcracker ballet within the broader context of the history, politics, culture, economics, and technology of the United States in the mid-20th century, when the ballet was first introduced to the U.S.,” she said.
Walsh’s research began as a final class project for a dance history course taught by her faculty mentor, Caroline Clark, assistant professor of dance history and theory. The project has since blossomed into a full-fledged academic research presentation.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this research, and am very appreciative to Dr. Clark for sharing the various possibilities of dance research with me,” Walsh said. “I have gained not only a deeper understanding of the topic, but also of how to analyze information and convey ideas to an audience, which will serve me well in my future endeavors.”
– Jacob Segura
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.