Dr. Jean E. Giebenhain Receives the 2015 “Undergraduate Research Award for Faculty”

Psychology professor Dr. Jean Giebenhain was awarded the 2015 Undergraduate Research Award for Faculty on May 15 at the Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research, which is hosted by UST’s Grants and Research Office.

This award is given annually to a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to supporting undergraduate research and faculty/student scholarly collaboration. UST faculty are nominated by their peers each spring, and nominees who agree to be considered for the award submit a statement indicating how they have contributed to undergraduate scholarship. References submit additional materials, and these documents—together with the original letter of nomination—are reviewed by the undergraduate research board, which then selects one person for special recognition.

Giebenhain was excited to receive the award, and shared the following words with the Grants and Research Office after she was informed of the research board’s decision:

I am proud to have been a member of the Psychology department since 1983. I have been impressed by, and deeply committed to our students. I enjoy working with students on research projects that are guided by their own interests as well as my own. Students have presented their work at local, regional, national, and even international conferences.

Students have investigated the portrayal of mental illness in popular culture through children’s literature, Batman comics, Naruto graphic novels, as well as the depiction of self-injury in teen fiction and online communities.  

Life experiences also often direct research topics.  I am an adoptive parent.  My three daughters, biological siblings, came from India when they were 12, 10, and 7.  This fueled my interest to learn more from families like mine.  Students worked with me on projects related to adoption that resulted in papers and workshops presented in Manila, California, and New Orleans.

More recently, a fruitful collaboration initiated by Dr. Sarah Schmalenberger (UST Music Department), investigating female-musician breast cancer survivors, resulted in numerous papers with students on topics related to our participants’ experiences with breast cancer, including: pain, culture, identity, social support, post-traumatic growth and depreciation, gratitude, “mattering” within the health-care system, terror-management, pro-social behavior, and optimism.   One of these projects resulted in a book chapter with a student as first author.

Finally, I have been impressed by the wonderful projects that have come from research teams in my sections of our capstone course: The History of Psychology in Social Context.  Over the last several years, all students from my classes have presented research posters at the Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium at Viterbo University, the Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference, or the Midwestern Psychological Association annual meeting in Chicago.

I am grateful and proud to be part of an institution that values student research and supports it financially.   Colleagues from other institutions are envious!  It is wonderful to be part of watching all of these budding young professionals BLOOM!


Institutional Review Board to Hold Training Workshop on
Tuesday, May 26

Responsibility for managing the Institutional Review Board (IRB) has been transferred to the Grants and Research Office. Sarah Muenster-Blakley, M.A. ’12 has been named the new director of the board, which is primarily responsible for ensuring the ethical treatment of human subjects involved in research conducted by faculty, students, and staff at the University of St. Thomas. 

In an effort to help summer research students get a good start on their projects, Sarah will hold a special IRB training workshop on Tuesday, May 26 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am in ASC 238 on the St. Paul campus. The workshop will focus on the concepts that inform the protection of human subjects and include an overview of IRBNet and specific instructions on how to develop and submit a research protocol to the IRB. All summer students and researchers who are working with human subjects are encouraged to attend. Please send her an email by Friday, May 22 to register for the workshop. Faculty are also welcome.

The Institutional Review Board office encourages researchers to submit an IRB application early if you are planning to conduct research that engages human subjects so that the IRB can support your efforts in the most effective way possible. In most cases, the IRB can complete an initial review of a submitted protocol within one to eight calendar days.


GRO Welcomes New Institutional Review Board Director Sarah Muenster-Blakley

The Grants and Research Office is pleased to announce the addition of a new staff member, Sarah Muenster-Blakley. Sarah will serve as director of UST's Institutional Review Board. She has been at the University of St. Thomas since fall 2010. She was a graduate assistant in the Grants and Research Office while she worked toward her Master of Arts in Art History degree, which she received in December 2012.  Sarah has been an adjunct art history instructor for the university since spring 2013. She is very excited to begin her new role and to be back in the Grants and Research Office. Rewriting the IRB application forms is at the top of her to-do list, and she is thrilled to work with students, faculty, and staff as they complete the IRB process.


Summer Research Grant Application Deadlines are coming soon

Young Scholars, Community-Based Research and Summer Housing Grant application deadlines are approaching! Undergraduate students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. This is a great opportunity to get paid to carry out faculty-mentored research on a full-time basis over the summer. Learn more here.


Ask Reviewers What They Look for in a Young Scholars/CBR Application! Information Sessions Held on February 5.

Interested in applying for a Young Scholar or Community-Based Research Grant? Don’t know where to get started?
The Grants and Research Office will be hosting informational sessions on how to prepare an application for these programs! Hear from board members in charge of reading and scoring applications and bring them your questions!

If you are a student in the Humanities or Social Sciences, a session just for you is being held on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. in ASC 202.
If you are a student in the STEM disciplines, your session is being held on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. in ASC 238.

Come with your questions and be prepared to walk through the application process!

Deadline for applying for these grants is February 20, 2015.


Anisa Abdulkadir will present at the ABRCMS conference in November.Excel! Research Scholar Anisa Abdulkadir to Present at ABRCMS

The Grants & Research Office would like to congratulate Anisa Abdulkadir on being accepted to present at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in San Antonio, TX this November.

This prestigious event is one of the largest professional conferences for underrepresented minority students and students with disabilities who are interested in pursuing advanced training in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. During this four-day conference, undergraduates come from over 350 colleges and universities nationwide to present their work, as well as to hear about graduate school and summer internship opportunities, funding sources, professional networks, and more.

Anisa will be one of the students presenting at this event, and will share the research that she did under the mentorship of Dr. Dalma Martinović-Weigelt in UST’s Biology department. Her research studied monoamine oxidase inhibitor activity in metropolitan wastewater effluent; she previously shared some of the findings from this research with the UST community at the Excel! Research Scholars Symposium in July.

Previous participants in ABRCMS from UST have included McNair Scholar Sally Mahmoud ’12, who went on to receive partial funding to purse her M.D. at Johns Hopkins University, and McNair Scholar Mondraya Howard ‘12, who went on to receive full funding in order to pursue her Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information about the conference where Anisa will be presenting her work, visit abrcms.org. Congratulations, Anisa!


Next “Inquiry at UST” Poster Session is Sept. 25

Poster Session - Inquiry at UST

Students who have been doing collaborative research with a faculty member will be presenting their work through a poster session on Thursday, September 25 from 11:45 am to 1:15 pm in Woulfe Alumni Hall. This is an excellent opportunity to see the breadth of undergraduate research being carried out on campus, in all areas of study—from the sciences to the humanities. Click here to view abstracts from the upcoming event: Fall 2014 Inquiry Abstracts.

“Inquiry at UST” is open to the community; students, faculty and staff are invited to attend. In addition to being a great opportunity to see the types of research projects being carried out, it’s also an excellent time to ask questions about undergraduate research grants that are available to students. Attendees will be able to speak with Grants & Research Office staff, as well as recent undergraduate grant recipients, at this event. We hope to see you there!


Excel! Summer Research Symposium

On July 31, 2014, the Excel! research scholars presented their faculty-mentored research at their symposium in Wolfe Alumni Hall. The slideshow above showcases several highlights and successes from the symposium.

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