Hiram College

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Hiram College has a long academic tradition of providing students hands-on learning experience.

At the Celebration of Undergraduate Research Symposium on Sept. 25, 2014, students from a variety of majors had the opportunity to share their summer research and internship experiences with the Hiram community.

During the summer, students worked either independently, within a group or with the assistance of a professor in the department to answer research questions based on their focus in their respective majors. The following is a sample of their presentations, in their own words:

soudersAaron Acus-Souders ’16, biology major from Enon, Ohio

Research: Data Collection of Abiotic Parameters and Intertebrate and Fish Communities One Year After Restoration Efforts of Eagle Creek

A few years ago, there was a new channel constructed in Eagle Creek (part of the James H. Barrow Field Station), and we studied the difference between the abiotic parameters of our reference site at Silver Creek, which is considered a healthy ecosystem and the new channel, which was constructed a few years ago. We found several major differences between the new channels; the new channel had smaller substrate sides, and had a lot more algae and a lack of tree cover, whereas Silver Creek seemed a little bit more established, and had a more diverse ecosystem with larger substrate, bigger rocks, less algae and a lot more trees. We feel that after a few years and trees develop and the bedload changes with the larger substrate, that the new channel will adapt and become just as healthy an ecosystem as Silver Creek.

How has this hands-on experience enhanced your education at Hiram?

I learned a lot about field biology and the scientific process, and I feel that it’ll really help in the future as I look for careers, because I know what really goes into research and applying biological concepts.

Sarah Thompson ’16, biomedical humanities major from Moreland Hills, Ohio 

Internship: Euclid Police Detective Bureau Investigative Work

Over the summer I did an internship with the Euclid Police Department and I helped them process evidence. So I did things like pattern-dusting; we used ninhydrin solution to find fingerprints, the cyanoacrylate fumer, which is what picks up the powder and the ninhydrin.

How has this hands-on experience enhanced your education at Hiram?

I’m really interested in going into forensics, so this was kind of my foot in the door to it – and especially working with the detectives. I wasn’t really interested in learning the law enforcement aspect, more than I was learning about what they do in the lab and how they do it. It helped me put into perspective where I want to go with what I’m learning at Hiram. During the internship I was learning about law enforcement, too, and laws in general, so that furthered my interested in pursuing political science. It was rewarding.

Jocelyn Schmidt ’16, history and educational studies major from Kent, Ohio

Research: Experiential Education at Sea

This wasn’t a research project in the normal sense; I wanted to know how different education would be outside of a traditional classroom. I worked with students over the summer – a lot of different kids from a lot of different backgrounds, and taught classes onboard a ship. I taught local history classes, I taught a few engineering classes on board, and a lot of sailing classes.

How has this hands-on experience enhanced your education at Hiram?

This is a program that I stumbled upon at Hiram on a study abroad trip, and I started working for the company afterwards. I think that the most incredible part about it was the fact that students are really engaged in their own learning and they have a chance to make decisions about what they want to learn on board, which is something that a lot of high schools don’t really give high school students the chance to do.

I’m so grateful to Hiram for giving me the opportunity to find a program like this. I think that’s something that Hiram does really well as an institution: giving students an opportunity to pursue the things that they’re interested in.

holmesEthan Holmes ’16, management major from Shaker Heights, Ohio 

Internship: In Learning You Will Teach, and In Teaching You Will Learn

I was an intern at the Small Business Development Center. I worked the center director, and I provided assistance to small businesses and other entrepreneurs. I did free business consulting, business plan development and assistance for other small businesses. Some of my tasks and accomplishments were handling client follow-up consultations – I would call business owners about their progress – and I also taught a course called “Social Media for Business: Facebook,” which would show businesses how to use Facebook for their different products or services

How has this hands-on experience enhanced your education at Hiram?

I chose this because the Small Business Development Center director came to me. I met her at an event and she said, “I want you to come and work at my center as an intern.” It definitely gave me real-world experience, made me a better networker, and it allowed me to see different perspectives from other business owners and see their backgrounds.

Caroline Georskey ’16, environmental studies major from Kirtland, Ohio

Research: Functional Groups in the Herbaceous Layer in a South-Facing Successional Beech-Maple Forest

We have a successional maple-beech forest at the James H. Barrow Field Station, which is pretty rare for this area. It used to be what covered the whole of North America, more or less, but it’s dying out, and it has an edge, and that affects what can grow because it’s next to a field. People conserve area and they measure how many acres of the forest are there, but that’s not accurate because the edge of the forest isn’t interior, so native plants can’t grow there and animals that need interior can’t live. So we’re trying to figure out how far into a forest you need to be before you’re actually conserving the foreign fauna.

How has this hands-on experience enhanced your education at Hiram?

I’m more connected to the Field Station; it’s not just a place, but it’s a place where I’ve spent eight hours of my day for a whole summer just squatting on the forest floor with my peanut butter sandwich trying not to be bitten by bees and mosquitoes. It’s a real connection to the college. It’s part of my life now.

Ashley Myer ’17, biology and biomedical humanities major from Parma, Ohio

Research: FrogWatch USA: Monitoring of Frog and Toad Species at the James H. Barrow Field Station

Our research projects had to do with frogs. Our first project was about circadian rhythms in tadpoles of Gray treefrogs and whether or not they relate to adults. The other was on Frogwatch and frog and toad species at the Field Station at Hiram. I found circadian rhythms very interesting because in a lot of organisms, the same genes for circadian rhythms in frogs apply to humans, so it would be really cool one day if our research related to helping humans with jetlag and sleep disorders and other things that affects your circadian rhythms.

How has this hands-on experience enhanced your education at Hiram?

It gave me an insight into how research really is. Lab experiments in class are all set up for you, and research by yourself is really different and crazy. A lot of things can go wrong, so you have to learn and problem solve – and it’s really fun.

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