Ferris conducts internal research

The general consensus at many Universities is that funding internal research is both an important part of a student’s education and an investment in America’s future.

The National Science Foundation reported in 2012 that Johns Hopkins University has the leading University research budget at $2.1 million. It might come as a surprise that here at Ferris, internal research is also conducted. Students and faculty are awarded thousands of dollars every year to explore work in their fields.

Coordinated by the Office of Academic Research, the Student Research Fellowship provides students full time work for a 10 week summer in collaboration with University faculty. Additionally, the Faculty Research Grant is available to fund initial phases of faculty research necessary to apply for other grants and funding.

Dr. Karen Barkel, Internal Research Program Coordinator, wants students and University faculty to know about the great opportunities that exist in the world of research.

“The whole point of the Office of Academic Research when it got started a few years ago was to try to increase the resources faculty had to do work and especially to involve students in their work,” Barkel said.

A student typically applies in collaboration with a faculty member in their field of study. The Faculty Research Committee, as part of the Office of Academic research, selects around 12 students a year to conduct research under a $3,500 stipend.

Being awarded a grant, though, is no cakewalk for students. Barkel stressed that faculty involvement is key to sustaining growth with these projects.

“Undergraduates come in and go out fairly quick,” Barkel said. However, faculty members undergo research that can develop over years, so students may get involved for a stipend-paid period of time, “then the student graduates and other students come in,” Barkel said. “So the research might be specific to a student. But it’s usually going to be part of a faculty member’s generalized research program.”

One example of such a program was a stem cell research project in 2013 under the supervision of Dr. Jim Hoerter, Professor of Biological Sciences. Students used zebrafish and UV rays to observe the formation of melanoma.

A video on the Ferris website shows a lab with dozens of fish tanks and students working with radiation equipment and computer software to discover the relationship between solar radiation and melanoma.

Other grants have funded research in multiple fields of study including Graphic Design, Communications and Psychology since 2011.

The application process has already begun for research to be conducted during the summer of 2015; the application deadline is Friday, March 6. Dr. Barkel encourages students to ask their professors about what research opportunities are available.

“If students are interested, they might know faculty that are doing research,” Barkel said. “The only real requirement is that the student must be returning to Ferris in the fall.”

There are a variety of other grants available for faculty and students here at Ferris; to see a breakdown of the research funding, the application and abstracts from all previous Student Research Fellowship recipients, visit the Office of Academic Research at ferris.edu.