Research & Discovery

Image: Research & Discovery

Research is the process of discovery. No matter the project, the researcher is doing something no one else has done before.

At its core, the newly established Office of Scholarly Endeavors supports and celebrates student research, scholarship, and creative inquiry across Hiram College’s many disciplines and majors. The Office gives students the opportunity to learn things that aren’t often covered in class and to work on unusual and interdisciplinary projects.

Steve P. Romberger, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and director of the Office of Scholarly Endeavors, shares the necessity of research: “All the skills you’ve practiced in research, such as problem solving, thinking on your feet, documenting your process and results, communicating your findings, etc., are all skills that are valuable in your next steps, whether that’s medical, veterinary, or graduate school, non-profit work, launching a business or starting a career.”

To that end, the Office is the home of multiple, non-departmental, specific initiatives and programs with a significant student research component or emphasis. It also aims to help Hiram faculty and staff integrate student research into their own on-going scholarship

Four major programs are promoted by the Office: experiential research opportunities, Celebration of Experiential Learning, Sugar Day, and Choose Ohio First Scholars.

Experiential Research Opportunities

From the moment students arrive on campus, Hiram helps them become the best student they can be. Students’ academic experiences don’t include just a schedule full of classes. It’s a powerful combination of what they learn in and outside the classroom and how ideas introduced in one place help you understand concepts in another. There are three ways students make connections between the classroom and the world: interning, studying away, or completing a guided research project.

The Office of Scholarly Endeavors supports guided research projects in a variety of ways: funding research opportunities, helping faculty build student research programs, assisting students in obtaining academic credit for their research activities, and providing opportunities for students to present their findings.

Celebration of Experiential Learning

Every year, Hiram College hosts a poster session in the fall semester to celebrate and showcase the scholarly work and experiential learning of its students and faculty members. Started in 2009, the event has grown to welcome all forms of experiential learning and has added an evening faculty poster session and networking opportunity. Over the years, students and faculty from nearly every program on campus have participated.

With various research locations spanning from Hiram’s own James H. Barrow Biological Field Station to Northwoods and beyond, the work is as diverse as their disciplines. Research projects cover field, lab, and archival work, programming, translations, outreach, and many others. Past projects include “The Grasslands Enhancement Program,” “Los Angeles Angels DSL Baseball Internship,” “Application of Water Quality Testing at James H. Barrow Biological Field Station,” and “Epigenetic Regulation of Lung Epithelial Development by the SWI/SNF Proteins ARID1A and ARID1B” funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Sugar Day

Sugar Day is one of Hiram College’s oldest traditions. This event parallels the Celebration of Experiential Learning but takes place in the spring semester. The first Sugar Day was held in the 1850’s when Hiram resident Alvah Udall invited students and faculty from the College to his sugar camp to make maple syrup for community residents. Well-received, the event was repeated year after year, with added celebrations and excitement.

Transforming over the years, the “Day of Running Sap” went from a fun maple syrup making event to a day celebrating community and service. Recently, Sugar Day was revamped into a day of scholarship that showcases student presentations and academia. Examples of past presentations include: “What is the Relationship Between Employee Benefits and Retention Rates,” “Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression,” “Taking a Step in the Right Direction: Walking Forward Vs. Walking Backwards Post Operatively,” “Implicit Bias Education for African American Maternal Care,” and “Identifying Spatial Bias in eBird Data.”

Choose Ohio First Scholars

Hiram is one of a select number of colleges and universities to participate in the prestigious Choose Ohio First Scholarship program. Sponsored by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the program’s goal is to increase the number of Ohio students pursuing majors and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine).

Students are eligible to become a Choose Ohio First Scholar (COF Scholar) if they major in one of the following fields: biochemistry, biology, biomedical humanities, chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, neuroscience, physics, or nursing.

At the beginning of each year, COF Scholars are introduced to one another at a kick-off mixer. In addition to receiving a significant scholarship, they join a distinctive community made up of students across the STEM disciplines, learning to communicate and innovate across disciplinary divides.

Throughout both semesters, COF Scholars engage the research, medical, and entrepreneurial communities of Northeast Ohio through a series of panel discussions, field visits, presentations, and more. These events are followed by group discussions and a reflection period. COF Scholars participate in, support others, and learn about different scholarship engagement by attending the Celebration of Experiential Learning, Sugar Day, and other opportunities on campus.

The mission of Hiram College is to foster intellectual excellence and social responsibility, enabling our students to thrive in their chosen careers, flourish in life, and face the urgent challenges of the times. The Office of Scholarly Endeavors utilizes and promotes research to help Hiram students do just that.