Diplo professor, undergrads to present research in Chicago
A Seton Hall Whitehead School assistant professor will travel to the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual conference in Chicago, from March 31 to April 3, with two undergraduate student researchers to present their findings funded by the National Science Foundation grant.
Dr. Martin Edwards was awarded the University’s first National Science Foundation grant in the social sciences in 20 years, according to a press release.
Edwards said luck played a large role in winning, but the real story is with his students, juniors Daria Preston and Kelsey Coolidge.
“Federal research support is hard to come by,” Edwards said. “My students got a better sense of what academics do, since my scholarly work isn’t what students see in the classroom.”
The two diplomacy students were hired as undergraduate research assistants through the University website and worked to put a data set together of the research conducted on International Monetary Fund Transparency, Edwards said.
Preston said she and Coolidge divided the research between summer and fall and estimates the entire process took around seven months to complete.
Edwards submitted a research proposal to the Political Science Program, which is reviewed by scholars especially selected for their expertise in the subject matter of the proposed research.
A 15-member advisory panel evaluated the proposals and divided them into the categories, “highly competitive +,” “highly competitive,” “competitive,” and “not competitive,” according to the NSF Political Science Program.
Edwards’ proposal was selected for the “highly competitive +” category, allowing his research to be funded.
His research explored how the International Monetary Fund drafts reports regarding state economic policies and analyzed the effects of data release on financial markets, as stated in a press release.
Preston and Coolidge said the experience has been incredibly beneficial.
“I currently have an internship with The International Fund for Agricultural Development, I know for a fact that my research experience contributed to getting this internship,” Coolidge said.
Edwards said his students gained a better sense of how scholars develop answers to real world questions.
Researchers from schools around the world will be represented at the convention, including Columbia University, New York University and University of Japan.
Both Preston and Coolidge are excited for the conference. Preston said she is looking forward to the presentations others give and Coolidge said she sees it as “an incredible learning experience.”
Edwards said he will be hiring research assistants for the upcoming summer and hopes to find more money to build a whole undergraduate infrastructure into the Whitehead undergraduate curriculum.
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