Inaugural IDEAward Recipients Highlight the Value of a Liberal Education

With a liberal education: Be curious. Ask questions. Seek Answers. Explore. Experience. Express. Repeat.

Miami’s dedication to undergraduate research and liberal education inspired a new collaborative award through the Office of Liberal Education and the Office of Research for Undergraduates. The IDEAward (Inter-Disciplinary Engagement Award) aims to inspire undergraduate students to conduct independent research and explore the possibilities of a liberal education. The award encourages collaborations among departments and colleges and challenges them to think beyond the confines of their discipline. Award recipients present their findings in a Project Roundtable format during the Undergraduate Research Forum April 24, 2019.

Two teams were selected for this year’s award:
Abigail Wilette (2019- Microbiology) and Callen Conroy (2020 – Kinesiology) will work under the direction of Dr. Kyle Timmerman (Kinesiology and Health). Wilette and Conroy’s will explore the relationship between well-being, behavioral motivation, and inflammation among older adults. As adults age, chronic, low-grade inflammation is pervasive and psychological well-being typically declines. The team uniquely qualified to lead and conduct the present study with the combination of the students’ premedical coursework, Callen’s lab experiences in microbiology, Abbey’s experience with older adults, and Dr. Timmerman’s expertise in studying inflammation.

Brian Russo (2020-Anthropology and Education Studies) and Brendan Newman (2020 –Public Health) will work with Cameron Hay-Rollins (Anthropology). Russo and Newman’s focus on the inclusion of transfer students within the Miami University community.They believe that their combined, multi-disciplinary experiences of social and biological sciences will help them find ways to improve the experience and foster belonging for transfer students. Russo’s work in Cultural Anthropology and Newman’s knowledge of Public Health research strategies enable them to analyze qualitative and quantitative data. 

Working across disciplines speaks to the heart of Miami University’s dedication to undergraduate liberal education. With a strong foundation in courses from Formal Reasoning to Intercultural Perspectives, the Global Miami Plan equips students to expand their education in an infinite range of experiences. The IDEAward is a shining example of our dedication to helping students develop a sense of social responsibility and strong intellectual and practical skills that will help them apply knowledge in real-world settings.