Proposals for Undergraduate Research Invited

The Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program curators invite proposals from undergraduates to pursue research or artistry projects alongside a VCSU faculty mentor of their choosing. Past projects include: Justin Tangen, with Dr. Andre Delorme, on: Using Side Scanning Sonar to Detect Mussel Beds in North Dakota Rivers Callie Smith with Dr. Kathryn Woehl, on: The Impact of Personal Experience in the Effects of an Empathy-Building Simulation Baylee Swenson and Jordan Bushaw with Professor Susan Pfeifer, on: The Effects of Motion Sickness in Virtual Reality Environments Sarah Zacher with Dr. Steven King, on: Uncovering the Silent Voices of the…

Projects funded from Spring 2020 RFP

Four projects were selected for funding for research work in 2020/21: Sage M. Longtin: Diatom-inferred water quality assessment of two basins in Lake Sakakawea, ND;  Mentor Sabrina Brown, Science Department Quinton Vonesh: An  Analysis on the Utilization and Optimization of Post Activation Potentiation for College Athletes; Mentor: Sarah Milner, Kinesiology and Human Performance Department Heather Lobley: Changing Keys, An investigation of the differences between the pianos of well-known composers and the modern piano; Mentor: Kenneth Jimenez, Music Department Breean Hanson: Aquatic Invertebrate Diversity and Abundance Depending on Habitat Within the Cottonwood Lake Study Area; Mentor: Bob Anderson  

Request for Proposals for March 10, 2020

The Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program invites you to submit a proposal to conduct research alongside your favorite faculty member. The work that you propose should be significant and advanced, generally requiring 100 hours of effort. In exchange, you will set foot on a path of discovery, have available $250 for supplies, and earn $1,000. Start by having a look at what other VCSU students have done in past works, particularly the project abstracts so as to get a sense of scope, peruse a few sample proposals, and finally review the scoring rubric that our project reviewers will use…

SOAR Projects Announced for Fall 2019 Competition

Three projects were selected for funding for research work in 2020: Zander Dale: No REZervations: Creating Navajo Pop Art, Mentor: Gratia Brown Rose Gaffner: An Examination Throughout the Years: Societal Trends and Billboard Top 5 Charts 2006-2016, Mentor: Emily Fenster Charlotte Huschka: A Student Approach to Retention on a Micro Level: Why do Students Stay, Mentor: Tammy Katuin These students will join thirty six previous SOAR recipients, each project evaluated using the SOAR-Scoring-Rubric. SOAR projects are solicited in at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters, the program incepted at VCSU in 2014.

2020 Request for Project Proposals

Have you been working on an idea that deserves more careful systematic development? The Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program at VCSU is a faculty driven mechanism to encourage undergraduates to engage in innovative research or creative artistry projects. Twice annually a call for proposals is broadcast to students inviting their identification of a faculty mentor and the submission of a five page proposal outlining their idea and work plan which can extend over a period of one year. Just after the proposal deadline of midnight on November 1st, the SOAR Advisory Council will evaluate the submitted project proposals…

Five Projects Funded for 2019/20

Five projects were selected for funding for research work in 2019/20: Spencer Dorsey: Seasonal Migrations fo Smallmouth Bass in the Sheyenne River , Mentor: C. Williams Matthew Lein: Construction Management System Prototype for Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, Mentor: D. DeMuth Gabrielle Myers: Rejecting Environmental Science and Evidenced-Based Policy-Making , Mentor: L. da Vinha Ethan Rasset: Determination of Age and Growth Rates of Northern Pike in Devils Lake, North Dakota via Sectioned Cleithra, Mentor: B. Anderson Ryan Wharry: Sustaining Elite narratives of National Identify in a Time of Growing Diversification of American Society, Mentor: L. da Vinha These students will join thirty one previous SOAR recipients, each project evaluated using the SOAR-Scoring-Rubric….

