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  • Empowering Student Leaders Through Experiential Learning: The Arsenal

    Louis, Alex St.; Augusta University
    The Arsenal is a peer-reviewed, open-access, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to publishing manuscripts from undergraduate researchers at Augusta University. The journal is the product of interdisciplinary collaboration between the Center for Undergraduate Research (CURS) and the AU Libraries. In 2015, students at Augusta University began to express their desire to establish an undergraduate research (UR) journal, citing an increase in the UR culture across campus (Johnson et al., 2017). The first issue was published in the Fall of 2016. To date, there have been 19 published research articles and 178 published research abstracts from 204 undergraduate student authors (Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, 2023). The Arsenal is an example of a hybrid publishing model in which students and faculty work together to organize, publish, and maintain the journal (Hart, 2012). Students participating in this process are integral to the success and longevity of the journal, and this process acts as a form of experiential learning. Experiential learning is when an intentional experience creates knowledge (Kolb, 1984; 2012).
  • Pilot Study: The Relationship Between Self-Efficacy and Adherence to an Exercise Program

    Quick, Erin
    Obesity has exponentially increased over the last few decades within the United States. In relation to obesity, several of the top leading causes of death in the United States are directly related to obesity, including cardiovascular diseases, type II diabetes, and variations of cancer. To combat chronic obesity and comorbidities, current guidelines for management of obesity propose a multi-modal approach, including lifestyle modification and behavioral counseling. In this, self-efficacy is considered to be a reliable predictor of adherence or withdrawal from an exercise program. This study utilized the General Self-Efficacy scale (GSE) to observe an individual’s self-efficacy in relation to adherence to the exercise protocol. The fitness data was collected via provided FitBit, analyzing the participant’s daily active minutes, steps, and calories burned. The individual’s adherence was measured based on whether the individual met their assigned weekly exercise protocol. The individual’s self-provided GSE scale score and rate of adherence were analyzed at the end of the study. It was determined that no participant truly met all their weekly goals; however, some participants had higher step and moderate-to-vigorous (MTV) exercise averages compared to others. The preliminary data was inconclusive between the long-term relationship between self-efficacy and adherence to an exercise program due to limitations within the study; however, predictive conclusions can be drawn. This paper also discusses future practical implications for revision of this study to improve the quality of future results.
  • How Do K-12 Students Behaviorally Engage in Virtual Learning Environments Post-COVID-19?

    Jamil, Jerin
    The effects of post-COVID learning in classrooms have affected how students are engaged, especially with the implementation of virtual learning. This qualitative study aims to investigate how students display behavioral engagement within virtual learning environments during participation in the iBEARS program. The constant comparison method was used to analyze classroom video observation of K-12 students engaging in scientific inquiry virtually with undergraduate mentors. Behaviors were grouped into three primary themes: behavioral engagement, disengagement, and interruptions and constraints. The findings help illuminate behaviors regarding student engagement within virtual learning. Future research is needed to better understand how behavioral engagement in the classroom has changed because of restraints like COVID-19 and how pedagogy and practice can adapt to student success in virtual learning.
  • The Effects of Urbanization on Euchee Creek Macroinvertebrate Populations

    Floyd, Kayla
    This study aims to determine the effects of urbanization on freshwater streams. Fresh water is a vital resource for a variety of species including humans. Euchee Creek in Evans, GA was selected as the primary focus for this study because the creek travels through several neighborhoods, a golf course, a housing construction site, and a paved walking trail. This study assessed several biological and chemical factors to determine the water quality at selected sample sites along the creek over four seasons. Abundance and diversity of macroinvertebrate populations inhabiting creeks have been shown to serve as good biomarkers because some macroinvertebrates are more sensitive to changes in water quality. This study did not find definitive evidence of water quality issues in Euchee Creek, but the limited abundance and diversity found in some of the macroinvertebrate samples suggest that there may be water quality issues present and that further studies are warranted.
  • Mentor Science Identities and their Influence on Student Relationships with Science: A Qualitative Exploration of the iBEARS Program

    Hilson, Melvin
    Science identities are a central entity in science education and STEM careers such as research and teaching (Nutall et al., 2018). In the realm of pedagogy, there are multiple factors that have an influence on the effectiveness and salience of identities and learning content. According to research done by Robinson et al. 2018, science identities can be destabilized and solidified given certain experiences and factors. This holds great importance because they affect the salience and effectiveness of certain programs and types of pedagogy. The strengthening of science identities through formal mentoring programs has been correlated with higher GPAs and an increased likelihood of persisting in the field of science (Piatt et al., 2019). Science identities are important in the field of science education, and more research placed into this field of study increases the likelihood of students pursuing careers in science (Carlone &Johnson, 2007). Our qualitative study focuses on conceptualizing science identity and its components within undergraduate mentors and K-12 students, with the goal of increasing the understanding of science identity to enhance the efficiency of classroom pedagogy and its outcomes.