2011 Annual Student Scholars Day provides ‘framework for discovery’

Katherine Butler poses in front of her Student Scholars Day project - Does Gender Still Matter?: Women Physicians Self-Reported Medical Education Expenses

Eric Coulter

Katherine Butler poses in front of her Student Scholars Day project – “Does Gender Still Matter?: Women Physicians’ Self-Reported Medical Education Expenses”

Anya Zentmeyer

Senior Matthew Boeve thinks research is a lot like “Miracle Grow for your brain.” As a biomedical science major at Grand Valley State University, Boeve said research has not only helped him grow as a student and a scientist, but also improved his work ethic.

Boeve is one of more than 600 students that participated in the 16th annual Student Scholars Day Wednesday. Sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, Student Scholars Day is an event that showcases student research and scholarship at Grand Valley State University.

Boeve first started his research under Dan Bergman, an associate professor in the biomedical science department. Boeve is studying pre-med and will head to Kentucky in August to start medical school.

After Bergman showed him an article about fish capable of recognizing and reacting to symbols, Bergman wanted to see if crayfish could do the same, so Boeve got on board. His presentation was titled, “Visual Learning and Discrimination of Abstract Shapes by Crayfish.”

“At first I was, ‘Crayfish?’ But I talked to Dr. Bergman, and the more we talked and worked together, I began to understand that there is a lot of interesting things that a person can do with an simple-minded invertebrate,” Boeve said. “Well, interesting to me anyway.”

Senior Katherine Butler’s research titled “Does Gender Still Matter?: Women Physicians’ Self-Reported Medical Education Experiences” used in-depth analysis of self-reported experiences of 25 women physicians from multiple specialties from semi-structured interviews Butler conducted. Through her research, she identified areas of improvement for medical education to increase the delivery of quality health care for women.

Since the completion of her research, Butler has presented posters at two national conferences and had her abstract published in the March 2011 issue of the Journal of Women’s Health.

“Participating in the Student Summer Scholars program has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate career, and I hope to continue research throughout my medical training,” Butler said.

Susan Mendoza, director of Undergraduate Research and Integrative Learning, said through the research experience, Student Scholars Day teaches students to learn how to ask questions and how each of the disciplines can provide a framework for discovery.

“This is why we are here, for learning and scholarship,” Mendoza said. “Graduate schools and employers value this type of work. Student Scholars Day gives us an opportunity to showcase it.”

Boeve said he encourages students to get on board with Student Scholars Day not only for the experience but also for resum?© rights, especially upperclassmen in the sciences who will enter the workforce.

“Besides,” he said, “I would love to tell my kid someday that I met the person who cured cancer when he or she was still studying fly brains.”

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