I have just completed the second of eight weeks of the Maple Scholars Program I am participating in this summer for my school, Goshen College. Time for an update!
So what is this program you're involved with anyway?
Maple Scholars is an interdisciplinary research program. There are fourteen scholars this year working on projects ranging from algal biomass production to fair allocation to piano pedagogy methods. Students apply to work under a faculty member on their particular project, and once accepted work in conjunction with them for eight weeks during the summer.
What is your project?
I am doing social research with Bob Yoder, the campus pastor. The research question I am working with is " how to strengthen Goshen College as a faith mentoring environment". My research is part of a larger work Bob had originally started under the college's Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL); it is a mixed methods project, but I am primarily working with qualitative data.
So what do you do for forty hours a week?
For the first week I did some pre-research; I looked at two other national longitudinal studies that are related to our topic, I have read over transcripts and listened to interviews from the two previous years of research, and have generally became acquainted with the subject matter. This included looking at the quantitative data compiled from two years of survey results sent out to the entire student body as well as faculty, staff, and administrators. I have edited some transcriptions as was needed, emailed the list of possible interviewees, set up interviews, etc.
Week two has involved me conducting interviews. After I interview the fifteen to twenty students, I will then transcribe the interviews word for word. Once those are all transcribed I will be working with NVIVO software to organized the data I have collected and look for the themes that emerge.
Friday mornings we gather for a symposium to share the progress on our projects with one another.
Are you enjoying yourself?
Yes! I love this stuff! The project is the perfect meld between my two passions in life and my two majors. God and people. Sociology and Bible & Religion. I love both the nerdy sociological coding aspect and am also deeply interested in finding ways to equip the campus to be the type of environment that is holistically meeting the needs of the community that it is comprised of.
Do you have a life outside of this program?
I'm also running, hanging out with friends, cooking/baking great food, and generally really enjoying myself and the summer so far. You can write me! Or email me, or call/text me, or send a message via facebook or carrier pigeon. I would love to hear from you about your summer updates!