Cyberbullying in video games, mob violence following Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the economics of community services for convicted offenders were just three of the many topics explored by Summer Scholars. The program brings students and faculty together for joint research that results in scholarly publication.
Such opportunities are growing at Siena, especially with the creation of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA). The Summer Scholars program is funded by CURCA, which provides stipends for participating students and faculty members.
“For students, it’s an opportunity to work in a very focused manner on a research project,” said Cheryl Buff ’82, Ph.D., director of CURCA.
Lauren Mathews ’15, a computer science major, and Shauna Pratico ’14, an English major, teamed up with Assistant Professor of Computer Science Meg Fryling ’97, Ph.D., and Visiting Instructor in Computer Science Jami Cotler to investigate cyberbullying in video games. Mathews has always been a gamer and Pratico is passionate about the issue of bullying.
Mathews and Pratico observed four different groups playing online video games and developed a 42-question survey that was sent out through video game message boards, Facebook, Twitter and on the games themselves through Nintendo’s online social network Miiverse. The team will break down the data in the fall and plans to publish two or three scholarly papers based on the results of the survey.
“It’s an unseen view on cyberbullying,” Mathews said.
Francis Butler had enjoyed classes taught by Associate Professor of History Bruce Eelman, Ph.D., and approached him about research opportunities. The two worked together on Eelman’s book project about the mob violence that erupted in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Butler spent most of his time in the library, looking through old newspaper clippings, microfilm and the Internet, searching for primary and secondary sources.
“It provided me a behind the scenes look at how professional historians tackle their research projects and armed me with analysis and writing skills that will assist me in the future,” Butler said.
Both Audrey Sabatini ’14 and Stacey Morris ’14 collaborated with Assistant Professor of Economics Ashley Provencher, Ph.D., but on two different projects related to cost-benefit analysis of community services for convicted offenders.
Siena is trying to institutionalize the Summer Scholars program in an ongoing effort to promote undergraduate research and other high impact learning practices that foster mentoring relationships between faculty and students.