Special Theme: Continuity of Mentoring Undergraduate Research in the Face of Uncertainty

Letter from the Guest Editors for Issue 11.1

Mussa Idris, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology, Elon University

Takudzwa Madzima, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Exercise Science and Chair of the Department of Exercise Science, Elon University

Sabrina L. Thurman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Elon University

Research Article

Adaptive Undergraduate Research Mentoring in a Constellation Model

Abstract: High-quality mentoring relationships are particularly critical sources of support during times of crisis and uncertainty. Adaptive undergraduate research mentoring within a constellation model recognizes that mentees need distinctive types of support over time, and from different mentors in their constellation, including near-peers, faculty, and staff, among others.

Keywords: mentoring, undergraduate research, mentoring constellation, adaptive mentoring, relational mentoring

Sabrina L. Thurman, Ph.D., Elon University
Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, Ph.D., Elon University

Student Perspectives

Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Students Doing Undergraduate Research

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted education at all levels worldwide. Among what has been affected are aspects of university students’ lives, like their well-being, which is linked to their engagement in some activities like undergraduate research. This article looks at the changes in activities and research focus in a research group based in New York City that was initially the epicenter of the pandemic. This paper also looks at the impacts of the pandemic on students who did undergraduate research and how they overcame the obstacles brought about by the pandemic.

Keywords: undergraduate research, pandemic, impact

Alexandrea Papadelias, B.S., Pace University
Lawrence Philips, B.S., Pace University
Baylee Caudill, B.S., Pace University
Fernando Salcedo, B.S., Pace University
Elmer-Rico E. Mojica, Ph.D., Pace University

Research Article

Centering Mental Health and Well-being in Practices of Mentoring Undergraduate Research

Abstract: Due to the great amount of uncertainty caused by worldwide events, the mental health of college students has been greatly impacted. This article discusses two evidenced-based frameworks (i.e., Act-Belong-Commit and Ten Salient Practices) that undergraduate research mentors can keep in mind to center the mental health of their students in their practice.

Keywords: mental Health, belonging, mentoring

Eric E. Hall, Ph.D., Elon University
Caroline J. Ketcham, Ph.D., Elon University
Helen Walkington, Ph.D., Oxford Brookes University


Mentoring Students Through Disruption: The Case for Community-Engaged Research

Abstract: Mentored relationships in the context of community-engaged research is well suited to adapting to disruption given the required flexibility of the projects. We detail how we have mentored students in community-engaged research projects and provide case studies for how we have adapted the projects and mentoring during disruption.

Keywords: community-engaged research, applied learning, public sociology, mentoring through disruption

Julia Waity, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Mitchell Farrell, M.A., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Jennifer Vanderminden, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Jean-Anne Sutherland, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington


Star-Gazing for Global Challenges: A Constellation of Relational Mentorship for Online Course-Based Undergraduate Research During a Pandemic

Abstract: This article provides a description and experiential dialogue regarding a constellation of relational mentorship involving interdisciplinary course-based research projects in an undergraduate online course. With framing provided by the educational developer, two student mentors and the academic instructor reflect on course design features, including mentorship and learning objectives. We explore how these features created a quality experience for undergraduate researchers on the topic of Global Challenges, in reference to the United Nations Sustainability Goals, despite the pandemic effects shifting plans and expectations.

Keywords: undergraduate research, student mentorship, interdisciplinarity, course design, pandemic, global challenges, UNSG

Kara Loy, M.Ed., University of Calgary
Owen Brierley, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Calgary
Kaitlyn Berger, M.P.P., University of Calgary
Kyla Flanagan, Ph.D., University of Calgary


Navigating a Radical Opening for Interdisciplinary STEM Collaboration and Mentoring Amid Challenge and Change

Abstract: This article provides insights from a collaborative grant called “An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Marine Sciences for First-year Students”. Our work is particularly relevant to both the STEM and the educational fields as a means of better engaging undergraduate researchers and their supporting faculty. We offer multiple perspectives and strategies across institutions and disciplines in the context of historical change and challenge.

Keywords: undergraduate research, collaborative grant, STEM research, K-8 school partnerships, educational leadership

Nathan Grove, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Jess Boersma, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Jim Stocker, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Martin Posey, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Laura Jennings, Ed.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Chris Finelli, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
Shawn Bingham, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
James DeVita, Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington
William Sterrett, Ph.D., Baylor University

General Submissions

Research Article

Evaluation of a Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates

Abstract: Research Experiences for undergraduates (REUs) have emerged as co-curricular activities that aid in student learning and achievement. In this article, a first-year physics REU program was evaluated. The perceptions of students and faculty mentors were found to show an overall positive experience with some logistical areas that can be improved.

Keywords: research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), physics, student perceptions, faculty perceptions

Tracy Gastineau-Stevens, M.S., University of Kentucky
Jennifer Wilhelm, Ph.D., University of Kentucky

Research Article

A Portrait of English Department Undergraduate Research Mentors Through Faculty Reflection and Student Input

Abstract: This article examines mentoring undergraduate research in a non-STEM field. Mentoring undergraduate research has received attention in scholarly publications, primarily in STEM areas (Pierszalowski & Buser, 2021; National Academics of Sciences, n.d.; Institute for Broadening Participation, 2012). Attention to mentoring undergraduate researchers in the humanities has been addressed in a more limited set of publications (Behling, 2009; Klos, et al., 2011; Crawford et al., 2014; Grobman & Kinkead, 2010). This study combines two inputs, one qualitative and one quantitative: the self-reflection of three English department faculty members as well as a Qualtrics survey of fifty undergraduates with research experience. We used “Ten Salient Practices of Undergraduate Research Practices of Undergraduate Mentors” (Shanahan et al., 2015) to develop questions for the two sets of participants. The students ranked mentor practices, putting “skills building” at the top, closely followed by an ethic of “caring about me.” Faculty stressed the importance of laddered experiences, breaking complex research projects into discrete steps built on a timeline. From these two viewpoints, we established a baseline portrait for characteristics of faculty mentors in a department of English, which could be helpful to others investigating mentoring in the humanities.

Keywords: undergraduate research, humanities, mentors

Joyce Kinkead, Ph.D., Utah State University
Taylor Franson, Utah State University
Zackary Gregory, Utah State University
Lauren McKinnon, Utah State University
Emily Powell, Utah State University
Kylie Smith, Utah State University
R. Elle Smith, Utah State University
Taylor Wyatt, Utah State University