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GWSB Undergraduates Gain Hands-On Research Experience

From left to right: Professor Edward Cherian and Tom Ryan, BA,'11, worked on a research project together.

If an intricate understanding of health care information technology does not seem like a typical undergraduate staple, that’s because it isn’t.  The foreign acquisition of banks in emerging markets, parallel coordinates and cross-cultural management, optimizing call center service with text mining and the economic impact of online, consumer-generated media are also not your standard undergraduate fare. But these are just a few of the topics that GWSB students have had the opportunity to master as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

REU creates partnerships between GWSB undergraduate students and faculty.  Students apply either directly to faculty to serve as research assistants for specific projects, or as a team with a proposal for case competition funding.

“The program is vital tool in increasing student engagement in both an educational and behavioral context,” Joelle Carter, director of undergraduate programs, said.  “Students are required to take more ownership of their learning and they learn more.  Retention rates, achievement and learning outcomes are higher.”

Tom Ryan, ’11, who is a business, economics and public policy major with a minor in political science, is living proof of this theory.  He began the program in August 2009 as a research assistant for Edward Cherian, professor of information systems & technology management, and has been involved ever since.

“It defined my GW experience,” Ryan said.  “REU offers undergrads an opportunity to become so much more connected and personal with a professor, along with all the technical research skills, that’s what’s so great about the program.”

Together Cherian and Ryan co-authored a paper on healthcare information technology research titled “A Stakeholder-Focused Approach to a Health Information Technology System of Systems Architecture.”  While this paper is in the process of being reviewed for publication in the Journal of the American Medial Informatics Association, their second paper is already underway.

“I was very pleasantly surprised to find the quality of the intellect at the undergraduate level,” Cherian said.  “There’s a point at which the student will know more than the professor knows because of all the research; Tom reached that point before any of the graduate students I had.  You can’t buy that kind of enthusiasm.”

The REU program culminates in a research symposium on April 21, where students present capstone projects with their faculty mentors.  There are eight student research assistants for the 2010 – 2011 academic year, with plans to increase the program size in the future.

For more information about the Research Experience for Undergraduates, click here.


Posted by gwsb on March 18, 2011 | Filed under: GWSB News.

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MBA Admissions and Experience Blog

The members of the MBA Admissions team contribute to the blog with postings about recruitment tours, events, interviews with current students, and insights about the admissions process. The team is composed of:

Christopher Storer, Executive Director
Jason Garner, Associate Director
Patsy Torres, Assistant Director
Jason Smith, Assistant Director
Shelly Heinrich, Admissions Consultant
Jessica Page, Coordinator