MARCH 25, 2009

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USAO Student Team Ranks Second in State Research Competition

Photo of State Rep. Leslie Osborn and USAO student Andrea Jones.
State Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-Dist. 47) pauses to chat with USAO student Andrea Jones, an English major from Covington, Ohio, during Research Day at the State Capitol Feb. 23. Jones, with Melody Dobbins, an English major from Tuttle and Sachelle Story, an English major from Amber, placed second in the Regional/Community College division. The USAO team, led by Jones, competed against 17 projects from 12 Oklahoma colleges and universities.

A team of University of Science and Arts students, led by Andrea Jones, an English major from Covington, Ohio, placed second during Research Day at the State Capitol Feb. 23.

The team competed against 17 projects from 12 Oklahoma colleges and universities. Jones placed second in the Regional/Community College division.

"All of the other student research presentations were really impressive, so we were shocked when they announced us as second. We were the only ones not presenting on an environmental or medical issue," Jones said. Linguistic Transformation was the topic of Jones' presentation.

Jones said her team did a lot of work in a short amount of time. "Most of the other student researchers who presented at the EPSCoR Research Day had been researching their topics since at least the 2008 fall semester. However, I was first approached about the competition around the second week of January.

"I had not been researching anything particular at the time, so I found out about EPSCoR and came up with a research topic that day. The competition was at the end of February, so we really only had about a month to research, compile information and design our presentation," Jones said.

"Since I didn't have very much time to work with, I asked a couple of students -- Sachelle Story and Melody Dobbins -- to help me with the actual labor of finding information to support my topic.

"We all worked together on gathering information, but I was the actual nominee who presented the research to the judges on the day of the competition," Jones said. Melody Dobbins is an English and psychology double major from Tuttle, and Sachelle Story is an English major from Amber.

"The idea for the project kind of blossomed from my perspective as an out-of-state student coming into this small Oklahoma town and, at first, not understanding common idioms like 'fixin' to' and being annoyed by improper grammar."

After USAO, Jones plans to enter law school and sees this experience as beneficial to her future. "Anything you can do to get out of your comfort zone and really put yourself out where others can see provides you with a great chance to show how much work you're willing to put into anything you do. I saw that chance and decided to take it. I'm hoping that this accomplishment will show potential graduate schools, law schools and employers that I am willing to put in the extra hours and do the work to reach my goals."

Research Day at the Capitol was started in 1996 to showcase the outstanding undergraduate research being conducted at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities. Students compete in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. There is only one student selected from each school. The event is sponsored annually by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and the National Science Foundation.