Julie Carson, former dean of the College of Liberal Arts, stands with her husband Guy Whitehead and recent Carson Scholars after a presentation Nov. 10.Julie Carson, former dean of the College of Liberal Arts, stands with her husband Guy Whitehead and recent Carson Scholars after a presentation Nov. 10.

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Undergraduate Carson Scholars present an array of scholarly research projects

Stephanie Jones ’12, knows she wants to become a math teacher when she graduates.

That’s why she spent her summer questioning 20 area high school teachers about how best to engage and encourage students.

“Building relationships has a lot to do with teaching math,” Jones says about what she learned. “Never, ever let students give up on themselves and never give up on your students.”

Jones was one of six recent Carson Grant recipients who shared findings of their research projects in the Hatfield Library Nov. 10.

On average, 10 or more grants of up to $3,000 are available each year and are awarded to sophomores and juniors who undertake scholarly, creative or professional projects during the summer.

The latest Carson presentations featured Sarah Worthing ’12, Elizabeth Calixtro ’13, Adam Lozier ’12, Rachael Mayer ’12, Jake Hagood ’12 and Jones.

From Stalin to Art

In her project, Worthing examined the historical memory of Joseph Stalin among Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and Russians. She found that despite the horrors committed by Stalin, many post-Soviet populations remember the dictator in positive terms.

Calixtro studied variables within the Latino population that may affect domestic violence reporting, while Lozier explored ways in which Neoclassical economic theory guides opinions about immigration and agriculture work in America.

Mayer used her grant to study how Māori weaving connects artists to their ancestors and the community, and Hagood explored the role of universities in curtailing homophobia.

Jones spent her summer interviewing high school math teachers about their professions – learning not only why they teach but what lessons they’ve learned from their students.

“This grant gave me an opportunity to do something I wouldn’t have had the ability to do in a class here,” she says. “It really enhanced what I’ve learned at Willamette.”

Learn More

Monique Bourque, director of Student Academic Grants and Awards, says the Carson Scholars program offers many benefits to undergraduates.

Most notably, it gives students experience with grant writing and research – which helps them prepare for graduate school and the job market. It also enables students to study topics that interest them, even if the subjects are not directly tied to their majors.

“Through the program, students can explore areas that don’t fit within their curriculum,” she says. “It can help them confirm they’re in the right direction or help them find a new direction.”

Named after former College of Liberal Arts Dean Julie Carson, the grant program was created in 1988 through a gift from Bill Long ’59, a lifetime trustee for Willamette. The first scholars were chosen the following year.

Carson, who regularly attends the campus presentations, says she hopes the program gives students an incentive to pursue their passions.

“I want them to develop confidence in their own ideas and intuitions,” she says. “You need to have confidence when you’re young. If you do, you’ll have it for the rest of your life.”

The next deadline for Carson Grant proposals is Feb. 14. Learn more on the Student Academic Grants and Awards website.