The Ohio State University at Lima


Undergraduate researchers explore new topics, skills

Choosing to participate in undergraduate research at Ohio State Lima elevates a student’s academic experience. By taking learning beyond the classroom, they build bonds with faculty sponsors and fellow researchers, develop skills in research and writing, and add to the cumulative knowledge of their topics and areas of study.

Each year, undergraduate researchers have multiple opportunities to exhibit their study results, including the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum for seniors and Undergraduate Research Festivals for undergrads. Ohio State Lima students also present at national and international conferences and at the Undergraduate Research Forum in Lima.

In 2019, students presented research and creative inquiries in biology, chemistry, education, English, health sciences and psychology.

2019 Undergraduate Research Forum program


Grandparent Financial Support, Socioeconomic Status, and Parental Stress

Shivani Bhatt and Alyson Grubbs
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Virginia Tompkins, Department of Psychology

Alyson Grubbs and Shivani Bhatt

Grandparents do not stop their support when their children have children of their own.

Student researchers Shivani Bhatt and Alyson Grubbs took a close look at how financial support, socioeconomic status and parental stress relate to each other in the grandparent dynamic.

Their study found that if the parents are of lower socioeconomic status, then the grandparents were more likely to help with housing and transportation and that stress levels were not reported to be lower.

Bhatt will be taking the research skills she developed with her when she transitions to Columbus next year.

“One of the biggest things I've gained from this experience is how to organize a paper and express myself in a professional way,” she said. “It’s easy to have a general idea of what we did but it’s harder to organize what we did in terms of all of these scientific categories. When we went to the undergraduate research forum, it opened my eyes to all of the possibilities of what is out there and what you can do in terms of research here.”

Shivani Bhatt is a sophomore in pre-med from Lima. Alyson Grubbs is a senior in psychology from Lima.

Click here for project abstract

Grandparents often provide financial support to young children and their families, which is related to lower parental stress (Parkes, Sweeting, & Wight, 2015). Limitations of prior research on grandparent financial support include that only single items were used (e.g., Trute, 2003) or only focused on one grandparent relation, often grandmothers (e.g., Musil et al., 2009). The present study utilized a novel 32-item Grandparent Financial Support (GFS) survey, which included an exhaustive list of ways in which grandparents provide support to young children (i.e., 3 to 5-year-olds); additionally, parents answered surveys for each grandparent relation. Participants were recruited through ResearchMatch.org and Head Start and included 120 parents (88% mothers) who completed 290 GFS surveys online (one for each single or coupled grandparent involved in the child’s life). Parents also reported on their socioeconomic status (SES), completed the Parental Stress Scale (Berry & Jones, 1995), and provided other descriptive information for each grandparent (e.g., physical distance). We hypothesized that the GFS items would separate into at least two conceptually distinct categories. As hypothesized, an exploratory factor analysis confirmed the presence of distinct factors which included: Entertainment and Clothing, Daily Caregiving, Transportation, and Household Expenses. Our second hypothesis was that GFS factors are related to SES, for example that individuals with lower SES will receive financial support for more basic needs as opposed to superfluous financial support. We found this to be true of Transportation and Home Expenses. Our third hypothesis was that parents with greater grandparent financial support would report lower parental stress controlling for third variables such as SES. We did not find support for this hypothesis.


PK-9 Male Teachers: Investigating Preservice and Inservice Teacher Perspective

Jackson Dickman, Victoria Smedley
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Britt Collier-Gibson, Department of Educational Studies

Jackson Dickman and Victoria Smedley

As future teachers, Victoria Smedley and Jackson Dickman are very interested in why fewer males teach in elementary than in middle and high schools. To get a handle on teachers’ attitudes, the researchers survived practicing teachers and current education students about the words they use to describe male educators and factors that might encourage or discourage male teachers in the elementary field.

The descriptors were very different from female to male.

“We found that with most educators once they are in the field, you don't see a huge difference between male and female teachers,” Dickman said. “But there is a lot of stigma around being masculine. Many male teachers have a fear of losing their masculinity if they teach younger children.”

Jackson Dickman is a senior in middle childhood education from Troy. Victoria Smedley is a senior in early childhood education of Sidney.

Click here for project abstract

Gender discrepancy in the teaching force is a recurring topic in educational discourse. As a male and a female teacher candidate in middle and early childhood, we attempted to investigate teacher candidates’ and inservice teachers’ perceptions of male teachers that may influence the number of male teachers entering the PK-9 teaching profession.


Synthesis of Glutamate Racemase Inhibitors Via Structure Aided Drug Design

Danielle Schramm, Annie Schramm, and Haley Snyder
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Swathi Mohan, Department of Chemistry

Danielle Schramm, Annie Schramm, Haley Snyder

Organic chemistry is a complex and layered subject that has struck fear into the hearts of many pre-med students who need it as a base for future study. For some, though, the experience is life changing.

Seniors Danielle Schramm, Annie Schramm and Haley Snyder all plan to go on to medical-related fields. The Schramm sisters are headed to a physician assistant program and Snyder is working toward a behavioral analyst career. They found themselves together in an O-chem class and then working with Dr. Swathi Mohan to build a molecule that can inhibit bacterial growth. Basically, if successful, their research could lead to a new class of antibiotics.

“Doing this is more of an eye-opener as to what goes on behind the scenes. We've learned a lot about what it takes to come up with an antibiotic and how difficult this process actually is,” said Annie Schramm. “The cool thing about undergraduate research is that a lot of students ask ‘how is this class going to affect me in the real world’ and undergraduate research shows you the practical applications of what you're learning.”

Annie Schramm is a senior in biology from Columbus Grove. Danielle Schramm is a senior in biology from Columbus Grove. Haley Snyder is a senior in psychology from Elida.

Click here for project abstract

The emergence of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic microbes has led to the increasing focus on development of novel antimicrobial agents and identification of new drug targets. Glutamate racemase (GluR) is one such specific target because the enzyme is involved in early stages of cell wall synthesis. GluR catalyzes the inversion of L-glutamate to D-glutamate using two conserved cysteine amino acid residues in the active site of the enzyme. In 2002, discovery of new class of substrate-based inhibitors and 4-substituted D-Glu analogues by researchers at Eli Lilly has shown promising antibacterial activity for GluR. These researchers used the enzyme MurI isolated from E.coli to test for antibacterial activity. Molecular modeling studies and chemical library searches has given some promising lead compounds.