Junior Research

CVGS Junior Research









            Lead Instructor:  Shannon Beasley, M.S. 

                      Instructors:   Cheryl Lindeman, Ed.D.
                                               Stephen Smith, Ed.D. (DIG-STATS)

                          Supporting Mentor: Scott Douglass, M.A.

Course Description:
Junior Research is an exciting and unique course!  Each junior will explore a research idea of his or her choosing, translate the idea into a descriptive or experimental study, and work with the idea throughout the year, learning about the various components of the research process along the way. 

In the fall, student researchers develop a research question and hypothesis, learn how to construct a materials and methods section, learn how to search for reputable literature sources, conduct an appropriate literature review and collect data. Students also become proficient in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word, learning how to format their writing and how to analyze research data with both descriptive and inferential statistics. 

In the spring, student researchers learn how to construct an abstract as well as write the results and discussions and conclusions sections.  Students also learn the essentials of effective communication of a research report as they design and share Power Point presentations, poster displays, and webpages. The internship experience is part of the junior research course on Fridays February - May. 

Course Materials: 
Google Documents is home to the Junior Research folder where instructors and students communicate daily.  This forum is where all important guidelines, assignments, and activities can be found.  Each student also has a research binder that is shared with their research mentor.  Peer-reviewed journal article critiques and various guidelines, forms, and reference resources are placed in this binder throughout the course of the year.  Google Calendar is where the students can find what is going on daily for the whole year in research.  A rubric calendar is shared in Google Documents in the beginning of the year with the students.  This rubric provides an overview of point allocations for semester grade distribution with regard to assignments given.  

Active Collaborations:
Many projects in the junior research course are facilitiated through the volunteer efforts of contributing scientists, engineers, and business people within the central Virginia region and beyond.  The research mentors would like to express our thanks to all our many collaborators over the years, and especially to those who are currently support our student research efforts:

Babcock & Wilcox
Hurt & Proffitt
Lynchburg College Psychology Dept.
Lynchburg Grows
Partnership for Research and Education in Plants, Virginia Tech
Randolph College Psychology Dept.
Sweet Briar College Biology Dept.  
University of Virginia Astronomy and Biology Departments.
VA Department of Enviromental Quality

Late Policy:
It is imperative that students manage their projects well and turn in assignments in a timely fashion, as the research project and paper build on each previous step.  It is for this reason that the late policy for this course is very stringent.  All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day that they are due, unless a deadline extension is provided.  Ten percent of the total point value of the assignment will be deducted for the first and second day the assignment is late.  Weekends and holidays count as late days, as all assignments can be turned in electronically.  After the second day, the highest possible grade the student can earn on the assignment is 50% of its original point value.  The late penalty at this point will be up to the discretion of both the student’s research instructor and/or mentor.  Of course, if a student has an excused absence, then assignments will be due the day the student returns to school.  If a student is absent for more than one day, and if assignment due dates occur during that absence, the student should e-mail their research instructor and mentor to determine how each assignment due date will be handled. 

There are assignments that are specifically noted to be due at the beginning of class (BOC):

-20% if the assignment is not turned in at the beginning of class, but is pulled up on the computer
-50% if not completed, but turned in on the final due date with a signature that shows that one adult (non-parent) has edited the paper. 

Friday's-Failure to sign in and sign out will result in a 10 point (1% deduction) from your final semester grade.  It is imperative that we know where the students are at all times for saftey purposes.  Only you can sign yourself in and out.  The execption to this is when a student is collecting data offsite, and returns directly to their home high school after their offsite visit, and when they have preapproval to do this with their project mentor in advance.  

Research Bound Notebook

Organization Guidelines

You will be expected to have your notebook organized for your mentor meetings be required to have it so key comments can be recorded and signed.  This process will help you keep on the research trail!

Cover -   Full Name,  Research Class (Alpha, Beta, or Gamma)


o   Reserve the first four pages (2 pages front and back) for the Table of Contents

o   Write in pencil (professionals use pens, but you’re practicing), NO ERASING, cross out, cannot rip out pages, need to fold page over, double-sided pages

o   Number all pages in the lower right corner

o   Date each notebook entry and sign it.

o   Sections:  (make simple tabs for each of 1.) Planning Notes, 2.) Mentor Meeting Notes, 3.) Statistics Notes, 4.) Methods/Data Collection

o   Adding additional evidence: – photos, printed materials, material order form, mentor check sheets – use DoubleStick Tape (not glue please!)

o   Do not tear out pages

Punctuality is essential in any profession, and the profession of a student is not without penalty for tardiness. Two tardies a semester will be forgiven.  The third and subsequent tardies will trigger a one percent deduction from the student's final semester grade. 

Friday Sign in/out:
Friday's are a very unique time for students to often work independently on their research project.  It is for this reason that students will be expected to sign in and out each Friday morning, in room 103.  The first week, students will be forgiven from signing in/out if they do not remember.  Every week after the first week, students will receive a 10 point deduction from their semester grade for failure to sign in and/or out.  

2013 Junior Research Project Summaries


Animal Behavior & Genetics

Sunny Murthy



Brittany Gallahan

Flower Frejosky

Lauren Brittigan


Cell and Molecular Biology Blake Nowakowski  

Chemistry and Engineering

Ana Cedillo

Amelia Greene
Bradley Wetzel

Danny Choi
Elizabeth Francis

Logan Merkle

Matt McAden

Mohammad Chaudhry

Richard Middaugh

Patrick Cundiff

Environmental Sciences

Jae Bae


Energy and Transportation

Kevin Sankoorikal



Casey Martin

Sam Fedeler


Medicine and Health

Amanda Myrick

Ben Cavanaugh

Ben Ottman

Braelyn Riner

Cypress Krieger

Daniel Yoo

Esther Kim

Evan Lindsay

Glenna Manns

Hannah Yoo

Josh Stone

Judy Nunley

Lindsay Stephens

Nick Reed

Ryan "Hunter" Wilson

Sam Know

Sara Natour

Sarah Tucker


Brant Manning

Chelsea Umberger

Chris Chueh

Chris Olson

Jason Zhang

Josh Ratliff

Megan Beisser

Prabdeep Mathone


Maddie Baldwin

Lee Bertrand

Lindsay Bohn

Kyle Goldman

Elizabeth Hamilton

Kara Hudson

Chris Johnson

Wes Kuegler

Danielle Lee

Michael Lichtenberger

Sydney Morris

Althea Neighbors

Jordan Pfau

Kelsey Plankeel

Seth Shank

Jacob Slagle

Cassie Willis


Jessica Bryant