ASH Scholars Program promotes research in the arts, social sciences and humanities

Mizzou’s ASH Scholars Program is providing scholarships and opening up research opportunities to students in specific disciplines.

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Dec. 4, 2023

A collaboration between the University of Missouri Office of Undergraduate Research and the MU Honors College has led to an ongoing research opportunity for undergraduate students involved in the arts, social sciences and humanities (ASH) disciplines.

The ASH Scholars Program began in 2016 and has continued to grow over the years, bringing in a new team just this year. With the addition of the Santa Fe Trail research project, the program now features five teams that research a variety of topics.

“With the multi-year approach to ASH Scholars, students can be involved in an ongoing, team-oriented project for potentially four years, growing from an inexperienced first-year student to a seasoned upperclassman who takes on a leadership role in the group,” said Linda Blockus, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

ASH Scholars receive a $3,000 scholarship, disbursed in four equal parts over the academic year. While the Honors College plays an important role in the program, students do not have to be pursuing the Honors Certificate to participate. Students of all academic majors and grade levels are invited to get involved.

“ASH students have numerous opportunities to take on leadership roles and have presented their work at national and international conferences, been listed as authors on publications, and received fellowships for graduate study,” said Catherine Rymph, dean of the Honors College. “No matter what they move on to after graduation, they benefit from the skills they develop as part of these collaborative research teams.”

Each ASH team consists of eight to 12 undergraduate students who work closely with faculty mentors on an established research project.

The team aspect is one of the most vital parts of the program. Students often bring in different skillsets, allowing for a great mix of experience. Many students also join as freshmen or sophomores, meaning their project tasks grow each year.

Students generally start with data collection and move into data management roles. Eventually, they can present their work at conferences and forums, including to a public audience during Show Me Research Week.

While students benefit from the hands-on nature of the work, the faculty leads have also enjoyed being part of the program. Each research project that the ASH teams are participating in was born out of ongoing work from at least one of the current faculty leads.

“We’re blessed to have this program at Mizzou,” said Chris Josey, an associate teaching professor of communication at MU and one of the faculty leads of the Minority Focused News as a Locus of Empowerment team. “It’s great to have leadership who is committed to what we’re doing. The work that each team is doing is valuable. I think it’s one of the coolest programs on campus, and it’s inspired me to get more involved with undergraduate research. I want to help students find these outstanding experiential learning opportunities.”

Read more from the Honors College

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