News from The Mahurin Honors College
Dr. Rodney King and Gillie Brown
- Sydney Windhorst
- Friday, October 14th, 2022
The Mahurin Honors College (MHC) has always made it a priority to equip students with the resources they need to pursue learning both inside and outside of the classroom. When looking for opportunities outside of the classroom, many scholars look for opportunities to conduct research. WKU faculty members are great at connecting with scholars, but few have worked as closely with MHC scholars pursuing their academic passions than Dr. Rodney King.
Dr. King, Professor of Biology at Western Kentucky University, has been working with students in research. He has an active research program, as well as teaches a number of classes, particularly relating to microbiology and molecular biology. The ability to complete research with students is actually what drew Dr. King to WKU where he has been teaching and doing research for the past 20 years. HIs research is primarily focused around bacteria phages.
One student with whom Dr. King worked closely with during their time on the Hill is Gillie Brown (MHC’ 22). Gillie majored in Biology and Chemistry while at WKU. She was first interested in Dr. King’s lab after taking a class through the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science. Gillie participated in Dr. King’s research lab for about 3 to 4 years while at WKU. From this research, Gillie completed a Capstone Experience/Thesis (CE/T).
Something unique about the research program here at WKU in the biology department is that freshman are given the opportunity to participate in research. Research is not just in a lab. It can also be conducted outside in nature or in other locations relevant to what you are trying to research. Dr. King encourages scholars who are considering research to “find your interest. What really gets you excited to go out there and do the work?” Dr. King explains how you should look for more laboratory experiences if you are interested in doing research. This includes thinking about courses that give you lab experience. “Think about your freshman lab experiences…The more laboratory experiences you can get through your classes, the more prepared you are to enter into a laboratory.”
For those interested in participating in research, Dr. King advises scholars to, “start the conversation early, go speak to the professor, go look on the websites and see what you are interested in, and be persistent. Your best information will come from the students already in the labs.” Being proactive when it comes to research and using the resources that are available to you will help any scholar pursue an opportunity, like research, that they want. There are opportunities in terms of financial assistance offered through the Mahurin Honors College for scholars wanting to pursue research. An outside resource that Dr. King mentioned was the Kentucky Academy of Science which allows scholars to apply for small grants for their research. There are so many opportunities within the Mahurin Honors College, WKU in general, as well as outside resources like the Kentucky Academy of Science. As MHC scholars, you have every opportunity to follow paths that can best help you in your Ascent Toward Excellence.
So now it's up to you. What are your interests? What do you wonder about? What questions do you want to answer? Who will you inspire through your academic pursuits?