Mentored Research Program

About the Program

Mentored Research is an optional course of study that will satisfy the IDS requirement of IDS 4522 Senior Seminar. The program provides advanced experience in research and presentation methods and should result in sophisticated research projects suitable for conference presentation and/or professional publication. Completion will require a total of four credit hours but can take up to eight hours with repeated enrollment in IDS 4552. The program can be started in either the Fall or Spring term. The project title is added to the student transcript indicating the successful completion of a quality undergraduate research project, and students who complete the program are recognized at graduation.

The following courses will be taken in sequence:

IDS 4462 RESEARCH PROJECT I: In consultation with the faculty mentor, the student will design and begin research/experimentation/data collection for a research project at the advanced undergraduate level. 2 hours

IDS 4552 RESEARCH PROJECT II: The student will complete the research project and prepare the results for presentation/review. The presentation requirement allows for flexible options including undergraduate research conferences, discipline meetings, publication, or a faculty committee. Once the faculty mentor approves the project for presentation, the student will forward the presentation plan to the Research Director. If required, the Director will arrange a faculty committee to hear the presentation. Can be taken up to three times upon approval of the faculty mentor. 2 hours

To apply student must have:

  • GPA of 3.0 by the time student begins IDS 4462

  • At least 75 hours completed by the time student begins IDS 4462

  • A research-based course relevant to the project’s field OR a letter from a professor familiar with the student’s research experience affirming the student’s preparedness for a large research project. Mentor professors may assign a research methods course as appropriate. Research courses may be taken concurrently with IDS 4462.

Courses that will satisfy the research-based course prerequisite include, but may not be limited to:

  • SCI 2102 Scientific Writing and 2710/2711 STEM Communication

  • PSYC 3003 Research Methods in Psychology

  • SOCI 4783 Methods of Social Research

  • ENGL 4503 Critical Approaches to Literature

  • COMM 4523 Communication Research

  • MUSC 3102 Forms and Analysis

Student Responsibility

The Mentored Research program requires candidates to be proactive, self-motivated scholars. Your faculty mentor and the program director are here to assist you, but you are responsible for setting and meeting deadlines and for maintaining consistent progress. Navigating disappointments is an essential part of academic research, but if you find yourself falling dangerously behind in either progress or motivation, be proactive about seeking help. If at any time you wish to exit the program in favor of IDS 4522 (Senior Seminar), see the program director.

USAO Student Showcase

Students enrolled in Mentored Research are expected to participate in the USAO Student Showcase. This is an opportunity to display and answer questions about your work in a low-pressure setting. Participation requires only a poster exhibit; your entire research project does not need to be complete by the time of the event. The showcase takes place in the fall term.


Once a completed project has been approved by the faculty mentor and the director, students are eligible to have their project title added to the academic transcript. In addition, students will be hooded at their graduation ceremony by the faculty mentor. It is your responsibility to alert your mentor and the director of your intent to walk at graduation and receive your hood, as the title of your project must be submitted to the registrar’s office prior to the ceremony.

Students in the Mentored Research Program will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate the existing scholarly conversation regarding their chosen topic
  • Discover and articulate a relevant research question
  • Identify and utilize appropriate methodologies to address their research question
  • Approach research as a process and recognize setbacks as part of that process
  • Meet the appropriate discipline’s standards for ethical and responsible research
  • Work collaboratively with other researchers
  • Prepare the research for peer review using the guidelines and conventions of the appropriate discipline
  • Present the research effectively to a peer audience


Application for Mentored Research Program:

Research Project I    Research Project II 


2022-2023 Mentored Research Scholars

Ch’Mere-Renee Austin (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Educational Barriers for USAO Students

Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Vaughn

William Berumen (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Floral Diversity Analysis Across Habitat Types at University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Habitat Area

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Jones

Rachel Dennis (spring 2023 grad)

Title: The Effects of Anonymous Grading on Racial Bias

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Abigail Caselli

View their Student Showcase below:

Lacey Dutton (fall 2022 grad)

Title: Biological Research to Support Informed Scientific Illustrations in the Areas of Botany, Zoology, and Human Anatomy

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Jones

Antoinette Falkenstein (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Food Preference of Captive North American River Otters

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jason Shaw

Nicholas Harwood (spring 2023 grad)

Title: N-Body Orbital Transfer Simulations for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission

Faculty Mentor: Dr. J.C. Sanders

View their Student Showcase below:

Tyler Lavey (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Ab Initio Investigation of the Solvent-facilitated Unimolecular Dissociation Dynamics of Tert-butyl Halide Potential Energy Surfaces

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dany Doughan

Elis Lynch (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Antibiotic Susceptibility of C. Acnes to Doxycycline, Trimethoprim, and Azithromycin

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Jones

Alexandra Medcalf (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Role of Intimacy in Cross Generational Retainment of the Oral Microbiome

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Jones

View their Student Showcase below:


Title: Ab Initio Investigation of the Solvent-facilitated Unimolecular Dissociation Dynamics of
Tert-butyl Halide Potential Energy Surfaces

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dany Doughan

Rhiannon Quillin (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Hunted, Haunted, and More-than-Human: The Creaturely Poetics of Jean Rhys’s Early Novels

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ben Wetherbee

Read their interview for the Student Showcase below (will open as a PDF):

Interview with Rhiannon

Parker Stoddard (spring 2023 grad)

Title: Remediation Status Determination Using Soil Microbial Community Structure in Picher, OK

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rachel Jones

Anastasia Dulle (Current student)

Title: Rhetorical and Idealogical Dimensions of Welfare Toward an Integration of Sociological and Rhetorical Theory