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Scholars give presentations at showcase

  • two people standing before a poster
  • woman on stage
  • woman on stage
  • woman at zoo in front of enclosed cage

Posted on August 02, 2017

When she was young, Claire Efting raised chickens, goats, sheep and cows as a member of a 4-H club.

At the Summer Scholars Showcase August 1, Efting, a social work major, said raising and, at times, selling animals and livestock made a remarkable impact on her life and "fueled her research."

Efting was a Student Summer Scholar (S3), one of five research programs represented at the showcase. She worked throughout the spring/summer semester with Brandon Youker, assistant professor of social work, to study the experiences of parents who have children involved in 4-H livestock projects.

Through interviews with parents in Grand Rapids and Detroit, Efting said the parents spoke about the life lessons their children learned through 4-H, such as community service, fiscal responsibility and coping with loss.

Francesca Golus, a S3 Ott-Stiner scholar and biology major, discussed her summer research project of assessing five species of carnivores at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids to observe their enrichment protocols, which are stimulating activities meant to suppress negative animal behaviors. Jodee Hunt, professor of biology, was her mentor.

Golus said they carefully observed the mountain lion, the least active of the five species, pacing back and forth within the enclosure. First worried about his behavior, subsequent visits revealed that pacing was the mountain lion's own form of enrichment, Golus said.

Cayla Dwyer, a writing major with a French minor, worked as a Library Scholar with Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra, liaison librarian, to develop a workshop that would teach information literacy to her French classmates. Dwyer said the project sprung from a role-playing game she played in her French class that had her researching newspapers from the French Revolution.

"I was teaching myself to use these unfamiliar materials and I wanted to make French resources at the library more accessible for French students," she said.

Nearly 40 students gave oral and poster presentations as part of the S3, Library Scholars, Modified Student Summer Scholars, McNair Scholars and Beckman Scholars programs.

The annual showcase is sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.