Schnepp’s Work With VCT Students Recognized With Blinn Award
In recognition of his work with five visual communication technology students, Dr. Jerry Schnepp, assistant professor in the Department of Visual Communication Technology and director of the Collab Lab, has been recognized with the Elliot L. Blinn Award for Faculty-Undergraduate Student Innovative Basic Research/Creative Work Award.
The award, which was presented at the annual Faculty Excellence Awards held April 9, recognizes innovative basic research/creative work conducted by individual faculty members in collaboration with undergraduate students and supports collaboration with additional students. It is given in memory of Dr. Elliott Blinn, a professor of chemistry, who dedicated his career to sharing with his undergraduate students the excitement of the process of discovery by directly involving them in basic research/creative work. Schnepp received a $2,500 award, which included $1,250 transferred to a department account for the continued collaborative research activities with BGSU undergraduate students, as well as a $1,250 cash prize.
“The typical experience of a VCT student involves completion of coursework and co-op assignments,” Schnepp said. “Few have the opportunity to conduct scientific or creative research. However, it has been my priority as a VCT faculty member to change this. I feel that, given the opportunity, VCT undergraduates stand to benefit immensely from involvement in research projects.”
Schnepp worked with five VCT students to engage in independent research projects. Over the course of at least one semester, the students initiated, designed and completed their work under his supervision.
“As their projects progressed, I noticed something interesting,” Schnepp said. “Research activities led to a deeper understanding. But the more they worked, it seemed, the more questions they found. This experience was not disheartening. On the contrary, it led to a more intense interest in the project and more directed research. Interestingly, satisfying curiosity actually fostered more curiosity.”
Schnepp said the first-time researchers were elated by this experience, adding that they learned several important skills: directing their own learning, patience and resilience, and excellent organization.
“When I created the digital poems for my Honors Project, ‘Digital Poetry: Writing for the Electronic Medium,’ I came to understand even better how the discovery process is not clear-cut and needs fresh insight along the way,” said student Kelsey Lortz. “Dr. Schnepp’s experience and steady guidance as my faculty adviser helped me continue to rethink my process and produce the final product on kelseylortzpoetry.com.”
Student Megan Rose also found value in Schnepp’s research experience.
“The reason I chose to work with Dr. Schnepp was because of his attention to detail, commitment to student excellence and experience with research projects of his own,” she said. “Dr. Schnepp was extremely helpful from the start. By explaining the importance of specificity and deliberateness in research topics, he helped me through BGSU’s independent study approval process, the CITI Certification course, and the BGSU Human Subjects Review Board process. I now feel as though I understand the process and could complete more successful research in the future.”
Schnepp hopes to provide important resources for other VCT student research, as well as the opportunity for students to attend and present at academic conferences.
“The work of these five students is evidence of largely untapped potential,” he said. “These students seized the opportunity to conduct a research project, and the results were remarkably successful. Their example can be used to set expectations for workload, productivity and time commitment for future students.”