College of Mass Communication senior Will Messerschmidt thought it was cool that video and films were a part of this year’s Scholars Week agenda and hopes they will have a strong presence in the future.
“We have a lot of talent in animation, music and short films,” said Messerschmidt, an Electronic Media Communication’s film and video major from Johnson City, Tennessee, who participated in the universitywide Scholars Day March 20 to conclude the week’s activities.
Now in the ninth year, Scholars Week accentuates the research, scholarly efforts and collaboration of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.
Messerschmidt had a hand in the films shown March 20 during the universitywide Scholars Day held in the Student Union Ballroom and Theater. He helped introduce a series of videos and short films in the Student Union Theater.
From a production standpoint, he became involved with “Happy New Year Mr. Kates” as a second assistant director and producer for “Paris Documentaries,” both of which were shown during the afternoon along with “First Look” and “Tethered and Coffee.”
“The first time I ever worked on an actual film, I instantly fell in love with it,” Messerschmidt said. “I knew I wanted to work on set.”
This led to Messerschmidt becoming involved with the MTSU Film Guild.
“We helped show students interested in the field how to make movies, the terminology and what all’s involved with making a film,” he said.
Friday’s showcase was a testament to the variety of research being pursued across disciplines.
Take sophomores Christopher Adereti of Antioch, Tennessee, and Justice Adewumi of Nashville, who led a 17-member group in their quest to study the effect of herbal extract used in traditional Chinese medicine on breast cancer cells.
“This was eye-opening. We took a first step,” said Adereti, who is a biology major.
“To do it so early in pursuit of my career” is important to Adewumi, who is a biology major planning to pursue pre-med.
Adereti and Adewuni also are part of the FirstSTEP Summer Immersion program.
Meanwhile, three undergraduate students — sophomores Abdulhadi Alanazi from mechanical engineering technology in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and nursing major Ashley Heath in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences and freshman Ashley Bass in the College of Education — pursued sexual assaults on college campuses as a research project.
The purpose of their generalized research, which indicated 19 percent of undergraduate females are victims of sexual assault on university campuses around the country, was to encourage people to report incidents of rape, to be aware and to know help is out there.
“It’s a topic that touched all of us,” said Heath, who is from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
Their solution: More campus security and the on-campus emergency alerts.
Jackie Eller, vice provost for research and interim dean for the College of Graduate Studies, came away “really impressed with the quality of work students are doing, from high school students to graduate students.”
“It’s so encouraging to see them passionate about discussing their work,” added Eller, who said she encountered another professor from another university whose response about MTSU’s Scholars Day, was, “Wow, I’m really impressed with the work being done here.”
Among the five faculty posters was one on the research being conducted by longtime chemistry professor Martin Stewart on the history of buildings and laboratories for chemistry at MTSU. He plans to write a book.
During the week, the College of Business held a competition that had “Shark Tank” implications — and serious prize money — for the finalists.
All of the colleges held Scholars Days during the week.
Judges selected first-, second- and third-place winners in the various colleges. First-place posters will be on display in the main lobby of the James E. Walker Library through Friday, April 3.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)
MTSU Scholars Week climate change researcher shares expertise
University of Alabama-Birmingham marine biology and climate control researcher James McClintock spent more than 30 years in the field, particularly in the Antarctic Peninsula.
Now, after walking the walk in an eventful 30-plus year career, he feels his calling is talking the talk.
“Sharing my experiences with students and the general public is what I now consider the most important part of my scientific career,” McClintock said while appearing during the ninth annual Scholars Week at MTSU on Monday, March 16.
Scholars Week, a weeklong showcase of academic pursuits and research, continues throughout the week. All of the colleges within the university participate with their own Scholars Days.
McClintock shared with students, faculty and the general public during the first of his two-day appearance at MTSU.
He held a one-hour “Adventures in Field Work” and Q&A session with students, where he opened with a few words about his history of “working in remote polar environments beginning as a graduate student.” He discussed what the experience has taught him about “biological and environmental issues, as well as the value of interdisciplinary collaborative research and cooperation when working in remote field settings.”
The students’ questions guided the remainder of the discussion.
McClintock’s career and research passions have allowed him an “extraordinary lifetime of opportunity to study one of the most intriguing and challenged regions of our planet.”
“Antarctica has put me in the unique position to leverage a lifetime of scientific discovery to educate the public about environmental issues increasingly confronting humankind,” he added.
Regarding his keynote message about the Antarctic Peninsula, he said it is one of the most rapidly warming regions on the planet.
“Sea ice and glaciers are retreating and ice shelves are breaking apart,” he said. “These changes are impacting Antarctic marine life — from the smallest plankton to the largest of whales on this stunningly beautiful and surprisingly fragile continent.”
Rapid anthropogenic climate warming and ocean acidification are twin challenges in a high carbon dioxide world.
“Hope for a better future is illustrated with the discovery and ongoing remediation of the massive hole in the ozone over Antarctica,” he said.
Scholars Week culminates with a universitywide Scholars Day Exposition in the Student Union Ballroom from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Friday, March 20. Performances, video and animation presentations, recording industry songwriters and research posters will be on display. The public is invited.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)