Sophomore heads for summer research program

Sophomore Enya Granados is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a summer research program that will allow her to synthesize her two academic interests: education and biology.

With the help of two of her faculty mentors, Dr. Justin Pruneski in biology and Dr. Karen Jones in education, Enya applied for and was accepted into UW’s Summer Research Education Program. During the eight weeks of the program, she’ll be conducting research primarily with Dr. Melissa Braaten, a professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Science Education Department, and also with Dr. John Rudolph in the same department.

“I’m so excited,” Enya said. “This is exactly what I was looking for.”

Essentially, Enya will be wearing dual hats as a research assistant and a participant in two graduate-level education courses – one with general education students studying achievement gaps in testing and one for science education students who are working on their thesis projects.

“My job will be to ask critical questions and help them in any way I can on their project journey,” said Enya, who will be required to give a final presentation along with peers in the program for faculty and other students.

Taking her research one step further, Enya will be working to assess the graduate program and helping to determine how students are finding meaning in their field placements, many of which are multi-cultural service learning experiences.

Pruneski, Enya’s academic advisor, shares the excitement of his student about the potential to learn from this immersive experience working at the forefront of science education research. “It’s been wonderful to watch her discover her passion for science and teaching and seek out opportunities to grow and develop in both areas,” he said. “The fact that she was chosen to participate in this highly selective summer research program, especially after only her second year at Heidelberg, speaks to her hard work and excellence both inside and outside the classroom.”

While she’s nervous that as an undergrad, she’ll be assessing graduate students, Enya just plans to be herself. She believes she’ll be just fine, thanks in large part to the preparation she’s received at Heidelberg. That preparation includes a lot of independent study and especially her work as a tutor at the Owen Center through the Peer-Assisted Study Session program.

“Being surrounded by graduate students is going to be intellectually stimulating. I’ll get to see what the next phase of my life might look like,” said Enya, who has traveled to Nicaragua through the Alternative Spring Break Program. She also spent a month in China last summer, teaching English to Chinese students as part of Heidelberg’s exchange with Tianjin Normal University.

Enya’s summer research program starts May 31, and she isn’t wasting any time getting ready. Dr. Braaten sent her five books to help prepare her for the experience. “She asked me to read one or two, but of course, I’m going to read all five,” said the energetic biology and education double major.

The summer program provides housing, travel costs, field trips, access to the amenities on campus and a $3,500 stipend.

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