The College of Arts and Sciences understands the value of research for our students and faculty. We support, encourage and aid our students and faculty in their research and scholarly pursuits. For more information about research through individual departments, please visit their respective websites.
Recent Student and Faculty Research Stories
Appalachian State University’s solar vehicle team has secured a second-place tie in the 2018 American Solar Challenge (ASC), an international solar vehicle distance road race held biennially by the Innovators Educational Foundation (IEF).
Team Sunergy tied with the University of Minnesota, behind Italy’s University of Bologna, in the multi-occupancy vehicle class (Cruiser Class) in the competition, which was a cross-country race on the open road that took place over nine days and covered more than 1,700 miles. The University of Waterloo (Ontario) took third.
“I am so proud of our students,” said Appalachian Chancellor Sheri Everts. “They want to wring every bit of experience out of each situation, and they never give up. They exemplify the Mountaineer spirit and why Appalachian is the premier public undergraduate institution in North Carolina.”
Thanks to a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Dr. Cara Fiore, visiting assistant professor in Appalachian State University’s Department of Biology, along with an interdisciplinary team will investigate microbially mediated ecological diversification in sponges found in the Caribbean. Fiore received a total of $208,119 in funding.
Her teammates for the project include Dr. Cole Easson, adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University; Dr. Christopher Freeman, postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Marine Station; and Robert Thacker, professor in and chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University.\
According to Fiore, “Coral reefs represent a paradox because, despite their immense productivity and biodiversity, they are found in nutrient-poor habitats that are equivalent to ‘marine deserts.’
Over the past five years, a team of students and faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Computer Science at Appalachian State University has been abuzz, working to create a honeybee monitoring system called Beemon — an abbreviation for “bee monitoring.” The system started with the goal of being a low-cost way to record video at the entrance of a honeybee hive.
Access to the videos from Beemon is free and available to the public, and the Beemon project team invites the surrounding communities to utilize these videos for educational purposes.
Viewers can record their observations — including observations on pollen (color and amount), traffic in and out of the hive, fanning (bees grouped outside beating their wings), cleaning, fighting, drone appearance (big bees almost twice as large as worker bees), insect or animal appearances, dead or deformed bees, etc. — in the space provided.
Appalachian professor Dr. Steve Hageman receives Fulbright to study global warming’s effects in the polar Arctic
Dr. Steve Hageman, professor of geology in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, which is housed in Appalachian State University's College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2018–19 Fulbright Scholar Program award to study the effects of global warming on marine polar Arctic organisms through the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
“I am honored and grateful to be the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship this year. Many people do not realize that the Fulbright program is organized, administered and funded by the U.S. State Department,” he said. “Fulbright’s primary mission is diplomacy, which happens naturally when people have the opportunity to get together to work toward solving a shared problem.”
Hageman also received a Fulbright award in 2006–07, which allowed him to work in marine and genetics labs in Croatia to learn new research methods in evolutionary biology and paleobiology.
A National Science Foundation (NSF) funded scholarship program at Appalachian State University is helping address the nation’s shortage in STEM graduates and workers.
Members of a cross-disciplinary team of faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Reich College of Education have received a NSF S-STEM grant to establish a Type II program. This grant allocates up to $1 million to establish a five-year multidisciplinary program entitled The Appalachian High Achievers in STEM. These NSF scholarships are awarded to students based on academic ability and financial need, and focus on students in the region planning to obtain STEM degrees. The program will build on successes and lessons learned from previous projects with similar objectives such as STEP: Appalachian Undergraduate Academy of Science (2008-2013), and the recently completed S-STEM: High Achievers in Computer Science and Mathematics (2013-17) project.
The program will provide scholarships worth $6,000 a year for up to eight semesters of study for undergraduate students and up to four semesters of study for graduate students in the chemistry, computer science, geological and environmental sciences, mathematical sciences, and physics and astronomy degree programs.
Appalachian State University’s Dr. Jessica Mitchell has received a Macrosystems Biology Early Career Award, which includes $288,851 in funding, through the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Macrosystems Biology Program to complete biodiversity mapping in the eastern United States. Mitchell is assistant professor in the university’s Department of Geography and Planning with affiliate status in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.
Senior personnel for the grant include Dr. Mike Madritch, associate professor in and assistant chair of Appalachian’s Department of Biology, and Dr. Nancy Glenn, professor in Boise State University’s Department of Geosciences.
According to Mitchell, documenting dimensions of biodiversity change means integrating. She said, to date, continental- and global-scale plant diversity mapping has been based on occurrence data, biased by uneven sampling and narrowly focused only on the total number of species observed.
Two Appalachian State University students, Olivia Paschall, a senior geology major from Grand Rapids, Michigan and Allison Dombrowski, a sophomore geology major from Raleigh, North Carolina, in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, received Explorers Club student grants to travel to Mongolia to conduct geologic work as part of a combined National Geographic and Explorers Club Flag Expedition in July/August 2018 (called Looking for mass extinctions in all the "wrong" places: the Late Devonian of Mongolia). The Explorers Club student grants are very competitive and usually capped at $1500 for undergrads. However, they received $2750 and $2500 from the Explorers Club to go on the expedition as part of the 22-person international team, which is led by Dr. Sarah Carmichael and Dr. Johnny Waters in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.
The Explorers Club is deeply committed to supporting the fieldwork of serious researchers and, as part of its public service commitment, offers exploration grants. The goal of these grants is to foster a new generation of explorers dedicated to the advancement of the scientific knowledge of our world. The Explorers Club considers research proposals in a wide array of disciplines, including but not limited to: climate change, geoscience, marine science, anthropology/archeology and conservation science.
Two Appalachian students, Rachel Jordan, Lilburn, G.A. and Autumn Melby, Sanford, N.C. have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s or doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.
Jordan, a biology major, concentration in ecology, evolution and environmental biology, will be utilizing her fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin- Madison in tree ecophysiology. Jordan graduated from the Honors College and is a Chancellor’s Scholar.
“Rachel is one of the brightest and most enthusiastic students that I have known here at Appalachian” said Jordan’s mentor Dr. Howie Neufield, professor, department of Biology. “Her passion for trees is evident to everyone around her, and I know she will do well as she pursues her Ph.D. in tree ecophysiology –expect great things from her in the future!”