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Scholars Transforming Through Research Program Elevates Impact

Three student-faculty and student-staff research teams from the John Martinson Honors College have been selected for a program that will help them increase the impact of their research.

Through the Scholars Transforming Through Research program, these teams will gain critical communication skills. Sponsored by the Council for Undergraduate Research, the advocacy program focuses on how to share research findings with broad audiences, such as policymakers and the media.

“Participating in this program will teach the students how to communicate and publicize their research findings and the impact of their work to multiple stakeholders,” said Mariah Mendoza, program coordinator for belonging, equity, and inclusion and staff team member. “This program can also instill confidence in the students to articulate the impact of their research clearly and bravely.”

During the six-month program that runs from October 2022 through April 2023, teams will attend monthly workshops on topics such as how to engage with government agencies or how to write an op-ed.

In October, the teams traveled to Alexandria, Virginia, for an in-person training session. Students and faculty learned how to build relationships with policymakers and had a chance to network with their peers and learn from congressional representatives.

Undergraduate research is central to honors students’ learning, building confidence and teaching students how to create change.

“Research has given me the language to understand my own experiences as a Black engineering undergraduate, and the skills to support my peers to do the same,” said Olanrewaju Sodunke, a student diversity officer in the honors college. “The opportunity to engage with social science research expands my interdisciplinary and critical thinking capabilities. Through this research-based collaborative work, I have gained confidence in public speaking and communication.”

Two teams have been researching how student diversity officers help change attitudes toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the honors college and larger Purdue community. Megha Anwer, associate dean for belonging, equity, and inclusion, and student diversity officers Victor Mosqueda and Mia Yates make up the first team. Mendoza and Sodunke will be joined by fellow student diversity officer Emily Cahue on the second team collaborating on this project. A third team comprised of Jason Ware, clinical associate professor in the John Martinson Honors College and student Harris Colins have been studying community well-being, quality-of-life, and urban development.

Thanks to this program, all three teams will learn how to share their findings more broadly and effectively.

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