The recipients of the Junior Scholar Awards for next school year were announced last month. The recipients are: junior Eliakim Alicea-Perichi, sophomores Jon Tjeerdsma and Seth Brenneman, junior Daniel Berntson and junior Jackie Carlson.
Each student works with a different professor on a research project the professor has designed. “The proposals are initiated by faculty members who choose students they want to work with, and the faculty members submit a research proposal that has to meet a certain criteria,” explained Tim Huffman, Chair of the Admissions, Retention and Honors Committee.
“Applications are submitted by January 31, and the decision is made by the ARHC by mid-February,” Huffman said. “There is also a scholarship stipend for the recipients, and the number of recipients varies from year to year.”
Alicea-Perichi is working with Marc Wooldridge. “We’re looking into different programs where percussionists can learn muscle strength building and technique development related to their instruments,” said Alicea-Perichi, an exercise science/biology major.
Wooldridge added, “We’re going to try and publish a percussion technique book that would include both kinesthetical exercises Eli would design and musical exercises I would design. There are a lot of skills required of percussionists, and Eli is going to be designing exercises that would be beneficial to percussionists.”
Tjeerdsma and Brenneman are working with Mark Vellinga. “What we’re going to be doing is working with a LEGO Mindstorms robot,” Tjeerdsma said. “We’re designing and then programming the robot, and our goal is to work on a curriculum using the robot that shows students a practical application for programming in the classroom.”
“It is going to be an exciting opportunity.” Brenneman added “I haven’t done anything like this before, and I’m looking forward to working with my peer and professor on this exciting project.”
Berntson is working with Don Wacome. “We’re going to be working on a book that Professor Wacome is writing, ‘The Material Image,’” said Berntson. “I’m going to be reading what he writes and commenting on that, researching articles he will use, and doing some proofreading work also.”
Berntson is anticipating to this opportunity. “I think this is going to be real fun, and I’m looking forward to the experience,” he said. “I’m also interested to see how research happens at the college professor level and the things that he goes through.”
Lastly, Carlson is working with Scott Monsma. Dr. Monsma and his current junior scholar Tim Truesdell started compiling data and doing research for writing a social networks survey; Carlson joined them as a work study student, and will be continuing their work.
“Last year they wrote the research concerning the survey,” Carlson said. “We’re seeing if the survey will work right now, and next year we’re hoping to distribute it on other college campuses.”
In a way, Dr. Monsma and his students are blazing new territory. “It’s kind of interesting that we’re doing something no one else is,” Carlson said. “Most likely, Tim will be going to a national conference with Dr. Monsma to present what we are doing so far, and hopefully next year I will go with Dr. Monsma to the conference.”