Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First Undergraduate Travel Grant Recipients

Congrats to the first three students to travel to a conference with support from the Undergraduate Student Travel Fund!  Myurajan Rubaharan, Luis Sullivan, and Waleed Osman presented their research from Dan Cox's lab at the Sigma Xi conference in early November. 

Human Rights Research Forum, VaTech

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to present at Virginia Tech's Deans Research Forum on Human Rights: Witnessing and Responsibility. The website states:

The 21st century demands an interdisciplinary recognition of and a critical wrestling with ideas of human rights in our world, our communities, and our scholarship. As scholars, through our observations, investigations, and research, we are witnesses to a wide range of phenomena that validate and that also deny the human rights of people. Through our findings, interpretations, and conclusions, we, as scholars have a responsibility to the communities that our research serves. All scholarship produces knowledge that is both affected by people and that also deeply affects these communities. Research is both a witnessing and a responsibility. People and communities at home and abroad are inventing their futures in dignity and self-determination. We can learn from them and they can learn from our research. Bringing the best undergraduate and graduate research and creative work in the region together for a one-day conference, Human Rights: Witnessing and Responsibility, will serve as a space where we can investigate these connections across multiple disciplines.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following areas of inquiry:
  • Narrative and human rights
  • The social psychology of dignity
  • Disaster and displacement
  • Community empowerment
  • Civic engagement and energy policies
  • Date rape and silence regimes
  • New media and political mobilization
  • Ethics and cognition
  • Diversity in higher education
  • Globalization and human rights
  • Incarceration and family rights
  • Neoliberal discourses of rights
Conference Date: January 27th, 2012
Proposal Submission Deadline: December 5th, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

SDG Track A Recipients Announced!

Congratulations to the first recipients of the Track A Scholarship Development Grants!  These departments have supportive faculty who are working to revise or create a course that will include authentic undergraduate scholarship, and will be submitted for designation as a Research and Scholarship intensive course.

  • History and Art History: ARTH394 The Museum (Carol Mattusch and Angela Ho)
  • History and Art History: HIST300 Introduction to History Methods (Paula Petrik, Rosemarie Zagarri, Michael Bottoms, Zach Schrag, Marion Deshmukh, Brian Platt, Benedict Carton, and Laura Moore)
  • Biology: BIOL499 Research in Biology (Larry Rockwood)
  • Computer Game Design: GAME322 Story Design for Computer Games (Seth Hudson) UPDATED! (I apologize for accidentally leaving Seth off the original list) 
  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution: CONF490 Integration (Agnieszka Paczynska, Susan Hirsch, Karyna Korostelina, Leslie Dwyer, and Patricia Maulden
  • Criminology, Law, and Society: CRIM495 Capstone in Criminology, Law, and Society (Danielle Rudes and Shannon Portillo)
  • Environmental Science and Policy: EVPP378/BIOL379 Ecological Sustainability (Changwoo Ahn)
  • Rehabilitation Science: RHBS490 Clinical Research Internship (Ali Weinstein and Lynn Gerber)
  • Social Work: SOCW417 Integrative Methods in Social Action and Social Change (Emily Ihara, Dennis Ritchie, and Cathy Tompkins) 

We look forward to working with our colleagues on integrating undergraduate scholarship into their courses!

SDG Information Sessions in November

OSCAR is piloting Students as Scholars Scholarship Development Grants (SDGs) this year. The goal of the SDGs is for programs to create courses and other experiences for undergraduates to learn about scholarship and its role at Mason, actively engage in scholarship, and participate in the generation of knowledge.

We invite you and your colleagues to attend one of our upcoming SDG information sessions to learn more about this opportunity to enhance the curriculum and promote student scholarship at Mason. These information sessions will emphasize Track B SDGs, which support the creation of scaffolded learning experiences for students as they progress through an academic program, along with Track C SDGs, which support interdisciplinary and co-curricular projects that have a substantial undergraduate student scholarship component. Proposals for Track B and C SDGs will be due February 3rd.
Workshops will be held:
  • Monday, November 28th from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in JC meeting room G
  • Tuesday, November 29th from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in JC meeting room G
We look forward to seeing you there!

S-CAR's Annual Undergraduate Conference

The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) is planning their Third Annual Undergraduate Conference for April 19th, 2012. The theme for this year's conference is "Communications Technologies and Conflict Dynamics: Continuity or Change?” 

