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Advisement and Scholarship Promoting Inquiry-based Research Experiences in STEM (ASPIRES) has two interrelated goals: (1) increase the retention rate of students in STEM disciplines; and (2) improve student academic achievement in introductory science and mathematics courses for STEM majors. ASPIRES action items focus on inquiry-based active learning, student support and academic achievement, student/faculty engagement, and faculty professional development. A significant feature is the inclusive cycle of student involvement from the freshman to senior years.

Goal 1: Increase Retention of STEM Students
  • Implement Intrusive Advising to promote faculty/student interaction and to guide students
  • Engage students through STEM Student Learning Communities
  • Promote and implement undergraduate research opportunities for freshmen
Goal 2: Improve Academic Achievement in Science and Math Courses
  • Initiate Supplemental Instruction to promote student academic achievement
  • Incorporate Guided Inquiry to engage students through active learning, critical thinking, and problem solving

If you are interested in finding out more about the ASPIRES Program or have additional questions, you can contact:

Dr. Christine Whitlock 
ASPIRES Program Director and Professor, Department of Chemistry
Office: (912) 478-5681

ASPIRES is funded through NSF-STEP grant DUE-0622460


Science and Mathematics majors will have an opportunity to participate in undergraduate research under the direction of a faculty mentor. Students who entered Georgia Southern University as a freshman during the prior academic year (spring, summer or fall) are eligible. Participants will be selected by a competitive process, and will receive a summer stipend.

Requirements for ASPIRES Participants:

Student qualifications for research positions are as follows:

  • Must be a COSM major (Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics)
  • Entered Georgia Southern University during the prior academic year (spring, summer or fall)
  • Good academic standing (minimum GPA of 2.0)
  • Not a current COUR or REU recipient
Summer 2011 Recipients
Recipient Abstract Title Mentor Dept.
Daniel Lindsey Differences in pathogen transmission by I. scapularis based
on region
 L. Beati Biology
Tyler Bennett Investigation of Methyl Oleate as a Surrogate for Full
Bodied Fatty Acid
 V. Soloiu MEE
Richard Morriss Reconstructing spatiotemporal medieval black death
mortality across Europe from 1352 to 1801 via GIS
database construction in Scandinavia and eastern Europe
 M. Welford Geography
Jack St. Jean In vitro expression of ferritin gene from the American dog
tick Dermacentor Variabilis
 Q. Fang Biology
Macy Ann Holland Assessment of different porphyrin derivatives for
photodynamic therapy
 J. LoBue Chemistry
Kennedy Thrift Using intelligent interfaces to identify conditions of injures
victims in disaster zones
 F. Rios MEE
Patrick Teate A spatial temporal analysis of land use and land cover
change in the United States (1980-2005)
 Jie Tian Geography
David Cano HR07-021 The anti-tumor drug research  J. DiCesare Chemistry
Sarah Harper Can bone weathering reliably predict the age of an animal
 Dan Williams/Ed Mondor Biology

Summer 2010 Recipients
Recipient Abstract Title Mentor Dept.
H. Hendrix & H. Bachman (joint) Laser Studies of Novel Photodynamic Therapy Drugs M. Davis McGibony Chemistry
Adam Baer Study of the chemical properties of biodiesel with respect to the composition of Palmitic, Stearic, Oleic, and Linoleic methyl esters N. Schmidt Chemistry
Alex Brown The Exploration in PhotoDynamic Therapy Through Utilization of Selected porphyrin J. LoBue Chemistry
Jessica Cain Effects of Alginate Addition on Spartina alterniflora Transplant Success R. Cohen Biology
Matthew Campbell Photodynamic Activity of 5,10,15,20 tetrakis (2,6 difluoro phenyl) porphyrin J. LoBue Chemistry
Daniel Crovo Adsorption of organic compounds to organic matter attached to mineral D. Kreller Chemistry
Kenya Enoch Evaluating the utility of genetics character for Spiroplasma classification L. Regassa Biology
Zanetta Geohagen Math modeling of chemicals through topological indices: from planar to 3 H. Wang Chemistry
Jacob Gregory Water Moccasins (Agkistrodon piscivorus) as reservoir hosts for Eastern W. Irby/ D. Rostal Biology
Efadul Huq Making concrete pervious and CO2 absorbing N. Das CET
Jessica M. Lang The Computer Age: How It Affects Students’ Understanding of Mechanics D. Bell Gatch Physics
Daniel Lindsey Ecology of endangered beach Jacquemontia populations J. Pascarella Biology
Samantha McGunigale Adsorption of Naturally Occurring Dissolved Organic Matter and Organic Pollutants on Mineral Surfaces D. Kreller Chemistry
Adam R. Middleton Reconstructing Spatiotemporal Medieval Black Death Mortality across Europe from 1352 to 1801 via GIS Database Construction M. Welford Geography
Mary Mills Tissue‐specific antimicrobial responses in house flies D. Nayduch Biology
Megan Prescott Detection of antibodies to Eastern Encephalitis Virus in the Cotton mouth … W. Irby Biology
Gil Salazar Hemoglobin Research L. Ma Physics
Michael M. Samiratedu Porphyrin Derivatives Effectiveness in Photodynamic Therapy J. LoBue Chemistry
Leigh Sundem Analysis of Brood Chemicals in a Honey Bee Hive using Solid Phase Microextraction and Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry N. Schmidt Chemistry
Morgan Vaughn Arrival and colonization patterns of Blow flies (Insecta: Diptera: Calliphoridae) E. Mondor Biology

