Researching the research opportunities on campus

Bel Carden, Contributing Writer

Students are always looking for ways to improve their resumes and gain real-world experience during their time on campus. The University encourages students to join organizations, complete internships, and work on research projects to further their educational and personal growth.


Below is a sampling of the University’s different research centers and ongoing student projects.


The Center for Social Science Research


Although most associate research focuses on the “hard” sciences like physics, chemistry, and biology, there exists a large community of researchers dedicated to the social sciences.


On campus, the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) offers many opportunities for students to learn about the key tools necessary to conduct community-based research. The center’s mission is to “advance social science research at Bucknell University.”


The CSSR teaches students the necessary skills in developing poignant research in the social sciences. They underscore the importance of deep understanding, strong connections, and focused driving questions in social science research.


Furthermore, the CSSR emphasizes that the “field” in which social researchers work in is not a physical place, but rather an environment facilitated by the connections they develop with their subjects.


The CSSR believes researchers should strive to become effective interlocutors in their communities. The CSSR works to prepare students through engaging in a diverse variety of social skill ranging from open-ended interviews, ethnography, statistical analysis, and field surveys. The Center for Social Science Research is located in 103 Academic West and can be reached by phone at 570-577-2822.


Spotlight on a project


Students can also work on research within some of the more traditional science fields. One project that is currently underway centers on the mating of fruit flies and how infection influences this process. Although one would assume the female flies would be more attracted to the healthy, non-infectious male flies, this is not the case, as female fruit flies tend to be attracted to the infected males.


“Because this was such a surprising finding, it has been a really fun project to work on. It can be really interesting to discover something that differs from what people intuitively think,” Assistant Professor of Biology Moria Chambers, who is in charge of the research project, said.


Moreover, the more severe the infection, the more females are influenced by it. This raises the question surrounding the type of infection that is the most influential, or if the manner through which the flies receive the infection furthers its effects.


Benefits of research


Chambers explained the benefits of research. “One of the many benefits is really getting to take what you learn in the classroom and getting to do independent inquiry in the lab and getting to see that information in a real, applied context,” she said. Chambers also stated that through working with the organism you read about, students can develop a whole new perspective on a topic.


Students not only further their knowledge of the subject area explored, but also develop helpful time-management skills.  Chambers noted that lab-work creates valuable, life-long skills, such as organization and foresight in planning. “For us to do an experiment, we must plan the whole progress with not only our own schedules in mind but the timelines of the organism we are working with as well,” Chambers said.


Another ability learned through research is communication. Students must communicate their findings to the rest of the world in a way that people who know nothing of the subject can understand. Students practice their communication skills through poster-presentations and oral presentations, both on and off-campus.


Whether you feel strongly about social or scientific research, there are many opportunities on campus to discover your niche. All you have to do is put a little bit of research into finding your own perfect research project!


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