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Teams selected for 2013 FUSE program

Meg Smith FUSE Group
Student Andrea Wilson, Dr. Erin Barding, and Dr. Margaret Smith are researching the evolution of pesticide resistance in a soybean pest.

From testing the evolution of pesticide resistance to looking at the effects Disney princesses have on female Americans, the members of the 2013 Faculty-Undergraduate Summer Engagement (FUSE) program have begun preparing for their various projects.

The FUSE program, which is run through the University of North Georgia's Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA), involves an eight-week research marathon in which students—guided by their faculty mentors—explore areas that may not be covered in their typical coursework.

"The FUSE program is unique in that it supports high-quality, intensive research and creative activities during the summer by providing a stipend to both faculty and students," said Dr. Miriam Segura-Totten, director of CURCA. "Very few institutions provide stipends for faculty to participate in summer research. I am proud that UNG can support faculty in this way."

Segura-Totten added that besides representing varied disciplines, this is the first time FUSE will be representing two campuses—UNG's Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses—and said that the teams chosen are a great reflection of the excellent work that happens at UNG.

"I am confident that the work that comes out of the FUSE program this summer will exemplify the level of excellence of the University of North Georgia," Segura-Totten said.

One example of the diverse disciplines that will be covered in FUSE this year is the collaboration between student John Dees and Dr. Anastasia Turner, assistant professor of English. Their project will involve a unique pairing of subjects to provide a deeper understanding of a novel being covered in Turner's class.

"John Dees and I realized on the way back from the Georgia Collegiate Honors Conference that we could combine his experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with the novel I was currently teaching in my class," Turner said. "Thanks to the collaboration and funding from FUSE, we’ll be taking two completely different disciplines and working with them simultaneously."

Dees and Turner will be using GIS to map Los Angeles as it was during the timeframe of Karen Tei Yamashita's novel Tropic of Orange to better understand transnationalism as presented in the book. Turner said this is an excellent opportunity to move learning out of their narrow disciplinary frameworks to engage it in new and interesting ways.

This year's FUSE teams include:

  • Andrea Wilson, mentored by Dr. Erin Barding and Dr. Margaret Smith. "Is resistance futile? Evolution of pesticide resistance in a common soybean pest."
  • Audrey Barrett, mentored by Dr. Evan Lampert. "Catalpol Sequestration and Trophic Ecology of the Catalpa Sphinx."
  • Jimma Blackwell, mentored by Dr. Jeanelle Morgan and Dr. Jennifer Mook. "Chromogenic media as a diagnostic tool for salmonella detection in poultry environmental samples."
  • John Dees, mentored by Dr. Anastasia Turner. "Remapping Los Angeles: Using GIS to Understand Transnationalism in Karen Tei Yamashita’s 'Tropic of Orange.'"
  • Rebecca DeCarlo, mentored by Dr. Kelly Cate. "Childhood treasure or damaging media outlet? The effect of Disney princesses on the self-esteem, body satisfaction, and self-perception of women and girls in America."
  • Melissa Deese, mentored by Dr. Bryan Dawson.  "Understanding Perceptions and Triggers of Self-Harm: An Assessment of Behavior and Alternative Guilt Reduction Study."
  • Morgan Hale and Lauren Cook, mentored by Dr. Chuck Robertson. "Collaborative memory: Maximizing the benefits and minimizing the costs of working in groups."
  • Jillian Conner and Sydney Dye, mentored by Stanley Bermudez. "The American flag, Dahlonega, and the University of North Georgia."

Also, the UNG Cognition Lab Summer Scholars Program is sponsoring two research projects this summer:

  • "How does the presence or absence of a dominant personality change collaborative memory," by Lauren Cook and Morgan Hale.
  • "Does collaborative retrieval enhance later encoding via organizational processing," by Dominique Thomas.

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