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If you happened to walk through Mantor hall in the past few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual... read more

mice + 5-Hour energy = interesting research idea
Bethany Shinn
Antelope Staff
Photo by Rebecca McMickell
Audra Kennedy, a senior biology major from Kearney presents her research project on the effect of 5-hour Energy on mice. The 150 research projects presented by students at the April 7 Student Research Day were based on research from classes or through programs at UNK such as the Undergraduate Research Fellows.

When Mackenzie Bohl first started her research to evaluate the effectiveness of reflective journaling, she thought of it as just an assignment. Bohl soon learned that the research she was performing could potentially affect all people affiliated with assessment in school systems.  

Bohl, a junior from Kearney majoring in psychology and pursuing a minor in special education, found that the research she is doing now could continue to impact her in the future.  

“The topic of my research was jointly developed with my Undergraduate Research Fellow faculty mentor, Dr. Krista Forrest. We chose this topic because I intend on going to graduate school to become a school psychologist, and the topic is therefore not only relevant to my current major and minor, but to my future graduate studies as well,” Bohl said.

Psychology professor Dr. Krista Forrest, Bohl’s mentor, said that research allows them to see which strategies work best: online quizzing, in-class projects or reflective journals. With that information, instructors can make a decision about whether to keep or drop the assignments, Forrest said.

They began by teaching different journaling techniques in two sections of a large psychology lecture classes, and then examined students in order to determine the effects of reflective journaling on content comprehension.  

“Throughout the semester, the students who were enrolled in the class wrote four reflective journals. The grade on the journals was coded through a scale based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives for the Cognitive Domain (Bloom, 1956). The coded score on the reflective journals was then compared to grades on corresponding quizzes and exam questions,” Bohl said. The information is leading them to a specific conclusion, Bohl said, but they are unable to release the results until the entire study is finished at the conclusion of the semester.   

Forrest said, “I have enjoyed the research so far, and especially working with Mackenzie. Without her assistance, we never would have been able to accomplish so much work in such a short period of time. I really look forward to her presenting this work in April at the Rocky Mountain Psychology Association meeting in Salt Lake City.”

Bohl was able to develop research through the UNK Undergraduate Research Fellows program. To learn more about how to become a part of this program, contact the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity.

“It is a great opportunity to be able to conduct research that will benefit not only you, but many others in the future,” Bohl said.

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