Scholarship campaign illuminates intellectual discoveries

What do bees, filmmakers and mutating genes have in common with a Lutheran theologian, victims of crime in Linn County and mud turtles?

All illustrate the research subjects Mount Mercy faculty are engaged in with students thanks to a unique scholarship campaign on campus. The Pathways to Scholarship campaign showcased the abundance of research opportunities on campus and sparked new ideas for future research projects. The campaign, which launched early Spring and wrapped up in May, utilized everything from posters and Q&A’s to an interactive card game, combining trivia and academia in a way that helped engrain the message of scholarship to students, faculty and staff.

The most striking aspect of the campaign was the card game. Splashed with the tagline, “Scholarship: It’s Not What You Think,” giant posters on campus highlighted faculty research projects. Small game cards were also sprinkled across campus, each containing a question — the answer to which could be found by reading the posters. By studying the posters, students could write the answer on the card and turn it in for the chance to win a 32” flat screen TV. Bright and colorful, the posters shared academic research, fun facts and reflections from faculty members.

“It was neat to read about the projects going on around campus,” says Rebecca Cuvelier, a junior nursing major from Lawlor, Iowa who won the TV. “It was eye-opening to see what each professor was researching.”

An interactive Q&A between students and faculty members gave students another opportunity to learn more about research endeavors. The campaign culminated in the Scholarship Festival, which showcased exemplary student work and brought to life the rich array of student academic achievement as well as student faculty research partnerships.

“I’ve definitely come full circle,” says Cuvelier. “I first thought scholarship was financial aid. Now I know it’s academic achievement.”

“Our goal was to increase faculty-student collaboration in scholarship, and to spark a deeper understanding of research endeavors,” says Mount Mercy Acting Provost Melody Graham, Ph.D., who was a key contributor to the campaign’s efforts. “Research has shown that this type of collaboration is one of the high-impact practices that add value to a student’s education, and Mount Mercy is dedicated to offering students research opportunities in a field of their interest. This campaign was a great first step toward that goal.”