Friday, January 11, 2019

[265] MTSU BioTAP Scholar Reid’s research examines roles of biology grad students’ social networks

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —MTSU graduate student Joshua Reidfinds himself in select company this academic year.

Reid, 26, of Murfreesboro, is one of 18 people from across the U.S. to be named a BioTAP Scholarfor 2018-19 by collecting and analyzing data as a group for one year.

The Biology Teaching Assistant Project, or BioTAP, is a research coordination network funded by the National Science Foundation to empower universities to use research to improve the quality of graduate student teaching.

Reid is pursuing a mathematics and science education doctorate degree at MTSU, specializing in biology education. The Cullman, Alabama, native earned his master’s degree from Alabama A&M in Huntsville following his bachelor’s and associate degrees from Athens State University and Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama, respectively.

Following a selective application process, he and the others, which included only about four grad students and the rest faculty members, began to enact research projects that identify biology graduate teaching assistant teaching professional development.

Reid said biology graduate students enter graduate school under two developing roles: researcher and teacher. 

“I am looking at the social networks of biology graduate students to see how they may reinforce these roles, produce conflicts between these roles or promote positive relationships between these roles,” he said.

To date, the BioTAP project is on track, timing-wise, Reid added. 

“The project is one smaller study of my dissertation, which includes three studies,” he said. “I am planning to defend my dissertation proposal in January and begin collecting this data in the spring.” 

The group met online early on, then groups working on similar projects get together every two to three months.

“We have made collaborations that will last forever,” Reid said.

Bud Fischer, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, told Reid he had done “a great job” in completing the process and being selected a BioTAP Scholar. 

“We are thrilled that Josh is representing math and science education and MTSU as he continues to develop his expertise as a biology education scholar,” Fischer added.

Reid told Fischer he is “truly grateful to have a supportive college, faculty and mentors to support me in my endeavors.”

Provost Mark Byrnessaid this is great for Reid and the university.

“Joshua’s been tremendous in his role as a graduate teaching assistant and this certainly is outstanding recognition,” Byrnes said. “We look forward to seeing his progress and results next year.”

Reid, who is being mentored by biology assistant professor Grant Gardner, said his time at MTSU has “been pleasant” since arriving in fall 2016. “I have been provided a lot of opportunities to grow and develop as a scholar,” he added.

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Biology, in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, one of the programs.

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