Collaboration is a True Discipline

Jacksonville, FL— Prairie View A&M University’s College of Agriculture and Human Science (CAHS) provided 65 faculty, staff and students a chance to highlight research at the 17th Biennial Research Symposium of Association of Research Directors, Inc. (ARD) April 6-10. The symposium provided a dynamic venue where academics and real-world practitioners, through spirited dialogue, oral and poster presentations, linked theory and practice in a professional environment.

An enriching experience is provided when a student conducts research, is exposed to problem solving and prepared to successfully enter and adapt to society after their college years. Thus, the CAHS researchers instill the importance of exploring issues from multiple disciplines by promoting interdisciplinary research and collaboration because research gives something that the classroom can not completely do.

“Exposure to research at the undergraduate level is essential to students who want to go to graduate school,” says Dr. Godson Osuji. “Or when they get in the real world and have a large project that requires hands-on experience with the collaboration and teamwork required to combine the work of different people in a finished product, our students will have an advantage because we equipped them for discovery and success.”

Hence, CAHS researchers routinely draw on a variety of interdisciplinary majors as a collaborative approach in order to capitalize on rapid advances in basic scientific knowledge and maximize the benefits to science and society through their work. The CAHS researcher’s theory is various majors offer a more complete picture of integrating knowledge across fields and bridge the divides of agriculture and other fields.

Involving undergraduate students in research really goes to the heart of undergraduate education by producing lifelong learners. By learning the process of a research experiment, students gain confidence and are ready for the next step of their future.

Drs. Laura Carson and Osuji have cultivated exploration through mentoring and developing intellectual minds across disciplines. Each researcher had students, Kemar Hibbert and Dwiesha Johnson, to place in poster categories of Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment and Food Safety, Nutrition and Health, respectively.

As Mr. Hibbert, engineering major, under the tutelage of Dr. Carson presented scientific research on agriculture based polymers to make hybrids used in bone repair, stated, “doing research outside of engineering helped me with my presentation skills and how to convey my thoughts and ideas to a scientific group verses a technical group. And working in a research environment makes you think for yourself a lot and I’ve learned responsibility.”

Whereas, Dr. Osuji’s student presented findings of silencing the mRNA in peanuts that causes the allergen, and aspires to attend medical school sought this research as an opportunity to build relationships with graduate students and faculty, who can become role models. Ms. Johnson said, “the research experience motivated me to high level achievement. I invested myself emotionally in the search for answers to questions nobody else knew and it was a great thrill.”

For many students, the opportunity to work closely with mentors, professors and/or scientists, graduate students and research assistants to conduct research in the growing field of agriculture is an invaluable experience and gives them an edge in the competitive job market.
In the poster presentation competition, winners were—in first and second place—Kemar Hibbert, mechanical engineering, Synthesis of Water Dispersible Carbon Nanotubes Silica Hybrids; and Dwiesha Johnson, biology, Regulation of Allergenic Protein by NAD Dehydrogenase.

Other students who presented in oral and poster competition were: Loveth Emmanuel, Sanique South, Shanoy Anderson, Renae Nicholson, Thy’Asia Nelson, Shallaya Neal, Jennifer East, Rachel Taylor, Paige Phillips, Eudel Dilworth, Conroy Stewart, Rose Somers, Diadrian Clarke, Audrey Bryant, Zamara Thibodeaux, Sherventina Williams, Devesha Lester, Debra Elder, Jalysa Ladmirault, Jeremiah Macaulay, Phane Otenyo, Steven Lewis, Jr, Chevaun Johnson, Ebonee Williams, Charity Woodard, and Theo Reed

The CAHS is making the improvement of teaching and learning a major emphasis. Creating a niche for doing that is to take the strengths of a research university and apply them.

By Staff Writer: Kelley A. Redmon

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