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Conducting Defining Research: A Defining Experience for Undergrads

Posted on July 22, 2014 7:43 am by Lauren Kirkpatrick

Student researcher Ann Paschall works alongside Prof. Ann Ross.

Student researcher Anna Paschall works alongside Professor Ann Ross.

Creating new knowledge. It's one of the big benefits of studying at a research-intensive university like NC State. And conducting important research is not reserved for faculty and graduate students; we encourage undergrads to conduct research, too.

CHASS Associate Dean Vicki Gallagher has spearheaded our college’s drive to get more undergraduates involved with research. Students can propose research projects and work with faculty mentors, supported by small grants made possible through, among other sources, contributions to the NC State University Foundation. "These research projects give students hands-on mentoring in how to be a researcher," says Gallagher. "It's akin to an apprenticeship. And while the experience has a profound and lasting impact on the students, the resulting research produces new knowledge that is of value to others as well." Gallagher hopes to make funds available again this year.

In the video below, three students describe their projects: Daniel Gallagher (Communication, '13), worked alongside Assistant Professor of Communication Nicholas Taylor on a mixed methods analysis of the growth and development of the electronic sports scene globally, and at the hugely popular League of Legends game specifically. Kevin Farrow (English, '13) worked with Associate Professor of English Huiling Ding  to look at retracted publications in the field of engineering as a way to study misconduct such as plagiarism and falsification of evidence. Anna Paschall (Biological Sciences '16) was mentored by Professor of Anthropology Ann Ross as she investigated how to estimate the size of bullets from cranial gunshot wounds.

Want to support student research? You can make a life-changing experience possible for a student with your gift to the CHASS Enhancement Fund.

This video was produced by students in COM 437, Advanced Digital Video, in 2014.

In Ancient Artifacts, A Newfound Passion

Posted on June 17, 2014 10:20 am by Lauren Kirkpatrick

Jordan Karlis describes herself as an "incredibly shy" incoming student at NC State. That's hard to imagine when you see the confident, articulate senior in this video. But listen as she describes how the archaeological dig she worked on in Petra, Jordan -- the Petra North Ridge Project -- changed her life. Take note of her enthusiasm for the research that has given her a window to the ancient past. Hear her describe what a privilege she finds it to work with pieces of pottery that are 2,000 years old -- how connected she feels to the people who once used them. You understand the transformation this first-generation college student has undergone as she conducted research and studied abroad. She has found her passion.

Since she participated in the Petra dig in 2012, Karlis, who's majoring in history and in anthropology, has been immersed in a research project related to the Petra artifacts under the mentorship of  Professor of History S. Thomas Parker. She returned to Amman, Jordan, in 2013 to present her research findings at an international conference."For an undergraduate to give a paper at an international conference is quite a feather in anyone's cap," says Parker, who has served on archaeological expeditions in the Middle East for more than 30 years. "I'm really proud of her."

The featured video was produced by NC State undergraduate students of COM 437, Advanced Digital Video, in 2014.

Virtual MLK Project: Fill Up The Jails

Posted on June 6, 2014 12:46 pm by Lauren Kirkpatrick

Fill Up the Jails MLK giving speechThe sanctuary of White Rock Baptist Church was filled with 1,200 people on the evening of Feb. 16, 1960, probably the biggest gathering possible on a wintry Tuesday night in the Bull City.

It was just a few days after the historic Woolworth’s sit-ins in nearby Greensboro, and the room was full of activists, students and local residents who were eager to hear what the speaker at the special midweek meeting had to say about the students’ nonviolent civil disobedience against segregation.

What they heard was the Rev. Martin Luther King’s first public call to break the law with their protests.

“Let us not fear going to jail,” King told students who were staging similar sit-ins in Durham. “If the officials threaten to arrest us for standing up for our rights, we must answer by saying that we are willing and prepared to fill up the jails of the South.

“Maybe it will take this willingness to stay in jail to arouse the dozing conscience of our nation.”

The full text of King’s original speech, officially titled “A Creative Protest,” is available here.

Virtual MLK Project

On Sunday, June 8, at 3:00 p.m., noted MLK actor Marvin Blanks will re-create King’s speech at White Rock’s current location on Fayetteville Street in downtown Durham. The original site was demolished long ago to make way for the Durham Freeway.