Student’s SOAR Proposals due March 18, 2019

Five SOAR awards are available for project work during the upcoming summer and/or fall semesters, each providing a $250 materials budget and a stipend of $1,000. Grappling with the details of a complex problem, refining techniques from similar works, innovating solutions, then reporting discoveries is at the essence of the research and artistry that the SOAR program supports. VCSU faculty, many with national and international reputation encourage you to explore the possible, and we invite inquiries on partnering on your research or artistry project. Generally project work extends through a semester, possibly the school year, students working say five or six…

Become a SOAR recipient! Proposals due Nov. 1, 2018

Do you have an idea or a project that could be developed through a focused study? Can you imagine any one of the VCSU faculty or staff working with you on your project as a research mentor? Would you appreciate a $1,000 award and $250 in materials in exchange for your extended effort and discovery? Then join the thirty past SOAR recipients by submitting a research or creative activity proposal today! Have a look at these previously funded project proposals  as a gauge  and writing standard; all proposals are judged using the SOAR Scoring Rubric. Review the guidelines and application form  and the full…

Matthew Lein Earns Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Radon is a “sticky” noble gas which can have deleterious impact to humans when breathed over long periods of time.  A signature for Radon gas is in a spontaneous emission of an alpha particle of a characteristic energy in a well understood radioactive process. Instrumenting your basement with a device to monitor Radon gas continuously is not generally an affordable project, high precision measuring devices cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Radon gas is commonplace deep underground in the stokes and caverns of the Homestake Lab, located near Sturgis in South Dakota.  An international collaboration of scientists and…

Five Projects Selected for Funding

Five projects were recently evaluated by SOAR committee members, and all selected for funding for work in 2018/19: Benjamin Kietzman: Developing and testing  lead and mercury biosensors; a synthetic biology, Mentor: Dr. Hilde van Gijssel Cooper Folmer:  Evaluation of Age and Growth Rates of Smallmouth Bass, Pre and Post Construction of East End Devils Lake Outlet, Mentor: Dr. Casey Williams Ellen Margaret Anderson: Percent Occurrence of Historical Sample Size of Select Stream Fish of North Dakota, Mentor: Dr. Lauren Dennhardt and Dr. Casey Williams Ethan Rasset: Feeding Habits of Smallmouth Bass in the Sheyenne River, Mentor: Dr. Casey Williams Sarah Zacher: Uncovering the Silent Voices of the Past:   A…

Request for Proposals Due in March 10, 2018

Student Opportunities for Undergraduate Research (SOAR) To encourage undergraduate research and creative activities on the VCSU campus, funding has been set aside for research projects via the VCSU SOAR program. Via proposal, students can request up to $1,250 ($1,000 in salary for the student and $250 for expenses). Proposals should be written in consultation with a Faculty mentor,  these exemplar proposals providing a framework. To ensure your project has the highest evaluation, consult the SOAR Scoring Rubric to know what items to emphasize in your writing. Review the guidelines and application form and guidelines,  exemplar proposals previously submitted, and the full listing…

Four SOAR Projects Selected for Fall 2017

Six projects were recently evaluated by SOAR committee members, the following four proposals were selected for funding for work in 2018: Niklas Ernst: Government and Academia – A Comparative Analysis of Academics’ Political Participation Through the Electoral Process, Mentor: Dr. Luis da Vinha Daniel Machado:  Student Perception of DACA in North Dakota, Mentor: Dr. Luis da Vinha Jayme Menard: Evaluation of Mussel Age and Growth RatePost Devils Lake Outlets, Mentor: Dr. Andre Delorme  Ryan Schaner: Climate Change Model Analyses on North Dakota’s Shifting Prairie Ecosystems, Mentor:Lauren Dennhardt These four students will join a list twenty two previous recipients, each project evaluated using the SOAR-Scoring-Rubric.

Request for Proposals, Deadline November 1, 2017

Student Opportunities for Undergraduate Research (SOAR) To encourage undergraduate research on the VCSU campus, funding has been set aside for projects via the VCSU SOAR program. The total dollars that can be requested per proposal may not exceed $1,250 (maximum of $1,000 in salary for the student plus a maximum of $250 for expenses). Proposals for projects should be written in consultation with a Faculty mentor that you select.  Please consult the SOAR Scoring Rubric to know what items to emphasize in your writing. For application form and guidelines, please visit: Exemplar proposals submitted previously at VCSU can be…

Project Awards Fall 2016

Two students were awarded SOAR grants to work on projects in 2017: Madeline Bennett for the project entitled “(Re)Drawing Borders of Peace and War: A Political Geography of State Partition,” and will be working with Dr. Luis da Vinha. Miles Libak for the project “Unintended and Intended Consequences: U.S. Government Policy towards Native Americans,” and will be working with Dr. Anthony Dutton.

