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Scholars’ Table event fosters student discussions about global research

A panel presentation from student researchers and round table discussions over a shared meal allowed students to talk about undergraduate research.

By Sarah Collins ‘18

Elon’s second annual Scholars’ Table event, co-sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Program, the Center for Research on Global Engagement and Intellectual Climate Initiatives, featured friendly discussions, a shared meal and a celebration of mentorship. This semester’s theme – “Making Global Local” – showcased students conducting international research with local implications.

Anya Fredsell discusses her research during the recent Scholars' Table event.

The event, held on Monday, Nov. 6, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Lakeside Meeting Rooms, featured a panel of students conducting undergraduate research. Coordinated by faculty members Meredith Allison, Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler and Paul Miller, Scholars’ Table is open to students across all disciplines and years. After a half-hour panel presentation, students enjoyed a traditional Guatemalan meal while engaging in discussion with peers.

“The hope is that events like this one will help students to engage in interesting and intellectual conversations with one another that support learning beyond the classroom,” says Paul Miller, assistant provost for communications and operations.  “It aligns with Elon’s priorities surrounding undergraduate research, global engagement, intellectual curiosity and connections to the community.”

Each of the six students who presented at Monday’s event is conducting research around diasporas — populations of people who have settled outside their homelands. The panel discussion was moderated by Lindsay Maldari '19. 

Caroline Dean, a senior Honors Fellow and student coordinator of the Scholars Table event, is researching a Guatemalan Diaspora in North Carolina. In celebration of her research, a traditional Guatemalan meal was served at the event.

“Events like the Scholars’ Table help to break down the intimidation that often comes along with undergraduate research,” says Dean. “It was great to see the progression of the conversation at my table as students from every year opened up about their passions and asked questions.”

This marks the second time the event has been held after a successful inaugural Scholars’ Table this past spring, which featured students conducting research on Southeast Asia. The event will be held again over Winter Term and in subsequent semesters.

​Scholars’ Table Fall 2017 Panelists

Researcher: Bonnie Bloxom
Mentor: Amanda Tapler, senior lecturer in public health studies

Project: Bonnie is conducting research in collaboration with the Comprehensive Rural Health Project, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to providing community-based primary health care to marginalized groups in rural Indian society. Her research specifically focuses on the impact of village health workers on hypertension rates and health outcomes in rural Indian society. She will be traveling to India this upcoming January and summer 2018 to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. 

Researcher: Caroline Dean
Mentor: Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, professor of psychology

Thesis Research: Dean is conducting a cross-cultural analysis of parents' perceptions of risky play in outdoor environments. She is currently analyzing interviews that were conducted with both Guatemalan and U.S. parents in her hometown of Morganton, N.C. 

Researcher: Anya Fredsell
Mentor: Amy Allocco, associate professor of religious studies

Project: Fredsell is conducting a bi-located ethnographic research project in South India and Atlanta that investigates authority, gender, and religion in modern yoga traditions. 

Researcher: Amy Mullan 
Mentor: Mussa Idris, assistant professor of anthropology

Project: Mullan is conducting semi-structured narrative-based interviews with newly resettled refugee mothers living in Guilford County, N.C. During these interviews, participants discuss their experiences with and attitudes towards breastfeeding, access to healthcare and other essential services for newly settled families living in Guilford County, N.C.

Researcher: Bear Tosé
Mentor: Jessica Carew, assistant professor of political science

Thesis Research: Tosé's thesis looks at the influence of the Greensboro Participatory Budgeting Initiative on civic engagement and political efficacy of marginalized and underrepresented communities. He is currently performing a case study on the initiative, which involves interviewing governing officials, surveying citizen participants, and evaluating the process as a whole.

Researcher: Sophie Zinn
Mentor: Brian Pennington, professor of religious studies

Project: Zinn is comparing various European approaches to secularism, and using Denmark as a case study to understand how identity and belonging of religious minorities and migrant populations are impacted by certain understandings of secularism. She will be going abroad in the spring in order to conduct interviews and understand the impact of Denmark's secular structure on various populations. 

Moderator and Researcher: Lindsay Maldari
Mentor: Evan Gatti, Associate Professor of Art History

Project: Maldari's research revolves around the Italian Fascist magazine "La Difesa della Razza," a racial propaganda publication created to provide an ideological backing for the Fascist regime's colonial mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Lindsay seeks to destabilize this racial rhetoric by recontextualizing the magazine's numerous art historical references so as to highlight the contradictions that abound in their fascist utilization.

Owen Covington,
11/14/2017 1:40 PM