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2015 Edgren Scholars Announced

Three groups of faculty and students have received awards to conduct academic research projects this summer.

Three faculty-student research teams in biology, nursing, and art were announced recently as the recipients of the 2015 Edgren Scholarships. Vice President and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Deb Sullivan-Trainor announced the recipients in May for work that will be done this summer.

The Edgren Scholars Award was established in 2001 by then-Provost Jay Barnes to encourage and support collaborative summer research between faculty and students. “Over the years, it has been exciting to see the many excellent scholarly publications and presentations resulting from nearly 50 research collaborations,” says Sullivan-Trainor.


Professor of Biological Sciences Brian Hyatt and his student researcher, biology major Nate Riedeman '16, will be working on the project "Examination of the Effects of Xer81 on Neural Tube Closure and Lung Development in the Frog Xenopus laevis." Xer81 is a gene that codes for a member of a family of transcription factors, proteins that control gene expression. “Reduction in the amount of Xer81 (protein) results in the incomplete closure of the neural tube, or a precursor of the spinal cord,” Hyatt and Riedeman explain.

The professor-student team will test reductions in the level of Xer81 and measure the effect this has on the expression of several cell adhesion genes necessary for neural tube formation and closure. They hope their findings will show how XER81 is involved in these processes and provide insight into how these processes occur in humans.


Associate professors of nursing Ann Holland, Kathleen Tilton, and Jone Tiffany will be working with nursing major McCall Kleve '16 on the project "Student Learning Impact of a Patient-Centered Care Coordination Clinical Module."

According to the Institute of Medicine, baccalaureate nurses need better preparation to function in the community primary care setting, with particular focus on care coordination and chronic illness. A team of three nursing faculty has led the redesign of a curricular module in the spring junior nursing clinical course. The half-semester module includes a conceptual model, learning objectives, didactic content, and five clinical learning experiences and related assignments that develop students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes about the RN’s role in patient-centered care coordination (PCCC).

A non-experimental, mixed methods research study was conducted during spring 2015 to investigate the impact of this curricular module on student learning outcomes. This summer, the Edgren Scholar research team will conduct data analysis and draft a manuscript of the study findings, conclusions, and implications.


Professor of Art Ken Steinbach and student Emily Swanberg '16, a double-major in art (B.F.A.) and psychology, will work on the project "The Problem with Creativity." This project will be a continuation of earlier work Steinbach did to develop the “Creative Practices” course, in which he interviewed 50 successful mid-career artists in the hopes of determining activities that support and expand their creative capabilities.

The conversations in these interviews have focused on the structuring of time, the influence of reading, the role of non-objective studio experimentation, and the importance of failure and other oppositional experiences in the studio.

Steinbach and Swanberg will complete another 50 interviews, compile the results, and write a paper on their central findings. The written report will focus on artists who have begun their creative practices in the social and educational climate during the past decade. The intent is to provide insight and resources to these younger artists who tend to face distinctively different challenges that have not been directly addressed in other contemporary research on the creative process.


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