Sure, all universities incorporate research into their graduate programs but few place as great an emphasis on undergraduate research as does Angelo State University. Why? Well, as a university community, we have an obligation to expand the body of knowledge and we think our undergraduate students, with a little guidance from our faculty member, are capable of contributing to our understanding of the world around us.
What do undergraduates study? Their research runs the gamut from animal habitats to historical studies on stage coach robberies in frontier West Texas to french fries.
Yes, french fries, because there’s more to this staple of the teenage diet than just the quick takeout order at your favorite fast food franchise. Miles senior Ashley Brandon in ASU’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department decided to explore the acrylamide content in french fries.
Perhaps you thought your fries just came with a large dose of carbs and some ketchup on the side. In reality, french fries come with acrylamide, a compound that is produced naturally when starchy foods are exposed to high heat during cooking.
Only discovered in 2002 by Swedish scientists, acrylamide could possibly contribute to certain cancers, especially when consumed in large amounts. Since as many as 30 percent of the calories consumed in the U.S. contain acrylamide, Brandon’s study was no esoteric exercise in research minutiae
In the end, Brandon determined that samples from straight cut french fries contain more acrylamide than crinkle or waffle-cut fries. This suggests that as the surface area of a french fry is increased, the amount of acrylamide that is found in the french fry may actually decrease.
ASU sophomore Shane Guthrie will continue Brandon’s research during the 2007-08 academic year by investigating what other factors may affect the amount of acrylamide that is produced in french fries.
Visit the undergraduate research project page for the additional projects.
Research is an integral part of the graduate school experience, particularly for those who want to teach or go on to earn a doctorate. With our modern campus, our sophisticated information technology support and our resources such as the West Texas Collection and the Management, Instruction and Research Center on our 6,000-acre farm and ranch, we at Angelo State offer extensive resources for master’s degree work and exploration.
Our graduate student research gets results and attention. Take Lori Stuart, for instance. The 2005 winner of ASU’s Presidential Award as the top graduate in her class, Stuart, under the direction of biology professor Dr. Crosby Jones, researched the antibacterial effects of stainless steel on pathogenic bacteria commonly found on human skin.
Stuart’s paper on the subject was published in 2006 in BIOS, a biology journal and official publication of the national Beta Beta Beta (Tri-Beta) Biology Honor Society. In 2007 her article was named recipient of the McClung Award for the Best Paper published in BIOS. Her article, “Re-Isolation of Bacteria From Intentionally Contaminated Surfaces,” was also chosen as a “Featured Article of the Month” by BioOne, a national online science journal abstracting organization.
As another example, consider the research completed by history graduate students on San Angelo’s 1949 polio epidemic. The research, conducted in Dr. Shirley Eoff’s modern American history class, was later cited in the acknowledgements of David Oshinsky’s Polio: An American Story, which won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in History.
The direction you can take in our graduate studies is limited only by your interests and your imagination. Visit the graduate research page for more information.
As educators, our goal is to give you the best possible classroom experience. However, we realize that there is also much that can be learned outside the classroom through “real world” experience that allows you to put your book knowledge to practical use. That is why we offer multiple internship opportunities through our various academic departments. Internships provide practical experience in professional settings. They also enhance your resume when it is time to start your job search. Our internships are available at the local, state, national and even international levels. They run the gamut from communications majors working at local media outlets to government students working in Congressional offices in Washington, D.C.
Take applied physics major Logan Hancock. He completed an internship at the national office of the Society of Physics Students in College Park, Md., as a web master for the “Physics to Go” web site.
Or, there is journalism major Jennifer Rios, who landed one of only five national internships at the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Semester in Washington Program.
To learn more about available internships, contact your academic department.