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Students Can Delve into Research, Creative Projects with $5,000 SOURCE Grants; Fall Deadline to Apply Oct. 15
Ohemaa Dixon ’20 is pursuing a passion project, furthering her intellectual growth beyond the classroom—bolstered with a $5,000 grant and support and resources from the University.
Dixon, an art photography student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, was awarded the funding from the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE) for her project on the relationship and the effects of the broader cultural context of the French Republic on contemporary Black art archives in France.
“This funding has allowed me to explore the world of research independently but with the backing and guidance by my university,” says Dixon, who is under the faculty mentorship of Associate Professor Laura Heyman. “It has allowed me to expand what I can do as a student, and I am forever grateful.”
The SOURCE, located in 238 Bird Library, is offering all undergraduates students the same opportunity to apply for an academic-year grant of $5,000 and pursue their creative and research ideas, under the guidance of a faculty member. The office, which awarded its first cohort of students in April, fosters and supports diverse undergraduate participation in faculty-guided scholarly research and creative inquiry.
The fall deadline to apply for a SOURCE Academic Year Grant of $5,000 is Oct. 15, and the spring deadline is Feb. 27, 2020. Information on eligibility requirements and how to apply can be found on the SOURCE Funding Opportunities website. The office provides student research mentors to help guide students at any phase of the process and workshops and informational sessions, on such topics as “Getting Started on an Undergraduate Research or Creative Project”; “Crafting a Research Elevator Speech”; and “Writing an Effective Proposal.”
The office also helps coordinate applications for the Honors Program Awards ($5,000) and the Lender Center Student Fellowships. Information on those programs and how to apply can also be found on the SOURCE Funding Opportunities website. There’s also a new special award opportunity, the Spinoza Award, which supports students doing work at the intersection of philosophy and science. The Spinoza Award is made possible through the generosity of Syracuse University alumnus Dr. William Hrushesky ’69, a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“These grants give students a chance to see an interesting problem or issue that they care about, engage with a professor try to find a solution and work with the expertise of a professor—and they have the resources to delve deeply into that question,” says Kate Hanson, director of The SOURCE. “It’s definitely for the curious student.”
The center supports students engaging in research activity in all phases who may be working in a lab and might be working in an area of a professor’s larger research agenda, working as part of a team or designing their own research project.
Benefits of SOURCE awards
Students learn problem-solving skills, how to manage a large project that extends beyond a semester and how to work effectively with a faculty mentor, which all can assist in helping them move into the job market, graduate program or fellowship, Hanson says.
Brandon Fascia ’20, who is majoring in health and exercise science in the School of Education, was awarded a $2,800 summer grant for his project working on young adults with a history of concussion.
Concussions cause damage to the brain, which lowers cognitive performance on tests and objectives, which is due to altered neural connectivity, Fascia says. Recently, beetroot juice has been studied because it dilates blood vessels in the body and allows for better circulation of blood with nutrients in it.
Fascia is working on his hypothesis that beetroot juice may improve blood flow to the brain and enhance cognitive performance in young adults with at least two or more concussions in the past five years. “So far, there have not been any statistically significant changes in blood flow or cognitive performance. As more participants complete the study, the results may change,” he says.
Fascia, who is under the guidance of Dean’s Associate Professor Kevin Heffernan, designed his own study—something he never saw himself as having the opportunity to do. He also took the lead as “primary investigator” in the Human Performance Lab for the study and was able to gather data on human subjects.
“My Syracuse University experience has been enhanced by this funding, because not only has it given me the opportunity to grow as a researcher, but it has also opened my eyes to more career paths I am now interested in,” Fascia says. “Along with this, I now have a research study to show for all of my work at Syracuse University.”
Fascia would tell other students interested in exploring their fields in more depth to consider pursuing funding from The SOURCE.
“It is not the easiest thing to balance school, life, work and also a research study. But, if you’re willing to put in the work, and you love learning about your field of study, then this is something you want to pursue,” Fascia says. “The SOURCE funding has been a game-changer for me, and I am truly honored to have received it.”
Dixon also encourages other students to go after their ideas and explore—as with the 103 students first awarded grants and pursuing their interests all over the world.
“That one idea you have that always floats in the back of your mind and you wonder if you can do it, make it happen!” says Dixon, who is a student research mentor.