The last couple of years have witnessed multiple events which suggest that new communications technologies, including mobile phones, the Internet, and social media platforms, are playing a new role in the relationships between people, communities and societies. When discussing the Arab Spring; the spring 2011 riots that swept first through London and later through other cities in England; the San Francisco Bay area BART system shutting down mobile phone coverage as demonstrators were travelling to protest sites; the tragic events on the Rutgers University campus when a young man committed suicide following the internet broadcast of his homosexual encounter; or the Chinese government’s use of social media platforms as a new form of surveillance; and many other current events it is hard to escape the presence of new communications technologies. But what is their impact on conflict dynamics? Are the new communications technologies fundamentally reshaping how people, communities, and societies mobilize and engage others? Or has the role of these new technologies in shaping social mobilization and conflict been overstated and overplayed by the media?

S-CAR's conference is always a great event, and I encourage undergraduates to submit a research paper, multimedia project, performance, or an exhibit for presentation! Any project related to the theme is encouraged, including social media and social mobilization; protests and riots; transnational activism; community relations; cyber-bullying; and electronic platforms and government surveillance.

Website: (scroll down for details)
Deadline for abstract submission: December 5th, 2011
For additional information: Contact Brydin Banning at

GIS Day at Mason

The Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science will host “GIS and the Census: Opportunities for Research and Employment” to mark GIS Day on Wednesday, November 16th, in the Center for the Arts, from 10a to 3:30p

Highlights include a career and internship exhibit, undergraduate and graduate student research poster contest and oral presentations, guest speakers and a free buffet lunch.

Last year, I attended this event and was impressed by the quality of the undergraduate student posters.  Please come by!


Office Coordinator Job Announcement

We are looking for an Office Coordinator for OSCAR! A short description is below, but the longer announcement and directions for applying are at Please forward this to anyone who might be interested. Review of applications will begin November 28th.

OSCAR, a new office that will serve both faculty and students by supporting undergraduate research and creative activities across Mason, seeks an Office Coordinator to assist the Director of Students as Scholars and other members of the OSCAR staff in coordinating the Students as Scholars initiative.  Through OSCAR, we are supporting curricular redesign to include student scholarship, an expanded Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, an annual Celebration of Student Scholarship, and many other activities.

The position requires daily interaction with faculty, staff, administration and students. The ideal candidate will demonstrate strong written, oral and interpersonal communication skills; and take initiative in analyzing and accomplishing tasks. The successful candidate will be flexible, well-organized, professional, curious, a problem-solver, detail-oriented, and able to prioritize and juggle multiple tasks.

Duties will include coordination and support for OSCAR activities by:

  • Receiving visitors and answering inquiries by phone, e-mail or in-person; 
  • Managing calendars for the Director and Assistant Director, scheduling individual and committee meetings, and other events; 
  • Coordinating events including the annual Celebration of Student Scholarship; 
  • Maintaining Students as Scholars fiscal records and performing monthly budget reconciliation; 
  • Preparing travel arrangements; 
  • General office management such as maintaining supply stocks, procurement and inventory; 
  • Drafting, designing and proofreading correspondence and publications; 
  • Managing workflow of multiple application and proposal review cycles; 
  • Maintaining OSCAR files, records and databases; 
  • Coordinating publicity about OSCAR activities including assisting in updating the OSCAR Web site and other social media; and 
  • Other general tasks as assigned. 

The candidate should demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Office products (i.e., Word, Excel and PowerPoint), database management, and should have experience with editorial design programs such as MS Publisher or Adobe Illustrator or InDesign. Knowledge of SunGard Internet Native Banner is desirable. Previous work experience in higher education and a bachelor’s degree are highly preferred.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Spring 2011 URSP Applications available now!

OSCAR is now accepting applications for the spring 2012 URSP.

One of the goals of the Students as Scholars initiative is to increase the opportunities for student to participate in undergraduate research, creative activities, and scholarship. The Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (formerly known as the Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program) provides the opportunity for undergraduate students and their faculty mentors to engage in original research or creative projects with one another, and we are expanding this program to support additional projects.

Accepted students are given a stipend that enables them to undertake nine hours of research-related activities each week during the semester, in addition to receiving travel priority for applications submitted to the Undergraduate Student Travel Fund.  A fund of $500 will also be available to mentors to support the student’s research project.

For more information about the URSP, please read the URSP FAQs.

