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Research Granted

April 01, 2020

Lasell Undergraduate Research Excellence

The Lasell Undergraduate Research Excellence (LURE) grant was awarded to five inaugural project recipients in Spring 2020. The program was developed by Associate Professor of Psychology Zane Zheng, who is also Lasell's chair of academic research, with the goal of supporting and promoting student-initiated, faculty-mentored research and creative work.

"This grant will allow students to create new knowledge and explore new territories in their own professional fields while closely collaborating with a faculty member," says Zheng. "It is not tied to a specific course or credit, which gives the recipients the flexibility to use their imagination to ask some interesting questions, search for the best ways to address them, and then find the right solutions to enhance their understanding of that subject matter."

This semester's recipients are Timothy Gilgallon '20 (with Assistant Professor of Athletic Training Christianne Eason), Matthew Holden '20 (with Professor of Exercise Science Marisa Hastie), Carrie He '23 (with Zheng), Gillian Crossman '22 (Associate Professor of History Dennis Frey), and research duo Jason Hirsh '20 and Dakota Menard '20 (Associate Professor of Marketing Janet Huetteman).

He, a freshman psychology major, is eager to use the funding to explore her research topic, "Developing a Cognitive Framework for Writing Base on Neuroscience Data."

"I've always wondered why resumes are formatted a certain way," she says. "We know that employers only look at resumes for an average of six seconds apiece, so this research will look at the best way to capture their attention." Another psychology major, Beverly Banks '23, expressed interest in the topic and began to collaborate with Carrie on the project by using an eye-tracking device.

Hirsh and Menard, like He, are conducting formal research of this nature for the first time thanks to the LURE grant. Their study, "Climate Change Skepticism: A Study of Perception Changes When Introduced to Visual Stimuli," will utilize an online survey to understand how different demographics react to emotional appeals for tackling climate change versus scientific appeals.

"If we can confirm that there is a significant difference between demographics in how they behave, then we can provide a better idea of where activists should focus their attention," says Hirsh.

Adds Menard, "Our results could form a great foundation for marketing to people based on their different backgrounds and common habits."

The LURE grant welcomes applications twice a year, at the start of each semester. Submitted applications are vetted by the Committee on Academic Research Development (CARD) and evaluated based on clarity, significance and impact, methodological soundness, budget appropriateness, and likelihood for presentation or publication. Applicants also receive feedback to help them refine their ideas to better understand grant application processes and sharpen their skills.

"Our goal is for the students to share their research findings with the community, and then eventually give presentations at conferences or publish in journals," says Zheng.

"The LURE grant represents Lasell's unwavering support for Connected Learning. I personally feel very grateful for the process of working with our amazing faculty in enriching students' academic experience and success."