Student Profiles

From our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience fellows to our innovative and entrepreneurial graduate students, Kent State University and the Office of Student Research place a premium on student scholarship, research and innovation.
These profiles highlight the efforts and successes of our students, who are showing the Kent State community and the world how to do high-class research at every class level.

Tell us about your undergraduate or graduate-level research, innovation, and entrepreneurship!
Contact OSR Director Ann Gosky at agosky@kent.edu or 330-672-8037, or RASP Marketing and Public Relations Communication Specialist Dan Pompili at dpompili@kent.edu or 330-672-0731.

Here's What Students are Saying About Their Research Experience 

Nemet Alrawajfeh — Sophomore, Political Science and Sociology

What are your campus involvements?
I am a sophomore research assistant in the political science department, and a board member of Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for a Democratic Society, and Model NATO. I participate in Students for Justice in Palestine and numerous reading groups on campus.

What do you research?
I participated in the S.U.R.E. program over the summer, where we researched the emergence and perpetuation of non-state violence in Iraq following the overthrow of the Hussein regime. I also resided in Palestine from the months of June through July and studied the impacts of the occupation in Area C of the West Bank. I had the privilege of presenting my Palestine research at the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA) conference in November 2019. I am hoping to eventually merge both projects together and discuss the impacts of occupation/U.S. interventionism in the Middle East.

What has research taught you?
Research has helped me in a myriad of ways: it has helped shape my politics, enhance my love for education, and has made me a more empathetic individual. More importantly, it has helped me understand that there is so much more to the world than what I think I know.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in research?
Do not go into the research process with your mind made up. Research does not begin with the answer-- you have to seek it out. You will formulate, deconstruct, and reconstruct your argument time and time again, and that’s okay. Furthermore, research can be long, tedious, and discouraging. Hang in there, and stick through the grunt work, because once all of the pieces come together, the fulfillment you feel will be unmatched. Finally, write everything down-- even the “trivial” things. You will tell yourself you won’t forget, but you will forget.

What has been the most rewarding part of doing research? While research can certainly be difficult and, at times, emotionally taxing, it is also one of the most fulfilling things that I have ever experienced. For instance, while in Palestine, I interviewed numerous activists, scholars, organizers, and workers. The conversations with my interviewees were some of the most refreshing and enlightening conversations I have ever had. To me, it feels a bit like a puzzle; it starts with an idea and an end goal, or argument. You think it’ll be easy to prove your argument, but the more time you invest in your research, the more you realize just how complex it is. After gathering an abundance of information, you try to figure out how it all fits together. It is a tedious process, but you start to make progress. After a while, it does come together. However, much like a puzzle, the researcher has to understand that their work is never fully complete. To me, that is the reward-- completing my work, but understanding that it will forever be an ongoing process. It urges me to learn more, care more, and to stay curious.


Sam Carroll — Junior, Sociology and Psychology (Medical Sociology)

What are you involved with on campus?
Most of my involvement on campus is through research projects. I work at the Survey Research Lab in the sociology department along with one of the best faculty members on campus, Dr. Kristen Marcussen.

What do you research?
Our research together is looking at the identify of people who have severe and persistent mental illness. We also look at stigma of those with a mental illness and are trying to measure how that stigma affects someone’s quality of life.

What has research taught you?
Research has taught me many skills I wouldn’t have learned from my classes. However, I think the most important thing it has taught me is how to talk with professors and get connected with faculty. When I started school, I felt like a lot of professors were too busy for their students and wouldn’t take the time to go out of their way to help their students, but I found out that was very wrong. Most professors I have been able to talk to are excited about mentoring students and exposing them to the research process.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in research?
Ask any professor that you like, even a little bit, how to get involved. Talking to professors one-on-one for the first time can be intimidating, but I promise there will be good results.

What has been the most rewarding part of doing research?
The most rewarding part of my research has been the fact that it has guided my career goals dramatically. Before, I wanted to be a social worker, working with patients who have a mental illness. Now, I want to research and try to influence policy decisions regarding mental health.

 

Madison Wood — Sophomore, Geology

What are you involved in on campus?
I am president of the Kent State Geological Society (KSGS) and a member of Sigma Gamma Epsilon.

What do you research?
I am researching lead (Pb) levels in Akron soils.

What has research taught you?
It has taught me a lot about the value of my time. Obviously, I am learning very important skills in my lab, but valuing time is not something I have been able to learn from classes or other jobs.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in research?
Find something you are interested in and a faculty member who researches that topic, and then ask if you can help! This is the best way I have found to get involved; you can probably do more than you even imagined.

What has been the most rewarding part of doing research?
Meeting other researchers has been the most rewarding part. I have become more involved in my major and know most of the people in the department!

 

LaMiesha Lytle — Senior, Biology/Pre-Med

What did you research as a McNair Scholar?
I am a cohort of the 2019 Summer Research Institute (SRI). I worked with Dr. P. Bagavandoss researching ovarian cancer, specifically phytochemicals and components from cannabis and black tea and how these chemicals affected cancer cells, and I mostly did quantitative research. Right now, research is very dangerous, to say the least, so we looked at more natural ways to treat cancer cells. We observed cell growth, and whether or not they were able to divide.

Did you face any obstacles during research?
I had never conducted research to this extent, and hadn’t taken cell biology, so this was a very big transition. Anything can go wrong in the lab. He had to teach me a lot, and he gave me scholarly journals to read in order to understand the language before doing research in the lab.

What are the benefits of doing research as an undergraduate?
Doing research has opened up many opportunities. I have always wanted to be a doctor, but now I have decided to apply to a MD-PHD program, which would allow me to practice medicine and also conduct research. I also know now that I would like to open my own lab. Before McNair, I never would have thought about pursuing a MD-PHD. Also, doing research has shown me what I can do if I work hard. It has changed my outlook on education.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in research?
Go for it—it is scary, but when I did research, I was also scared because I had never done research to this caliber. But go through it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because you will be able to learn from them.

Are you currently doing research?
I am doing academic year research with Dr. Clare Stacey and her Ph.D. student, Sara Harvey. It is very different; I am now working with qualitative research, interviewing and reading scholarly articles, and looking for the substance. I am also learning how to code, which has made me see medicine in a different light. Our topic of research seeks to answer the question of what the best way is to practice medicine and teach empathy. Too little emotion can be robotic, but too much emotion can also be a bad thing.