Spring 2016 Awards Announced

SOAR applications were accepted in March 2016 and evaluated by the committee, with the following two projects selected for funding: Mackenzie Bruce, “Does the herbicide 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid induce epigenetic changes in G12-Chinese Hamster Ovary cells?”  with Dr. Hilde van Gijssel mentoring. Alexis Getzlaff, “The Pickled Fish Project” with Dr. Casey Williams mentoring. We congratulate the awardees, appreciate all students submitting proposals this year, and encourage participation in the next round of proposals which is anticipated in October 2016. Since the program’s inception in 2014, 17 students have participated on 15 projects.

SOAR Spring 2016 – Request for Proposals

The SOAR program invites proposals by students for research and artistry projects for the Summer and Fall of 2016. Proposals should be developed by students in a collaboration with Faculty-mentors and submitted online by the end of the day on Friday March 25, 2016. For more information, please review the program description which includes submission criteria and submission links. Feel free to contact with any questions.

Inventory of Research Activity at VCSU

To better inform the VCSU community on the scholarly works of students, faculty, and staff,  the SOAR program is hosting a web-based form to inventory activities. Faculty regularly attend conferences, host workshops, publish papers and representing VCSU with pride, and a goal of the SOAR program  is to facilitate more students to do the same. As we accumulate a listing of current and past activities, we will add to the SOAR web site a searchable database and mapping, believing as more understand the great works of our Vikings, we might attract even more participation to the program. To enter your…

Second Round Winners Announced

As a result a second Request for Proposal in March 2015, two students earned SOAR awards: Justin Tangen, mentored by Dr. Andre Delorme on “Using Side Scanning Sonar to Detect Mussel Beds in North Dakota Rivers.” Niklas Ernst, mentored by Dr. Luis da Vinha “The Unfinished Presidencies: Why Incumbent Presidents Lose Their Re-Election Campaigns.” For an up to date listing of SOAR recipients, see The announcement for the next round for proposals are anticipated in early October 2015.

Banquet for SOAR Scholars Set for May 2015

A banquet to celebrate the scholarly work of the first recipients of the Student Opportunities for Academic Research program will take place on Wednesday eventing on May 6th, 2015. The parents of the SOAR scholars are asked to join their children’s faculty mentors and special guests President Tisa Mason, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Margaret Dahlberg, and Dr. Steven King. An R.S.V.P. to Heidi Lindeman is necessary to attend, questions to

SOAR Seeking Annual Publication Title

The SOAR Advisory Committee is asking VCSU Faculty or Staff to nominate a title for an annual publication that highlights the projects and learning associated with the undergraduate research and artistry that is funded through this program. An example is the Aurora publication for the North Dakota Space Grant Program. The committee seeks a catchy, thoughtful name for a publication that will document Valley City State University student achievement for years to come. To nominate a publication name, please follow:

SOAR Spring 2015 Program

The SOAR program announces an invitation for proposals by students for research and artistry projects for Summer and Fall of 2015. Submissions are due at 4 pm on Friday April 10, to apply follow: For more information please contact

SOAR Awards Announced for 2015

The Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) program was recently established at VCSU and implemented as a committee effort The SOAR program is announces its student awards for 2015 listed below: Tarah Cleveland with Dr. Iqbal, on “Investigating a new approach to web vistor engagement measurement” Logen Olesen with Dr. Kilgore, on “The use of sand fraction lithology analysis to differentiate sediment layers at an archeological sight in Grand Portage, Minnesota” Maxwell Kollar with Dr. van Gjissel, on “Creating a Bacterial Mercury Sensor using Synthetic Biology” Eric Schauer with Dr. Ketterling, on “Engineering an Autonomous Ecosystem for Use in Science…