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Grants awarded to 18 DSU students for research projects

November 10, 2020

Employers are looking for good critical thinking skills in college graduates. One way to develop these skills is research.

“The mission of a researcher is to ask questions and to try out new things to answer those questions,” said Dr. Stacey Berry, associate professor of English and undergraduate research coordinator. Research experience “equips students with experiences and skills that will give them an edge after they finish their degree programs,” she said.

Appropriately enough, research reinforces these statements. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE 2007) showed that doing research with faculty was positively associated with deep approaches to learning and gains in general education, personal and social development, and practical competencies, Berry stated. Also, students who participate in undergraduate research are more likely to have opportunities to present their work at conferences and to have opportunities to publish their research, both of which prepare students to be leaders.

Research grants have been awarded to students at Dakota State for almost 20 years. In 2016, the program separated into programs for undergraduate and graduate students, said Dr. Mark Hawkes, dean of Graduate Studies, professor, and director for the Center of Teaching and Learning. “This provided an opportunity to include not only research but creative and artistic works from the undergraduate community,” he stated.

“Because many of our graduate students have career aspirations in industry and higher education, it’s important for us to cultivate their research abilities,” he said. This enables them to be both good consumers and producers of research by applying a methodologically appropriate research design or creative process and achieve a significant level of academic sophistication beyond typical class projects or research papers. The Graduate Research Initiative solicits proposals from graduate students both on-campus and on-line, which are reviewed by a cohort of graduate peers in a juried process.

Undergraduate Student Mentored Research Initiative Award (SMRIs) winners for 2020-2021 include:

College of Arts and Sciences

  • Jennifer Giles, a biology major from Madison, S.D.; faculty supervisor Dr. Andrew Sathoff. Project title: “Isolation and Characterization of Pythium spp. from South Dakota soils under commercial alfalfa production.”
  • Conner Tordsen, a biology major with chemistry and health minors, from Fairmont, Minn.; faculty supervisor Dr. Andrew Sathoff. Project title: “Pathogenicity and Fungicide Sensitivity of South Dakota Field Isolates of Aphanomyces euteiches.”
  • Olivia D. Hermosilla, a production animation and computer game design double major with an emphasis on art, from West Linn, Oregon; faculty supervisor Daniel Seman. Project title: “Coyote Steals Fire.”
  • Samuel Drummond, a physical science major from Seaford, Victoria, Australia; faculty supervisor Dr. James Maloney. Project title: “Radiation Shielding for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion.”
College of Business and Information Systems
  • Brandon Van Rosendale, a computer information systems major, specializing in business analytics, from Madison, S.D.; faculty supervisor Dr. Rob Girtz.

The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences

  • Keinen Bousquet, a computer science major from Madison, S.D.; faculty supervisor Andrew Kramer. Project title: “Reviving a Dinosaur: Analyzing Web Assembly Compilation Compatibility with Microsoft BASIC for Web Utilization.”
  • Tarek Abdelmotaleb, a cyber operations major, living in Madison S.D.; faculty supervisor Andrew Kramer. Project title: “A Novel C2 Protocol Using CSS Hex Color Codes and HTTP Cookies.”
  • Odin Bernstein, a cyber operations major from Newport, R.I.; faculty supervisor Dr. Josh Stroschein. Project title: “Evading Modern Antivirus Detection.”
  • Steven Masley, a cyber operations major, from Southern Pines, N.C.; faculty supervisor Dr. James Maloney. Project title: “Genetic Algorithm for Radiation Shielding.”

Each faculty mentor will receive $500, each student will receive funding from $300-$500 when the project is concluded.

Graduate Student Research Initiative Award (GSRI) winners for 2020-2021 include:

  • Alicia McNett, Ph.D. in Information Systems; Advisor Dr. Cherie Noteboom. Project title: “A Modern Skills-Based Framework for Informed Curriculum Design.”
  • Martinson Q. Ofori, Ph.D. in Information Systems, specializing in analytics and decision support; Advisor Dr. Omar El-Gayar. Project title: “Empathizing with Health App Users in Application Design: Early Stage Persona Development through Social Media Data Mining.”
  • Giridhar Bojja, Ph.D. in Information Systems, with an analytics major; Advisor Dr. Jun Liu. Project title: “Upper Echelons Social Media Effort and Firm Outcomes – Systematic Literature Review.”
  • Dustin Steinhagen, Ph.D.in Cyber Defense; Advisor Dr. Kevin Streff. Project title: “Privacy Harms in Thought Reform Environments.”
  • Ganga Prasad Basyal, Ph.D. in Information systems, specializing in decision support and analytics; Advisor Dr. David Zeng. Project title: “Impact of Data Characteristics on the effectiveness of Multi-Stage transfer learning using MRI medical images.”
  • Loknath Sai Ambati, Ph.D. in Information Systems, specializing in decision support systems; Advisors Drs. Omar El-Gayar and Nevine Nawar. Project Title: “Design Insights for Self-Management Mobile Applications Using Text Mining: A Multiple Sclerosis Case Study.”
  • Lisa McKee, Ph.D. in Cyber Defense with a dissertation research project in privacy; Advisor Dr. Kevin Streff. Project Title: “Holistic Solution to Data Privacy Assessments.”
  • Olga Perera, Ph.D. in Information Systems; Advisor Dr. Omar El-Gayar. Project Title: “Feasibility Study in Implementation of Physics-Based Transfer Learning in Space Exploration.”
  • Richard Manprisio, Ph.D. in Information Systems with a concentration in computer security and information assurance, from Orland Park, Ill.; Advisor Dr. Cherie Noteboom. Project Title: “How Big Data and Deep Learning can be used for Future Disease Prediction.”

Each GSRI proposal will receive a maximum of $500 to be used for any activities relevant to the research project or the dissemination of its results. Students may use the $500 stipend for data collection, analysis, or results dissemination.

Graduate and undergraduate awardees will participate in the annual University Research Symposium poster session on March 25-26, 2021.


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