2022 Undergrad Research Mentor Awards go to Eger and Maher

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Eger in history receives the permanent faculty prize

Associate Professor Asa Eger is a historian whose research interests include Islamic and Byzantine history and archaeology, the Eastern Mediterranean, borders and frontiers, and environmental history. Since joining UNCG in 2009, Dr. Eger supervised 12 students in 14 projects. Using a collaborative mentoring approach, Dr. Eger encourages students to create individual projects that allow them to explore topics and real-world problems they are passionate about – while developing their research skills in the process.

dr Eger has published four books, including the award-winning The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange between Christian and Muslim Communities and 2021’s Antioch: A History, available from Routledge. He currently has four more books in preparation, ranging from the excavation he recently led at a 10th-century frontier fort in Turkey to the re-examination of materials from a 1930s Princeton excavation in Antioch and an investigation of the plain of Aleppo.

Students have worked with Eger both locally and internationally, with six supported by UNCG Undergraduate Research and Creativity – or URCA – awards. “The funding brings students in and out of archives, on international research trips and helps them to digitally and innovatively develop research at home.”

Seth Rumbley, for example, traveled to Israel to survey the site of a destroyed Palestinian village, speak to local scholars, correct oral histories and delve into the state archives in Jerusalem. When Gordan Cathcart was recently unable to travel due to the pandemic, Eger helped him focus on a digital project about a little-known Bosnian community in Israel, which he pursued, examining British photography and connecting remotely with Israeli scholars and people association, whose grandparents and great-grandparents lived in the region.

for dr Eger’s bachelor’s thesis is about opening doors permanently. “Expanding historical narrative into interdisciplinary fields like archeology and public history challenges students to be critical of each individual perception or story,” he says. “I want to prepare my students to become critical thinkers – empowered, better informed, intelligent and independent people.”

Seth Rumbley ’17 on his work with Eger:

dr Eger and I worked together to prepare a submission for a globally engaged URCA that included data collection and archival research on Palestinians displaced from Al-Kabri. This experience was fundamental to my professional development… I gained a deeper understanding of the complexities of global conflict and displacement, which became my main area of ​​interest in my postgraduate studies in social work. During my studies, I did an internship at local refugee resettlement agencies, where I learned from my experience as a mentee of Dr. Eger created to help develop relationships with refugees from Syria and Iraq… education and success and actively works to prepare students for their future.”

Bret Dang ’19 on his work with Eger:

“Since spring 2017 I have been looked after by Dr. Eger on a URCA research project on archaeological investigations of the Cilicia region in Turkey and their historical settlement patterns from the classical to the early modern period. His guidance was invaluable and I was able to hone a variety of skills and experiences needed to prepare my future graduate school plans… Outside of the URCA Advisory Service, Dr. Eger also almost all my honorary work and independent studies. tried again to encourage me as a student to take on more rigorous and rewarding academic challenges beyond the scope of normal coursework, ultimately culminating in his mentoring of my joint thesis with Senior Honors in History and Religious Studies. His guidance has always been with my long-term goal – a postgraduate degree in archeology – in mind and his support over the years has increased my confidence in my own abilities and my willingness to continue learning beyond undergraduate studies.”

Maher in Kinesiology Receives Pre-Tenure Faculty Award

Assistant Professor Jaclyn Maher is a kinesiologist with a research focus on motivational processes, the effects of physical activity and sedentary behavior on psychological well-being, and the use of technology to capture the dynamics of motivation, behavior and feelings, and to intervene in behavior. Since joining UNCG in 2017, Dr. Maher mentors 21 students on independent studies in her physical activity and lifelong wellbeing laboratory, with three students continuing beyond these initial independent studies in her laboratory.

Maher has over 50 publications and her work has been funded by institutions such as the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Her recent R15 grant from the National Institution on Aging looks at motivational processes in older adults that affect healthy behavior. The R15 grant integrates undergraduate students into the research process, with Maher’s project supporting two students per summer for three years.

In Maher’s lab, students gain in-depth hands-on experience with the processes of exercise research, including participant recruitment, pilot study procedures, compliance monitoring, and data analysis. So far, three of them have received internal grants from the School of Health and Human Sciences to conduct independent research projects.

Working with students in Maher’s lab has resulted in publications in Nutrients and Annals of Behavioral Medicine over the past three years, both with student co-authors. Two other publications are currently under review in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity with one student as first author and in the International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology with four student co-authors. Her students have also presented their work at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, the UNCG McNair Summer Research Symposium, and the UNCG Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo.

Rebecca Rice ’19 on her work with Maher:

“In my first semester, working with Dr. Maher, I was assigned tasks such as piloting questionnaires, downloading and entering accelerometer data, and helping to create instructions for study participants. I was also allowed to lead some of the training sessions with the participants. All of these assignments have helped me grow in my problem-solving skills, think outside the box, and feel comfortable giving directions…Dr. Maher gave me the freedom to develop my own research question that explored students’ sporting and athletic identities. Athletes in the transition from competitive sport. Under her guidance I was able to conduct a literature search, create a scientific abstract and present my results. dr Maher gave me confidence and no matter how many questions I asked, he was always willing to help and taught me the ability to answer those questions myself.”

Meghan Harduk ’19 on her work with Maher:

“The work in the laboratory of Dr. Maher was an amazing experience for me to see how research is collected and stored and gave me an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with concepts we discussed in class… The relationship I had with Dr. Maher This experience was an important part of my decision to continue working in the lab after completing my honors coursework… This extra time in the lab became my senior honors project… I became interested in the connection between physical activity and food intake. This project quickly became an educational research experience unrivaled by anything I would do as part of my graduate degree…Dr. Maher continued to challenge me to do something I never thought possible: publish the results of my honorary work in a scholarly journal…I am so proud to have been involved in this work during my career as an undergraduate and as a student to have something so prestigious to show for it. Without the encouragement and support of Dr. None of this would have been possible for Maher during my undergraduate career. ”


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