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Academics Student Features

CSB and SJU students present research at Scholars Showcase

Two students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University were able to showcase and present their undergraduate research at the annual Scholars Showcase, sponsored by the Minnesota Private College Council.

This year’s Scholars Showcase was held on Feb. 22 in a virtual format. Before COVID, this event was held at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Students from 13 of Minnesota’s private colleges shared results of their research and creative scholarship projects. The virtual undergraduate research symposium was made up of 14-minute sessions and fellow students, faculty, legislators and members of the public were all able to attend.

Here are details on the research presented:

Tobias Fenske, CSB first-year student

  • Topic: Diversity in the Classroom: Exploring PWI and HBCU Perceptions of Modern Asian Studies Program
  • Faculty advisor: Deborah Pembleton
  • Discipline: Psychology
  • Research project: Since the beginning of the 21st century, a renewed interest in Asian societies and cultures has become prominent in the West. An increase of students from various walks of life are learning to embrace and understand Asia as a whole, with many entering the field of Asian Studies in their academic career. The purpose of this mixed methods study, which will be completed as a research project over the course of nine months, is to determine how students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) versus Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) perceive the field of Asian Studies. To examine this, the student bodies at two colleges were studied: Spelman College and the College of Saint Benedict. In an attempt to reduce bias, these colleges were chosen as they are remarkably similar in almost all areas of life. This study will set the stage for further research surrounding the relations between racial demographics and the perception of Asian Studies programs.

Vincent Parisi, December 2021 SJU graduate

  • Topic: Effect of Mississippi River on Property Values in Anoka County: A Hedonic Price Analysis
  • Faculty advisor: Samrat Kunwar
  • Discipline: Economics
  • Research project: Minnesota is known as a land of plentiful lakes, most of which provide a high economic value to the communities that surround them. This led us to question whether rivers play the same role to surrounding real estate. We obtained special data and housing and neighborhood characteristics from the Minnesota Geospatial Commons for our sample of 4,125 single family homes. We collected crime rate data from a neighborhood evaluation website, educational data from the Minnesota Department of Education and water quality data from the MPCA. Distance to the river was calculated with ArcMAP GIS software. A buffer was also used to group properties based on water quality monitoring stations. The data was summarized and then three separate regressions were run. The first regression, the basic model, looked at the relationship between house price and the two environmental variables. The secondary model included those variables along with more house characteristics and the full regression included all our experimental variables.

Brigid Smith, CSB senior

Due to studying abroad this semester, Brigid Smith was not able to present, but submitted the following research for the Scholars Showcase:

  • Topic: Collaboration Among NGOs in Central Minnesota
  • Faculty advisor: Christi Siver
  • Discipline: Political Science
  • Research project: Collaboration is one strategy that organizations can use to confront various challenges and innovate their programming and services. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in particular face many obstacles, including the need to meet a variety of demands with a limited number of resources. Although these organizations are increasingly turning towards collaboration to resolve these issues, it is still unclear what exactly motivates NGOs to work together. In this project, I use semi-structured interviews and a survey to investigate why NGOs collaborate in Central Minnesota. Based on a network and qualitative analysis, I identify the most important factors discussed by NGO leaders. Based on the results, trust and resource complementarity appear to play an important role in explaining collaboration in these cases.