Students and their mentors are BOTH required to submit an application to the program, which can be found below.  All application materials must be received by Wednesday, November 30th, to be considered for the spring 2012 URSP.

Student application
Mentor application

*You may open these links as many times as you like, but your application will only be saved once you click on Submit at the bottom of the page.  The application cannot be edited once it is submitted, but you can submit a new application and replace the older one if needed.

For more information about the URSP, OSCAR, or the Students as Scholars initiative, please visit or email your questions to

Undergraduate Research Scholars Program FAQs

Undergraduate Research Scholars Program
This program is designed to give undergraduates an authentic research, creative, or scholarly experience.  Student receive financial support for their project, academic credit, and training in relevant academic skills.

Applications for the Spring 2012 URSPs are now available, and will be due November 30th, 2011.

What kinds of projects are supported?
Any undergraduate research, creative, or scholarly project in which the student is contributing to an original scholarly work is supported.

Is the URSP competitive?
Yes. Applications are reviewed by the Student Scholarly Activities Subcommittee of the Students as Scholars QEP Leadership Council.  This subcommittee is made up of faculty and students from across Mason, and applications that show the most potential for student success will be chosen.

How do I apply?
Application are available towards the end of each semester for the following semester. Spring 2012 applications are due November 30th. Students should meet with their potential faculty or staff mentor before writing the application to outline a reasonable project and to assure their support of your application and your project.

Do I have to be an honor’s student to participate?  Is there a minimum GPA?
Any undergraduate student who is in good academic standing may apply to work on a project as a part of the URSP.  We do require that you remain in good academic standing (which means maintaining at least 2.0 GPA) while working on the project.  That being said, higher grades, especially in the areas you want to study for your project, will make you a stronger candidate for the URSP. The Student Scholarly Activities subcommittee will look at your transcript from PatriotWeb when considering your application to make sure that you have the academic background to complete the project. 

What is expected of me?
There are several expectations for URSP students.

For the first semester that you are in the URSP, you will be required to attend a weekly seminar that provides professional development for you as a scholar.  The goals of this class are to teach students basic scholarly skills, increase your ability to communicate professionally about your work to diverse audiences, and to encourage you to make satisfactory progress on your project. 

You will need to work on your project for the equivalent of nine hours per week during the initial semester, and should document your hours with your faculty supervisor and URSP seminar instructor.

Students who participate in the URSP are expected to share the results of their research in a professional environment.  This can be a public performance at Mason, at a Mason college celebration of student scholarship, at a national or regional conference, or other settings.

What support will I get?
URSP students are allocated $1000 for the first semester in the URSP that is paid directly to your student account to support your participation in the project. You and your faculty advisor need to work together to create a budget in your URSP application.  The faculty mentor is also allocated $500 to support either their supplies or time working with you on the project.

As a participant in the URSP, you will have priority to receive travel support through the Undergraduate Student Travel Fund to present the results of your scholarship at a scholarly meeting, conference, exhibition, etc.

In addition to the monetary support, you get professional development support through the URSP seminar that you will attend the first semester you are in the URSP.  You are signed up to receive advanced notification of OSCAR events, undergraduate opportunities, and other news as part of the Students as Scholars initiative.  Students who participate in URSP are also potential nominees to be an OSCAR Fellow, outstanding undergraduate research leaders who represent Mason’s Students as Scholars program to other students, parents, and the community.

Finally, participation in this program is an honor and an opportunity.  You are being recognized as a budding scholar in your field, so you are able include the program on your resume or vita. But more importantly, you are gaining professional and personal skills in creative problem-solving, working professionally with colleagues, and communicating effectively that will enrich your Mason experience and your post-graduation life!

What is expected of my faculty mentor?
Your mentor will help guide your through your project proposal and should work with you on a regular basis to help guide you through your project.  The faculty mentor should treat you as a colleague and give you opportunities to understand the scholarly context of your project. Given the different models of mentorship in each discipline, this relationship will be variable. In some cases, you may be given a graduate student or other mentor to work more closely with you on a daily basis.

Can I continue beyond the first semester?
Yes!  Students who successfully complete the first semester are welcome to apply for continuation of their project through the URSP (a simple renewal application, signed by you and your mentor, will be available). Students who are making satisfactory progress on a research project are welcome to continue in the program until their project is complete and/or graduation.

How can I get additional information?
Contact OSCAR at