Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Physical Anthropology Undergraduate Opportunities

The American Association of Physical Anthropologists will be holding our annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, from April 11-14th, 2012.  This, to me, is one of the most exciting times of the year, but I am biased. 

The AAPA is making me proud with two opportunities for undergraduate students this year.

AAPA Undergraduate Research Symposium
On the first day of the conference, Wednesday, April 11th, at 6:00, the 2nd Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held.  Abstracts are now being solicited, and are due to Dr. Cara Wall-Scheffler at no later than February 1, 2012. Any abstract with an undergraduate as the first author is welcome. 

William S. Pollitzer Student Travel Award
The AAPA is offering a travel award of $500 to any undergraduate or graduate student AAPA member to attend the meeting (presentation is NOT required). Students are required to write an essay that answers the question: What important article is missing from the current literature in biological anthropology? Give the title and what you think its impact/benefit would be. 

Essay details:
  • No more than 750 words, not including references (this is a strict guideline).
  • Due by January 20th, 2012 to Dr. Agustin Fuentes at by January 20th, 2012.
  • Must be sent as a Word file.
Essays will be evaluated by the AAPA student prize committee with an identification number to mast authors' identities. The average scores from all judges will be used as the basis for deciding the winners of the award, with the AAPA Executive Board giving final approval of the committee’s recommendation. The scoring criteria are:
1. Clarity and focus. 45 points possible
2. Originality of thought and insight. 45 points possible
3. Grammar and spelling. 10 points possible

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

OSCAR construction

Construction on OSCAR (the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research ) has begun!  We (along with the renovations in the Office of Military Services and the Center for Teaching Excellence) are the cause of the racket and dust on the second floor of the Johnson Center, close to the Admissions Office.  The space was a small meeting room and several storage closets before. Hopefully, the majority of the construction will be done by the end of the break, and OSCAR will be open for students and faculty at the start of next semester.  
OSCAR will consist of an outer meeting area with space for an administrative coordinator and a graduate assistant, and a computer kiosk for undergraduate students.  Inside, there will be an office for the Assistant Director of OSCAR and me (as Director of the Students as Scholars initiative and OSCAR). 
All the pictures below are from the new entrance, on the atrium (inner) part of the Johnson Center. 

After initial demolition, with walls gone, but the beginning of an outline of the front desk (Dec 14).  
Starting to frame the back wall, behind the front desk (Dec 15) .

Wallboard up to outline the area of OSCAR (Dec 16).
Wallboard up to outline offices and front desk (Dec 20).

Active Minds Emerging Scholars 2012 Fellowship

The Active Minds Emerging Scholars Fellowship supports undergraduate and graduate projects that expand the body of literature, creative expression, and discourse devoted to mental health, with a particular emphasis on issues relevant to young adult communities. The Fellowship program encourages creativity in the development of a project that reflects interest in behavioral health issues; a wide range of project types are likely to receive funding. Emerging Scholars will be awarded a $750 stipend to support their work and may apply for an additional $250 in reimbursement for material expenses.

Deadline: January 3, 2012

Amgen Scholars Program Summer 2012

The 2012 Amgen Scholars Program provides faculty-mentored summer research opportunities for undergraduates focused on science and biotechnology at ten universities across the US. Students apply directly the to research programs that interest them (links are available through the Amgen Scholars website), and Amgen Scholars from all sites gather at a national symposium held at UCLA mid-summer.

Students in the past have studied functions of telomerase (UCal San Francisco), bio-engineering of malaria test assays (University of Washington), and chemical measurement of oxygen levels of tumors (UCal Berkley), according to Amgen's 2010 Annual Report.

The program is highly selective, but is open to undergraduate students (US citizens or permanent residents) with a GPA of 3.2 and an interest in pursuing a PhD or MD-PhD.  The summer experience is anchored by a national symposium held at UCLA, and all Scholars attend.  Students are provided with travel support and stipden, but the exact amount varies, depending on the university program selected.

Several Mason students have participated in this program in the past, and it was an amazing experience for them.  I encourage you to apply!

Deadline for Summer 2012 Amgen Scholars Program: February, 2012 (exactly date varies by program).

Welcome Rebecca Jones, Assistant Director of OSCAR

The Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research is pleased to announce that Dr. Rebecca Jones will be joining us in January as the new Assistant Director of OSCAR!  Dr. Jones comes to Mason from Austin Peay University, where she established the Office of Undergraduate Research, and was a tenured associate professor of chemistry.

