Making an impact one research project at a time
May 13, 2019 / by Mariam Aburdeineh
Undergraduate students from George Mason University presented the results of their multidisciplinary research and creative projects at the MIX on May 7 for the 8th Annual Celebration of Student Scholarship and Impact.
Sponsored by the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities and Research (OSCAR), the celebration included six oral presentations and 125 poster presentations highlighting student research related to the Mason Impact initiative.
“We’ve always thought about research being the basis of how you make an impact in the world—that’s how OSCAR started,” said Bethany Usher, associate provost for undergraduate education. “Mason Impact adds Mason’s strengths in community engagement, with entrepreneurism and global perspective, and frames it as a way of being able to make a difference as part of your research.”
Project topics ranged from the artistic, such as investigating the chemistry of 1960s photography techniques and analyzing political street graffiti, to the entrepreneurial and scientific, including the study of social robotics and how Adderall affects the development of zebrafish.
After the oral presentations, current students and OSCAR alumni spoke, expressing gratitude for the program and highlighting how it expanded their professional networks, and strengthened their research and presentation skills.
“OSCAR is truly exceptional,” said Farhaj Murshed, a junior statistics major and Honors College student who researched the enslaved children of George Mason and studied organ trafficking in Bangladesh for his second OSCAR project. “It allows you to explore the research that you, as a student, are interested in during your undergraduate time here at Mason with ample financial support.”
“Regardless of what your major is, [Mason] believes that you have something to contribute to the wider community,” added religious studies senior Isaiah Cruz.
Students, faculty and staff had the opportunity to visit students’ posters and asked questions of the students. A ceremony to award the OSCAR Mentoring and Student Excellence Awards followed.
“The most impactful things we do while in school are not just what we do in the more traditional classroom setting, but what we do when we apply what we’re learning to cool projects that we’re passionate about,” said Mason President Ángel Cabrera. “Mason has an impact on you, so you can have impact in the world, and this [celebration] really is the visible proof of what we set out to do.”
OSCAR and Mason Impact plan to promote additional opportunities for student projects in the years to come.
“Our goal is that these opportunities are open and accessible to all of our students,” Usher said.