Ohio University Libraries Highlights Graduate Researchers

 Graduate students know, when they apply to OHIO, that their time will soon be filled with research. Thoughts of hours spent pouring over archives and performing literature reviews seem almost romantic as they pick a topic of study. But when it comes time to actually begin the research often students become utterly lost.

Now, Ohio University Libraries, in partnership with the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) and the Libraries’ donors, are providing a bright side to the confusion of graduate research.

Through the new Graduate Research Series @ Alden, graduate students from all disciplines have the chance to present on their research topic and their research process in a professional setting to a captivated audience.

The goal of the series is two-fold: give students a convenient yet distinguished opportunity to present their research, and to help other graduate students learn about the various processes and types of research available to them.

“We really want the research process to come to life,” said Diana Nichols, subject librarian for journalism, who worked with Lorraine Wochna, a research librarian, and Tracey Kelly of GSS to develop the program.

The research series is a distinguished honor given only to the most deserving students. The generosity of donors has provided the student speakers with a $200 honorarium that enhances the distinction.

All graduate students are eligible to apply for the series. For the first application process, there were over 20 applicants vying for the spring quarter slot. Student speakers are selected by a committee consisting of two Ohio University librarians, two Graduate Student Senate members and one member of Faculty Senate.

The first student honored at the Graduate Research Series @ Alden was Kelly Kathleen Ferguson, a Ph.D. candidate in creative writing.

Ferguson spoke on  the research for her recently published book “My Life as Laura.” Ferguson’s book is a creative non-fiction memoir that follows Kelly as she explores the historical journey of Laura Ingalls Wilder through visiting the home sites of the beloved author.

“I love talking about the research that went into the book, so [it was] a treat to speak for an appreciative audience. Although I wrote the book for a popular audience, it’s nice to have the considerable work I did recognized [in an academic setting].”

The Graduate Research Series @Alden has proven successful so far with the first presentation well attended, and 21 applicants in the running for the honor of becoming the second speaker scheduled for mid-May. The series will take place twice a semester beginning in the fall.

The Libraries and GSS are excited to see how the program develops as it gains notoriety. “I would like to see it burst out of the Libraries because so many people attend,” said Wochna. “What if it turns into a conference or a journal…you never know.” The potential of this young project is endless.

The goal of the Libraries is to support the educational advancement of students and researchers. Through programs like the Graduate Research Series @ Alden that goal is being realized.



Photo by Patrick Traylor

The crowd enjoys Kelly Kathleen Ferguson’s presentation as the first speaker in the Graduate Research Series @ Alden on February 17, 2012.