By Madelyn Ostendorf
Nine students from across the country presented research at the Cyclone Scholars Summer Research Experience and George Washington Carver Internship Program Research Symposium July 29 on Iowa State University’s campus. The programs ran for eight weeks this summer, bringing college students from other institutions to Iowa State to work with faculty mentors on research in the students’ interest areas.
The participants in the programs were:
Cyclone Scholars Summer Research Experience
- Aylin Galvan, Lamar University
- Karrington Hall, Southern University and A&M College
- Micah Kimbrough, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University
- Mya Price, Michigan State University
- Rhajani Shepherd, Michigan State University
- Mackenzie Souchek, West Chester University
George Washington Carver Internship Program
- Tyler Jackson, Southern University and A&M College
- Mykah Mares, Southern University and A&M College
- Ayden Mathias, Kirkwood Community College
The research projects represented every corner of agriculture and life sciences, from exploring the effects of distillers grains on turkeys to developing the first steps of a hemp protein powder.
As a culmination of their participation in the programs, the students presented their research as lightning talks, compressing their expertise into five-minute presentations with two minutes for questions from the audience. They were then available in the rotunda of Curtiss Hall, sharing their posters and answering questions about their research process and experience.
“I found out about the Cyclone Scholars Summer Research Experience because I did a research program at my school, and I was the only nutrition major that did it,” Galvan said. “They sent me a bunch of cool research opportunities, and this was one of them. I was really excited; I’ve done research before but nothing on the level of food science, so I was excited to get more involved and get more experience.”
The George Washington Carver Internship Program has accepted students for more than 25 years. Its purpose is to improve the field of research by increasing diversity and the participation of students of color in STEM.
“This is my first time doing research, so it definitely opened my eyes,” Price said. “Finally being able to see everything that goes into a research project really helped me. Now, if I want to do research at my home university, I feel way more prepared.”
Theressa Cooper, assistant dean for diversity in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has served as director of this program for the past eight years. Since starting the program, it has expanded to include graduate students as well as undergraduates. The students also have opportunities to network with faculty and alumni alongside their research.
Shannon Coleman, associate professor of food science and human nutrition, has directed the Cyclone Scholars Summer Research Experience since its inception in 2017. The program merged with the George Washington Carver Internship Program this summer to create one learning community. Since the two programs typically take part in similar activities and events, the decision was made to have all the students come together for learning opportunities. The programs still function separately, as students pursue research based on their fields of interest.
“Administratively, our program funding and structures operate differently, so we are two different programs,” Cooper said. “Interns apply for the specific program that offers lab opportunities of interest to them. The CSSRE program provides research opportunities only in food science and human nutrition-related disciplines. The Carver Program offers internship opportunities in CALS departments.”
The CSSRE program is funded by a grant from the USDA and will continue to run in its current form for as long as the grant allows. In 2019, Coleman received a five-year grant to continue the program.
The George Washington Carver Internship Program is funded by a combination of college administrative funding and support from faculty mentors who request funding for summer interns as part of a larger grant proposal.