Signpost (Weber, Utah), 2002-01-181
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N INSIDE oThe Volume 64 Issue 52 wsusignpost.com Friday, January 18, 2002 Men's and women's basketball teams will face Montana this weekend, see Page 7. t Off.? f&i ft i .WJ Raising studies to a new level Tanna Barry editor in chief Students conducting research one on one with their professors is common practice at Weber State University. "Undergraduates have more opportunity here than I've seen at any large research institution," Eric Amsel, a psychology professor, said. "What you can get here is unheard of at other public institutions. It rivals the opportunities at private, elite eastern colleges like Vassar." The opportunity for students to conduct research is not limited to any one department. Most department representatives say that having students do research is an important learning process that benefits students and professors alike. "It brings everything alive," Amsel said. "You see the discipline for what it is: in constant flux. "You begin to recognize that the person who stands at the front of the classroom doesn't know all the answers. They are trying to find answers to questions too." The level of involvement in a project varies from student to student. In departments like zoology and psychology, students can register for different courses where they work on research. The level of the course affects how much work the professor and the student do. "Students have a range of capability with research," John Cavitt, a zoology professor, said. "Some know they are interested in doing it but don't know how to go about it. Others have a lot of experience. You just need to know that before so you can gauge their involvement." Students working on their senior theses often do much of the work independently, while students in lower-level research courses simply aid professors in their work. However, students from many different departments have seen their efforts come to fruition as they have presented projects at local, national and even international conferences. Other students have had their research published in papers that they co-authored with professors.Amsel does much of research with students. In fact, he worked with students on five different research studies that were presented at the 2001 Rocky Mountain Psychological Association convention in Reno. 1 lollee Renninger, a 25-year-old WSU student, has presented at RMPA two times and submitted her third proposal this year. Her studies have ranged in topics from culpability in rape to how prior beliefs affect decision making. "There is a lot of satisfaction when you can see the project advance," she said. See Unique page .3 f f i - . i t i John Cavitt, a zoology professor, and his students are Cp O rCll IS investi9i,tin9 ne effects of avian pox on local populations of House Finches (below). Avian pox is a virus characterized by wart-like nodules on the featherless surfaces (above). for the birds Casey Cummings campus affairs editor Not all birds have flown south for the winter. In fact, one particular type of bird, the House Finch, is being captured and studied by a Weber State University professor and several students year-round. This is the second year that the zoology department has conducted the House Finch research project. According to Zoology professor and project overseer John Cavitt, the lab's purpose is to investigate the effects that the avian pox virus has on the finch population. The avian pox virus is characterized by wart-like nodules found on the legs, feet and eyes of the bird. "We capture birds all around the Ogden area," Cavitt said. "We have sites on campus, in a few residential areas and at the Ogden Nature Center. Once the bird is captured we take a variety of measurements, to determine what effects the virus has on the bird." Dirds are captured weekly and examined for lesions. So far. the virus has been found in 20 to 30 percent of the bird population. After students search for lesions, they take blood samples, place identification bands on the bird's legs and gather data about its overall condition. For her senior project last year, WSU student Lori Spears studied the effect the virus has on the male population. She discovered that male .J finches infected with the virus tend not to be as brightly colored as those that are healthy. Females selectbrightly-colored males as mates. "This, of course, can have important consequences on the population," Cavitt said. Students have also discovered that the virus is found more commonly in urban areas than in rural areas. "We have a large number of students that participate in gathering the data," Cavitt said. Some students have gone as far as catching birds at their homes. Zoology student Nancy Summers said participating in the project allows her to apply principles she leams in the classroom. "I've been able to observe animal behavior in a field environment," Summers said. "It's more of a hands-on experience." She also said the project has helped her toward her goal of becoming a veterinarian."I've learned more about animals' behavior and physiology," Summers said, "and it looks good on a resume."Cavitt said that working on a research project often helps motivate a student to continue to work in the field of research. I le said a research project he did when he was an undergraduate helped guide him in becoming a professor. "It develops skills for student that they're not able to get in a structured classroom," Cavit t said. "They develop critical thinking skills and see how the scientific method is practiced." You can reach reporter Casey Cummings by calling 626-7655.
|Title||Signpost (Weber, Utah), 2002-01-18, Vol. 64, No. 52|
|Creator||Weber State University|
|Contributors||Associated Students of Weber State University|
|Description||Weber's current student newspaper, the Signpost, first appeared on September 29, 1937. For two years prior to that time, campus news was disseminated via announcements posted on a bulletin board known as the "Signpost". As a result, the masthead of the first issue of the paper itself featured a rudimentary wooden sign with the title spelled out in rustic-looking letters. Over the years the paper has been published continuously, though the look, size and style has changed several times.|
|Subject||College student newspapers and periodicals; Weber State University|
|Publisher Digital||Stewart Library, Weber State University|
|Source||University Archives LD5893.W55 S5, Stewart Library, Weber State University|
|Rights Management||Public Domain. Courtesy of University Archives, Stewart Library, Weber State University.|