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The Undergraduate Summer Scholar Program offers Dominican’s highest level of undergraduate research funding support. URSCI Summer Scholars receive a stipend ranging between $2000 to $3000 and a tuition waiver for three academic credits of undergraduate research (e.g., PSYC 495). Any Dominican undergraduate student in good standing who has completed his or her sophomore or junior year can apply to be a Summer Scholar. Sponsoring faculty members must be full-time members of the undergraduate or graduate faculty at Dominican University. Mentors receive a $500 stipend for their oversight of the student's project.

Scholar selection is based on the student’s academic merit and the quality of the proposed scholarly project. Scholarship recipients are required to present their independent scholarly and creative work at the annual SI (Scholarship & Ideas) Expo the following April.

Applicants will be required to enroll in a Canvas course that contains full application information and where application materials will need to be entered. The application site will be made available soon.

2021 URSCI Summer Scholars

Prayer Childress (Mentor: Professor Tracy Caldwell, Rosary College, Psychology)

  • Title: The Dispersion of Undergraduate Teaching Opportunities for Minority Students and Women: A Literature Review
  • Description: A major determinant of an undergraduate student’s developmental trajectory is leadership experience. An increasingly common type of leadership experiences are undergraduate teaching assistantships (UTAs) or the peer-led team leader (PLTL) programs. The goal of the present research is to review the literature on best practices in the implementation of UTAs to summarize the demographics of those who occupy the UTA and PLTL roles.

Elise Ndoe Gouag (Mentor: Asst. Professor Sophia Duffy, Rosary College, Psychology)

  • Title: Childhood Trauma and Antisocial Behavior and Trauma: A Meta-Analysis
  • Description: The goal of the project is a deep analyzation, evaluation, and review of published studies exploring the relationship between developmental trauma and adult antisocial or criminal behavior. The project will serve as a concise paper that synthesizes the existing literature via a meta-analysis. The meta-analysis will aggregate the correlations between developmental trauma and adult psychopathology and determine the strength of the correlation. Moreover, the meta-analysis will explore what factors may influence the strength of said correlation, such as type of developmental trauma, timing of developmental trauma, and social status of individual.

Lance Grunert (Mentor: Asst. Professor Persis Driver, Rosary College, Psychology)

  • Title: Applying the Self-Determination Theory to Enhance the Impact of Undergraduate Teaching Assistants on Students' Motivation and Achievement
  • Description: The project seeks to build on a pilot study at Dominican University, which examined the effect of undergraduate teaching assistantships on participating students’ motivational outcomes and academic achievement. This study has three main goals, (1) to extend the pilot study and gain a deeper understanding of students’ volition to attend supplementary instruction by implementing the Self Determination Theory, (2) to examine the effect of our model on the UTAs’ competence and autonomy, and (3) to increase students’ motivational beliefs and subsequent academic achievement.

Jamie Pena (Mentor: Asst. Professor Zomary Flores Cruz, Rosary College, Biological Sciences)

  • Title: Identifying the role of oxyR in Vibrio fischeri
  • Description: The study aims to identify the role of the oxyR mutant genes in V. fischeri growth and response to oxidative stress in culture by testing the oxyR mutant strains' ability to survive hydrogen peroxide and tolerate superoxide. This project contributes to the larger goal of gaining a better understanding of symbiotic relationships between animals and microbes.

Chelsea Zhao (Mentor: Asst. Prof. Yuanqing Li, Brennan School of Business, Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship)

  • Title: A Study of Successful Attributes of Small Businesses during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Description: The goal of this research project is to analyze start-up companies and present attributes that determined their success during the pandemic through case studies. This project will investigate the impact of responsiveness on business performance under the context of crisis.
2020 URSCI Summer Scholars

Lesley Arroyo (Faculty mentor: Persis Driver/Psychology)

  • Title: Speech-Language Pathologist’s Efficacy and Beliefs in Assessing Bilingual Children
  • Description:In this project Lesley will explore if and how Speech and Language Pathologists’ self-efficacy, implicit beliefs, and attitudes towards bilingual assessment and support models might influence their willingness to incorporate bilingual models in their regular practice.

Katherine Carper (Faculty mentor: Christina Perez/Sociology)

  • Title: Even Sickness has Privilege: Racial Inequalities in Health within Chicago
  • Description: Katherine will analyze, integrate, and frame existing data and research to expand understandings of racialized health inequalities in the City of Chicago. The focus of the project is on how city policy, infrastructure, and social structure contribute to the health of African Americans, Latinx, and other non-white ethnicities.

Kristen Garcia (Faculty mentor: Sophia Duffy/Psychology)

  • Title: Complex Trauma, Coping, and COVID-19: Understanding the Associations between Forms of Trauma and Coping among College Students
  • Description: The purpose of Kristen’s project is to understand what types of coping techniques are used by students at Dominican University who have a history of trauma exposure. In addition, Kristen will include an analysis of how trauma exposed students have coped under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gabriela Giza and Alison Laton (Faculty mentor: Tracy L. Caldwell/Psychology)

  • Title: The Connotation of Obesity and Its Effect on Body Satisfaction
  • Description: The American Medical Association has classified obesity as a disease, aiming to improve medical treatment and reduce stigma towards obesity. Research done by Hoyt, Burnette and Gussman (2014) has shown that this new classification may affect people’s perspectives on weight-management and body satisfaction. Gabriela and Alison will jointly work on an extension of Hoyt et al.’s (2014) research and investigate the effects of the way obesity is framed, on the way we see ourselves, the way we view others, and the health choices we make. 

Daisy Rivera (Faculty mentor: Yuanqing Li/Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship)

  • Title: The Power of Responsiveness During Crisis in the World of Business - Take Covid-19 as Example
  • Description: Daisy will investigate the impact of responsiveness on business performance under the context of crisis. In specific, she will explore the connection between how the responsiveness that firms embody through their Covid-19 updates and announcements text specifically contribute to their financial performance.
The 2019 Summer Scholars

Kathryn Brien (Faculty mentor: Tina Taylor-Ritzler): Kate worked with the Division of Student Success and Engagement to implement and evaluate Mental Health First Aid training at Dominican University. Over the summer, Kate analyzed data gathered from a pilot group and helped implement a second training session in August. The goal of this research is to help replace the stigma of mental illness in the community with positive attitudes towards community support, resources, recovery, and resilience.

Meyahueltzin Angeles (Faculty mentor: Brent Stephens): Meya worked on the design of a bus shelter with an efficient and budget-friendly heating system. She explored different designs, materials and heating systems for a public bus shelter with the consumer’s wishes in mind

Gloria Gervacio (Faculty mentor: Persis Driver): In this study, Gloria investigated whether greater retention of women of color in STEM fields is possible if students experienced a greater sense of belonging in their educational experience before and during their undergraduate years. Results from the study will have the potential to inform university practices that aim at greater retention and completion rates among STEM participants, particularly women of color.

The 2018 Summer Scholar

Natalie Gabriela Babrowska worked on the project "A Brief Manual on How to Ethically Exhibit Native American Art and Artifacts" with the mentorship of Prof. Kim Theriault (Rosary College, Dept. of Art, Art History and Design).

Visit More to Explore below to learn more about summer student research. A description of Summer Scholar projects prior to 2013 can be viewed here: USSP awards (pdf)