Dr. Jones will be an integral part of the team supporting the Students as Scholars initiative.  Some of her responsibilities will include:
  • Chairing the Student Scholarly Activities Subcommittee of the Students as Scholars QEP Leadership Council
  • Coordinating the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program
  • Working with the OSCAR Fellows to continue our outreach and education efforts 
  • Establishing a social media presence for OSCAR
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jones!

Track C Collaborative Project SDG Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals for Scholarship Development Grants in Track C, for Collaborative Projects, is now available!

The goal of the curriculum revision supported by the Students as Scholars Scholarship Development Grants (SDG) is to provide courses and other experiences in which undergraduate students learn about scholarship and its role at Mason, actively engage in scholarship, and participate in the generation of knowledge.

Track C grants support interdisciplinary and co-curricular projects that have a substantial undergraduate student scholarship component.  Collaborative projects should engage students in either Scholarly Inquiry or Creation of Scholarship (for Research and Scholarship intensive courses). For additional information, please see the Call for Proposals. Track C SDGs can be supported by any program on campus, and are not limited to academic departments.

The digital submission form is now available.  The deadline for Track C SDG Proposals is February 3, 2012.  As always, please feel free to contact us at with any questions.

Track B Curriculum Development Scholarship Development Grants

We have just released the Call for Primary Proposal for the Track B Scholarship Development Grants!  We encourage any department that has been thinking about incorporating student scholarship, inquiry-based learning, undergraduate research, or original creative activities into their undergraduate classes to apply.

Summary of Track B
The goal of the curriculum revision supported by the Students as Scholars Scholarship Development Grants (SDG) is to provide courses and other experiences in which undergraduate students learn about scholarship and its role at Mason, actively engage in scholarship, and participate in the generation of knowledge. Track B grants are aimed at academic departments and support the creation of a scaffolded learning experience for students as they progress through an academic program and develop an understanding of the scholarly work in the discipline or field.  For Track B SDGs, curriculum development and revision should engage students in at least two of the three curriculum levels: Discovery of Scholarship, Scholarly Inquiry, and Creation of Scholarship (for Research and Scholarship intensive courses).

Track B Process
In conversations on campus, OSCAR and CTE have realized that departments need support (time and money) to learn more about details of the Students as Scholars student learning outcomes and models for incorporating these into classes before they can create specific plans for course revision. In response, we have broken the Track B Scholarship Development Grant proposal process into two steps. 

In the Track B Primary Proposals, departments will apply to participate in Curriculum Development Workshops to analyze their undergraduate program so that they can align their courses with the Students as Scholars student learning outcomes and prepare a plan for the secondary proposal focused on specific courses. Workshop participants will receive a $500 stipend for their participation in the workshop and subsequent work with their department on the secondary proposal (and lunch!).

In Track B Secondary Proposals, departments will explain their goals for their undergraduate programs and apply for funds to support the creation or revision of courses at any of the three levels: Discovery, Inquiry, or Creation of Scholarship ("the pyramid").

Timeline for Track B SDGs
January 17, 2012 (11-12a, Robeson Room, Johnson Center): Track B Question & Answer Session
February 3, 2012: Deadline for submission of Track B Primary Proposals (proposal cover sheet is available now)
February 10th, 2012 (11:30a-5:30p) and February 17th, 2012 (9a-3p): Curriculum Development Workshops (department teams need to attend only one day)
April 13th, 2012: Deadline for submission of Track B Secondary Proposals

More detailed information is available on the Call for Proposals.  The proposal is electronic, but a pdf version for planning purposes is now online.

As always, please feel free to contact us at for additional information or answers to your questions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HS-STEM Summer Research Internship

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsors a 10-week summer internship program for rising juniors and seniors majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) disciplines. The DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to conduct research in DHS mission-relevant research areas at federal research facilities located across the country.

The areas of research and location of the sites are mostly outside of the Washington Metro area.  Participating students are paid $5000 and transportation to the site is included.  Students are expected to present the results of their research project in a poster or oral presentation at the hosting site. US Citizenship is required. 

Please note that the application is fairly intensive, so you will want to start early. This is a nice opportunity for students to get science research experience!

Application Deadline: January 5 (application form) and January 12 (postmark deadline for supporting materials)