Freshman Fellows Research Projects
Fellows conduct research all across campus in all departments. Read on for more on individual student projects and their collaboration with faculty at NMU. For more information on faculty research interests at NMU, download our faculty research interests directory.
Hometown: Marquette, MI
Major: Public Administration
Mentor: Dr. Jon Barch
Why NMU: "I am a Marquette native, studying Public Administration. I chose to go to NMU because of the affordability of the University and the opportunities I was granted through the acceptance into the Honors Program, Freshmen Fellowship, and Student Leader Fellowship Program through a leadership scholarship."
Project: "My research advisor is Jon Barch, Associate Director of the Center for Student Enrichment, Director of the Student Leader Fellowship Program and a professor of Psychology. Currently, the rate of NMU students who sign up to engage in Superior Edge but do not complete any “Edges” by graduation is relatively high. My research aims to identify the motivation of students who are engaging (or not) in the completion of Superior Edge. Through the information we collect, it is our hope to improve the program’s success rate, thus benefiting the student’s experience here at NMU and with Superior Edge. My research utilizes the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), which essential focuses on the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations of individuals. Based on this theorem, we have developed a questionnaire and focus groups in order to move toward our end goals."
Impact: "Having the opportunity to engage in the Freshmen Fellowship Program benefits students like myself by giving them the opportunity to engage in paid undergraduate research. I appreciate the potential to maximize my potential in such an independent environment—it is my hope that through the data collected I may even be able to present my research at various conferences. Additionally, is it nice to be able to have one on one time with a faculty member so that I can utilize them as a mentor and soundboard for ideas or questions throughout my first year of school. Students who are interested in applying have no reason not to - there’s an extremely short application and interview process."
Hometown: Caledonia, MI
Major: Wildlife Management
Mentor: Dr. Jill Leonard
Why NMU: "I was drawn to Northern Michigan University by the school’s strong fisheries and wildlife management program, which was a perfect fit for me (I plan to become a wildlife biologist specializing in herpetology). In addition to a strong academic program, the friendly and personal campus environment and unique opportunities such as the Freshman Fellowship Program also had a strong impact on my decision to attend NMU."
Project: "I am working with Dr. Leonard and Dr. Sharp to analyze the effects of substrate on the size and composition of the cutaneous bacterial populations of individual red-backed salamanders. This species is known to have several species of bacteria residing in the mucus on its skin, so we are swabbing the salamanders and transferring the collected bacteria to nutrient plates, where it can be grown and analyzed. Samples are taken from salamanders kept in sterilized dirt and salamanders kept in natural dirt, with the end goal of determining what role the substrate plays—if any—on the salamanders’ bacterial populations."
"I am so thankful for the amazing opportunity that Dr. Leonard, Dr. Sharp, and the Freshman Fellowship Program overall have given me to get involved in research so early! This program offers an opportunity for underclassmen to participate in research that is extremely rare, and I would strongly encourage all incoming NMU freshmen to apply to the Freshman Fellowship Program."
Hometown: Plymouth, MI
Mentor: Dr. Jill Leonard, Professor of Biology
Why NMU?: "Marquette. Not only does Northern have an incredible biology department with a dedicated and caring staff, but the location of NMU is absolutely astounding. Ten minutes away, there are mountains to conquer, cliffs to jump off, and all the trees you could ever want to climb."
Project: "I am assisting senior, Nicole Pittoors, research the effects of climate change specifically, temperature and pH on copepods, small marine crustaceans. Currently we are in the process of learning how to use geometric morphometric programming equipment."
Impact: "I would one hundred percent recommend the Freshman Fellows to any incoming student. As a biology student, you are going to have to get involved with research in order to be competitive in your field. The sooner you start, the better advantage you have. Not only are you learning new skills, building your resume, and actually getting your hands dirty doing what you love, but you're also being paid at the same time."