Western New Mexico University Student Research and Professional Development (SRPD), funded through a student fee, has sponsored student research assistants and scholars this summer. The WNMU Scholars program, started in the summer of 2017, allows student to pursue their own research projects. The WNMU Research Assistant program, started in summer of 2019, allows faculty to recruit students to collaborate on their ongoing research projects. Throughout their summer experiences with individual faculty mentors, the students are invited to come together by Zoom to share in their experiences. The first of three virtual gatherings took place on Thursday, June 9, when participants offered these reflections about the program and their experiences so far.
“What a great steppingstone to the future of research and to the field of social work!” reflected Brandon Broussard, a Master of Social Work student and summer scholar in Louisiana, who is preparing to contribute to his future fieldwork through his project reflected. He shared how he is drawn to study what he calls teacher trauma, noting how teacher preparation programs and ongoing professional development are needed to address the trauma that many teachers experience through their essential role.
“This program has opened my eyes to an entire field I didn’t know was within reach. I wish I had known about this program as an undergraduate student,” said Master of Business Administration student Katie Quinn, who is working as a research assistant with psychology professor Dr. Jenny Coleman.
“I appreciate the mentorship I receive as a research assistant, as well as the exposure to multiple topics within sociology,” said Zoe Chatterton, a research assistant working with Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Andreea Nica.
“Having the chance to work on a research project has been incredibly engaging and informative. I am so excited to see how my research and everyone else’s turns out,” said Madison Gardner, a summer research assistant working with Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Mark Chu.
Dr. Nica said, “Creative research collaboration is what creates innovative work and social dents in society.”
“For the students in the Student Research and Professional Development summer programs, the sky is the limit,” Dr. Jenny Coleman shared. “They are just starting their research journey, and this experience will be part of their academic story forevermore. Their projects are exciting, but even more than that is the enthusiasm and passion that they convey when they talk about their projects. The students at WNMU, including the student government representatives who allocate fees to the initiative, should be proud of this unique student-funded program.”
The spring of 2022 marked 10 years since the concept of Student Research and Professional Development funds had first been proposed and funded through student fees.
Students interested in Student Research and Professional Development opportunities at WNMU can learn more about the program and connect with the faculty managers of the program here. https://academic.wnmu.edu/student-research/