Islander Students Earn Research & Innovation Grants to Conduct High-Impact Studies

By Luisa Buttler, Elizabeth Mock | Published: May 10, 2019

Islander Students Earn Research & Innovation Grants to Conduct High-Impact Studies

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – From phytoplankton levels in Texas waters, to counseling for single mothers, to the health of NCAA women’s soccer players, Islander students are involved in a wide range of research endeavors. The Division of Research and Innovation (R&I) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is committed to supporting this work through its internal funding program.

“Our internal student research competition enables students to design, fund, and complete a research project on campus or in the community,” said Dr. Ahmed Mahdy, Vice President for R&I. “That experience prepares them for graduate school or the workforce.”

R&I granted up to $800 each to eight Islander student researchers for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year. One student, Nora Maza, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in Counselor Education, received funding for her project titled, “Enhancing Support for Single Mothers through a Psychoeducational Counseling Group.” Thanks to the grant, Maza and other counseling education students will implement a psychoeducational counseling group for single mothers to be held at the Antonio E. Garcia Arts & Education Center. Maza’s goal is to provide a safe space for single mothers to share experiences with one another, build healthy coping skills, and learn about community resources. The program will also provide masters-level counseling students with the opportunity to gain real world experience in group facilitation.

“One of my favorite aspects of the Garcia Center is the opportunity it provides to A&M-Corpus Christi students to create meaningful programs that impact our community,” said Maza. “Single mother households account for 21 percent of local family households, which is higher than the state and national percentage. Not only is the percentage higher, but there is a lack of mental health resources for these women. It is important to address these gaps in resources and provide services that can have a lasting impact on families.”

R&I regularly provides funding for innovative high-impact student research with the goal of increasing student competitiveness within the workforce. Islander students receiving R&I 2019-2020 grants include:

  • Tiffany Chin, Master of Science in Marine Biology student, for her project titled, “Influence of Different Freshwater Inflow Regimes on Phytoplankton Biomass and Community Composition in Three Texas Estuaries,” with faculty mentor Dr. Michael Wetz, Associate Professor of Marine Biology.
  • Chi Huang, Master of Science in Marine Biology student, for her project titled, “Composition and Distribution of Epiphytic Algae within Seagrass through Image Analysis and Effect of Nutrient Level on Accumulation Pattern of Epiphytic Algae and Seagrass Morphology,” with faculty mentor Dr. Kirk Cammarata, Associate Professor of Biology.
  • Nora Maza, Ph.D. in Counselor Education student, for her project titled, “Enhancing Support for Single Mothers through a Psychoeducational Counseling Group,” with faculty mentor Dr. Kristina Nelson, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education.
  • Ethan Taulbee, Master of Science in Fisheries and Mariculture student, for his project titled, “Scale Microchemistry as a Non-Lethal Alternative for Tracking Individually Variable Migration Patterns in Mobile Fish,” with faculty mentor Dr. Benjamin Walther, Assistant Professor in the Department of Life Sciences.
  • Ashley Taylor, Bachelor of Science in Biology student, for her project titled, “Growth Rates as Indicators for Larval Fish Health Post Hurricane Harvey,” with faculty mentor Dr. Simon Geist, Assistant Professor of Marine Fisheries.
  • Kaela Teh, Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies student, for her project titled, “Islanders Helping the Early Acceleration of Readers Together (iHEART): A School-Based Tutorial Program for Teacher Candidates and Primary School Children,” with faculty mentor Dr. Bethanie Pletcher, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction.
  • Jordan Wainwright, Master of Science in Kinesiology-Sports Science student, for her project titled, “The Effect of Pre-season on Renal Biomarkers in NCAA Division One Female Soccer Players in South Texas,” with faculty mentor Dr. Daniel Newmire, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology.
  • Hao Yu, Ph.D. in Coastal and Marine System Science student, for her project titled, “Contribution of Sediment Methane to the Atmosphere from Subtropical Lagoons of Corpus Christi, Texas,” with faculty mentor Dr. Richard Coffin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences.