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The Joy Beneath the Rough (Soil)

Kino Maravillas is a senior who is majoring in Biology. He was awarded a Fall 2018 Independent Grant which he used to conduct research on the Milpa soil microbiome under Dr. Nicole Gerardo


The philosophy of scientific research is something I’ve always embodied but could never fully express until I entered Emory. Curiosity, gaining an understanding of the complex, interdependent systems that drive our world, has always driven me to read that extra chapter, linger on that leaf blade in the distance for just a few more minutes, and ponder on that lofty thought that you know will eventually lead somewhere solid. This curiosity was always in the back of my mind; coming into Emory, I applied to the Scholarly Inquiry and Research (SIRE)program knowing I would finally get to apply this with a lab coat donned. Through my freshman and junior years I’ve been exposed to the grit of day-to-day research, from painstakingly formatting data figures to public speaking at the annual Emory undergraduate symposiums

Research Profile- Mustafa Hassoun


Mustafa is an Emory senior from Huntsville, Alabama. He is double majoring in Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MESAS) and Political Science. After Emory he plans to attend law school.  While at Emory’s Oxford campus, Mustafa completed an honors research project focused on ethnic minority leaders and miss killings in the context of civil war. Now Mustafa is able to continue this research through his senior thesis. His current project focuses on the 1991 Uprisings in Southern Iraq. His goal is to distinguish the uprisings as a seminal moment in modern Iraqi and modern Shia history. Mustafa credits the wealth of resources in Emory’s libraries and the wonderful professors in the MESAS department for the ability to conduct this research. He says the most valuable aspect of his research has been “challenging my preconceived notions about the Middle East, where my parents come from. I learned to distinguish between certifiable facts and what I have been brought up to understand and believe”. He believes research like his will be able to dispel ignorance and aid the progress of society. 

On the Path to be a Researcher

Veronica Vazquez Olivieri is a senior who is majoring in Psychology. She was awarded a Fall 2018 Independent Grant which he used to conduct research on the social significance of speaking styles under Dr. Lynne Nygaard. 

For someone who wants to pursue a doctoral program after graduation, applying and receiving funding from Emory’s Undergraduate Research Program is a great scaffolding step. Participating in independent research has been gratifying and valuable since the very beginning of the applicationprocess primarily because you have to write a formal proposal of your research. Furthermore, it exposes you to the importance of conducting ethical research when thinking about how you will treat and test participants. Most importantly, it confers a sense of responsibility and autonomybecause you are no longer assisting someone’s research, rather you are the lead researcher and the obtained outcomes will reflect the amount of work you invested.  As a researcher, I am intrigued by how social factors influence our perceptions, judgements, and behaviors.These interests led me to seek out an honors thesis mentored by Dr. Lynne Nygaard that permitted me to study the social influences that affect an individual’s perception of speech. 

Featured Undergraduate Researcher- Camilla Reed-Guevara

Our featured student researcher of the month is Camila Reed-Guevara, a senior Classics and Philosophy major who focuses on ethics. As a prior SURE student, conference grant recipient, and a current Mellon Mays Undergraduate fellow, she has had a unique experience in undergraduate research. 


A Semester of Mistakes, Miracles, and Medulloblastoma


Nithya Shanmugam is a Sophomore who is majoring in Neuroscience. She was awarded a Fall 2018 Independent Grant which he used to conduct research on the role of microglial cell polarization in medulloblastoma therapy under Dr. Anna Kenney. 
Dear Future Researcher,
If you can take away one thing from this post, understand this: Your research may not always be successful in your eyes, but it will always be interesting and driven by curiosity. Whether you’re studying C. elegans, mesenchymal stem cells, or immune system brain cells (like me!), know that there is always something to be found – a cell to target, a receptor to inhibit, or a pathway to stimulate.