Faculty-Mentored Research Helps Students and Teachers

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Instead of only spending time on papers, homework and class projects, some students participate in faculty-mentored research about myriad topics with the help of ORCA Grant funding.

Amy Pulsipher, a recent BYU graduate in nursing, participated in such research last year.

“Faculty-mentored research has been an incredible experience,” she said.

During an ethics class last year, Beth Luthy, a nursing professor, asked Pulsipher for help with a project researching ways to decrease negative reactions of children receiving immunizations. Pulsipher received an ORCA Grant to help fund the project. Working under Luthy’s supervision, Pulsipher analyzed results searching for any information impacting children’s behavior before, during and after receiving an immunization.

Because of her experience, Pulsipher said she strongly recommends students seek out opportunities for faculty-mentored research.

“It makes you look at everything you study on a daily basis completely different,” she said, “I have learned to appreciate and understand a little bit better all of the work that is behind each protocol, treatment, etc. used in nursing practice every day.”

Pulsipher is not the first student to research with Luthy. Neil Peterson, a BYU graduate working on his doctorate in nursing at the University of Virginia, performed research with Luthy while pursuing his undergraduate degree.

“The faculty-mentored research I did with Beth really helped to prepare me for grad school and to succeed in grad school and in my profession,” Peterson said.

Luthy began mentoring students at BYU six years ago. After working with her first student, Luthy said she was hooked.

“I think it is the best thing ever,” she said. “They join your team and propel the research forward.”

After helping so many students, Luthy said she recommends students interested in research projects to find faculty already involved in a project and ask you join the team. In addition, students can become a research an asset to professors, Luthy said.

“Students want to make a difference in the world, but they are not quite sure where to start,” she said. “You give them a research opportunity that is focused and directed and once they have that conduit, they just blossom and flourish.”

Renea Beckstrand, a faculty member who worked with Pulsipher on research, said she also loves mentoring students.

“Student mentoring is one of the best things our faculty can do,” she said. “Our students are brilliant and ready to move to the next level. I feel fortunate to work at BYU where faculty-mentoring is wonderfully supported.”

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