Pictured, from left to right:
Robert Russell, Taylor Burnham, Dr. Charles Manning (Chancellor of
the Tennessee Board of Regents), Megan Ledbetter, Michelle Wood, Dr.
Foster Levy, and Maleka Khambaty.
Five East Tennessee State University
undergraduate students recently traveled to Nashville to present
their research findings to state legislators. This annual event
features the research accomplishments of undergraduates from six
institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents system.
The ETSU students were selected to showcase the diversity of
research activities in which undergraduates are engaged.
The students met with the legislators from their home districts,
displayed posters of their work in the Legislative Plaza, and spoke
with Tennessee legislative representatives during a lunch, where Lt.
Gov. Ron Ramsey and TBR Chancellor Dr. Charles Manning welcomed
students to the Capitol.
The ETSU students and their projects are:
Taylor Burnham, a geology major from Mountain City, who spent
several weeks last summer studying the rock formations in the
vicinity of newly discovered petroglyphs in the Altai Mountains of
Maleka Khambaty, a biology major from Johnson City, who is
working to understand how mothers provision their offspring with
calcium. Maleka is comparing calcium deposition in shells of
egg-laying snakes with calcium transfer to developing fetuses in
Megan Ledbetter, an art major from Signal Mountain, conducted
a photographic study of people in the community where her family has
roots—Reeltown, Alabama. Megan is working under the direction of the
nationally acclaimed photographic artist Michael Smith.
Robert Russell, a psychology major from Church Hill, has been
studying the effect of personality traits on behaviors that lead to
dangerous driving. He found that a focus on negative thoughts is
associated with aggressive driving habits.
Michele Wood of Jonesborough conducted her data collection at
the Smithsonian Institution where she measured the long bones of
skeletons. These measurements will be used to develop estimates of
stature from bone sizes.
Undergraduate student research as a learning tool has received
increased emphasis at ETSU because these projects allow students and
faculty to create a personal, comfortable affiliation. Students gain
first-hand research experience while working one-on-one with a
faculty mentor in areas not traditionally involved in undergraduate
The Undergraduate Research Program is administered by the ETSU
Honors College, although funding is not restricted to students in
honors programs. Grants provide support for projects and for travel
to professional meetings.
For more information concerning the Undergraduate Research Program
at ETSU, contact the Honors College Director of Undergraduate
Research Dr. Foster Levy at (423) 439-6926 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or