Summer 2009 Recipients
Recipient Abstract Title Mentor Dept.
Eugene Beard Development of a computerized method to analyze heart signals R. Alba-Flores METEET
Stacia Bennett Evolutionary change in the pitcher plant mosquito W. Irby Biology
Brandon Benton Study of the diffusion of dyes in moving water M. Edwards Physics
Catherine Cooney Connecting fractions to rational expressions: using performance assessments to build a firm foundation for learning algebra J. Darley Mathematics
Jeff Dezormo Organic fictionalization of silicalite-1 nanocrystals by ultrasonic treatment in methanol J. Burgess Chemistry
Stephen Dominey Covalent immobilization of polyethylene glycol on a silica surface D. Stallings Chemistry
Zanetta Geohagen Modeling and experimenting with chemical compounds based on theoretical mathematical predictions H. Wang Mathematics
Ivory Harding Using the HPLC to study adsorption at mineral surfaces D. Kreller Chemistry
Chester J. Joyner Survey of parasites affecting larval stages of Rana catesbeiana (American bullfrog) D. Nayduch Biology
Allison Kritter Method of insect foraging in owl monkeys: sight or sound? M. Cawthorn Biology
Alina Lianguert Owl monkey insect foraging behavior and response comparisons between sighted individuals and visually impaired individuals M. Cawthorn Biology
Marcus Middleton Harmonic effects on electric power quality – Phase II Y. al Kalaani METEET
Erin K. Miller Reconstructing spatiotemporal medieval black death mortality via novel GIS database generation B. Bossak G & G
Katherine Mincey Population biology of the endangered beach jacquemontia in Florida J. Pascarella Biology
Vanessa Nunnally Using the HPLC to study adsorption at mineral surfaces D. Kreller Chemistry
Kayla Perry Population biology of the endangered beach jacquemontia in Florida J. Pascarella Biology
John Powell Research on waste reduction from biodiesel production technology V. Soloiu METEET
Krystal Ramos Finding the roots of a positive attitude toward learning physics D. Gatch Physics
Alex Ritchie Design, fabrication, and performance testing of a prototype flat-plate solar collector M. Rahman METEET
Rachel Smith Best practices for incorporating iPod touch technology into STEM courses J. Braselton Mathematics
Donovan Tucker Analysis of fluorinated tetra-phenyl porphyrins for photodynamic activity J. LoBue Chemistry
Jonathon Walsh Investigations into the role of aquaporin channel proteins in fish C. Cutler Biology
ASPIRES is funded through NSF-STEP grant DUE-0622460
Supplemental Instruction

Supplemental Instruction will be offered for introductory science and math courses. Course offerings include:

  • BIOL 2107 – Principles of Biology I
  • BIOL 2108 – Principles of Biology II
  • CHEM 1145 – Principles of Chemistry I
  • CHEM 1146 – Principles of Chemistry II
  • MATH 1112 – Trigonometry
  • MATH 1113 – Pre-Calculus
  • MATH 1441 – Calculus I
  • MATH 2242 – Calculus II
  • PHYS 2211 – Principle of Physics I
  • PHYS 2212 – Principle of Physics II

Each section will have a one-hour SI period, based on the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) process workshop model. Students who have successfully completed a course will be invited to become peer leaders. Lead faculty in each department will develop materials to be used by the peer leaders.

ASPIRES is funded through NSF-STEP grant DUE-0622460

Guided Inquiry

Guided Inquiry will be implemented in introductory science and math classes as part of a shift to student-centered learning in active-learning environments. The inquiry-based initiatives in each science or math discipline will include different approaches, each within the Guided Inquiry framework.

  • Chemistry I and II (CHEM 1145 and 1146 classes) will incorporate Guided Inquiry in the labs, and use the POGIL or other active learning approach in lecture
  • Physics I and II (PHYS 2211 and 2212 classes) will be taught with the studio approach that integrates lecture and laboratory
  • Biology I and II will emphasize problem-based learning in the course pedagogy and small, break-out groups during lecture periods
  • Calculus I and II (MATH 1441 and 1442), pre-Calculus (MATH 1113) and Trigonometry (MATH 1112) will employ cooperative, inquiry-based learning and the use of realistic applications

ASPIRES is funded through NSF-STEP grant DUE-0622460

Last updated: 9/17/2013