The re-enactment is part of the Virtual Martin Luther King Project, a digital humanities research study by NC State communication professors Matt May and Victoria Gallagher to understand how oral recordings are perceived given alternate viewpoints and settings. Three different audio recordings of the re-enactment will be available through a website to be created later this summer.

This is the first phase of a larger project that seeks to follow in the footsteps of English professor John Wall’s Virtual Paul’s Cross project, featuring a digital re-creation of a sermon given in the medieval London churchyard.

The event at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday is free and open to the public at White Rock Baptist Church at 3400 Fayetteville St., Durham, N.C.

By Tim Peeler. This article originally appeared in the NC State Bulletin.

May Student of the Month

Posted on May 12, 2014 4:07 pm by dlleeder

student Laken GeigerMeet Laken Geiger, CHASS Student of the Month

Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC

Class:  Junior

Major:  Communication

Minor: Arts Entrepreneurship

Sample Courses:

  • Case Studies in Public Relations
  • Principles of News Article Writing
  • History of Art from Ancient Greece Through the Renaissance


  • Intern, Arts For Life at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, Winston-Salem, teaching art to pediatric patients: Summer 2014
  • Study Abroad in Prague, Czech Republic: Spring 2014
  • Freelance photographer
  • Marketing Intern, Visual Art Exchange (Raleigh nonprofit): Summer 2013
  • Account Manager, Shelten Media: Spring/Summer 2012
  • Intern, Level 23 (fashion boutique)
  • Member, Public Relations Student Society of America
  • Member, Habitat for Humanity


Dean’s List

Postgraduate Plans:

Public relations in an art-related field.  Build community and promote the arts through work in the nonprofit arena.

Why did you select CHASS?

I knew I wanted to do Communication.  We see and use it all the time, but are unaware of its significance and how to make the most out of it.  The majors in CHASS offer a lot of flexibility, so you are able to add minors or explore other areas within your CHASS degree.  Other colleges here seem more narrowly focused.

What has been your greatest challenge at NC State?

Learning to be “teachable,” which really means having an open mind and being willing to learn, evolve and change.

What did you learn during your recent study abroad?

In addition to two lecture classes, I took a six-credit photography studio that really helped to reinforce what I am capable of doing.  It allows students to embrace creativity and helps them form who they are.  It was also exciting and eye-opening to study in a location where I did not know the norms, and where there was a different speed of life.

What advice would you give incoming students?

Allow yourself to try new things.  Keep your options open.  I did not have any particular expectations from my Intro to Art History course, but it quickly became my strongest and most loved subject, and prompted me to declare a minor in art.  That is the type of inspiration you should permit yourself to experience.

This is What Science Looks Like at NC State

Posted on May 7, 2014 1:42 pm by Lauren Kirkpatrick

Lori Foster Thompson, professor of psychology, makes sure to include adventure in her travels as here, surfing in Hawaii.

Lori Foster Thompson, professor of psychology, makes sure to include adventure in her travels as here, surfing in Hawaii.

NC State's research blog, the Abstract, has initiated a series of posts that highlight the diversity of researchers involved in science and technology at our university. Featured CHASS faculty include:

Lori Foster Thompson, a professor of psychology who specializes in industial-organizational psychology -- the science of work. Thompson says her particular focus area concerns "how to combine that science with the possibilities afforded by emerging information and communication technologies to empower and enable the well-being and development of people, and the nations they comprise, through satisfying, meaningful, productive work that plays to and builds on their unique strengths." Foster Thompson is an NGO representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Her research has been covered by outlets from Marketplace to Scientific American.

Ann Ross, a professor of anthropology who studies human bones. "I use my expertise to help law enforcement solve crimes," she writes. "I have worked on issues ranging from war crimes in Eastern Europe to political violence in Latin America to identifying remains in the wake of natural disasters. I also examine human remains to help us learn more about historic and prehistoric cultures; bones can tell us things that were never written down."

Lynsey Romo, an assistant professor of interpersonal and health communication. Romo says she studies communication about uncomfortable issues, particularly surrounding money, weight, and healthy but deviant behaviors (e.g., not drinking alcohol) in hopes of helping people talk about these matters more effectively. Most recently, her research about educating girls about financial investing was featured in Time.