Captured in two of Central’s six tenets, global and cultural competencies and research, scholarly and creative activities are prevalent throughout the UCO campus, in both curricular and extra-curricular settings. However, one student group is celebrating its diversity, while promoting research, scholarship and creativity.
Diverse Student Scholars (DSS) is a group comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students at Central, who collaborate to conduct, present and share scholarly research to the academic community and beyond. Dr. Jeanetta Sims, assistant dean for Central’s Jackson College of Graduate Studies and a tenured associate professor in the marketing department in Central’s College of Business, began DSS in the fall of 2007, her first semester of teaching at UCO.
During its first semester, DSS included one student, who enrolled in an independent study course after Dr. Sims made an in-class announcement about working with students interested in research projects.
Since 2007, 55 students have worked with DSS as research assistants, through independent research studies, funded Research, Creative and Scholarly Activities (RCSA) student grants, funded Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) student grants, funded faculty grants, and funded support from Dr. Sims’ university appointments.
The impact of DSS is clear, through both numbers and testimonies.
DSS has received 26 funded student grants and five funded faculty grants, participated in more than 80 co-authored conference presentations, won three national top paper awards and penned nearly 20 proceedings and journal publications. Conference presentations have led DSS students to destinations across the country and the world, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New Orleans, San Diego, Puerto Rico and Cape Town, South Africa.
“Diverse Student Scholars has given me the unique opportunity to broaden my experience and knowledge, both personally and professionally, through undergraduate research,” said Ashley Neese, a DSS student and senior strategic communications major at Central.
“I have been able to design my own studies, publish work in scholarly journals and travel to present at conferences around the nation under the direction and support of Dr. Sims. Dr. Sims is dedicated to her work and to investing in the lives of her students. Because of my involvement with DSS, my time at UCO has been more valuable, more effective and more impactful.”