HSS Summer Research Scholars

HSS Summer Research Scholars

HSS English majors, Caleb Warner and Ryan Wyson each received The IU East 2015 Summer Research scholarships. A total of six $2000 scholarships were given to undergraduate students to conduct research under supervision of a faculty member. Funding for the competitive program is provided by the Indiana University Office of the Vice Provost for Research and is matched by funds from IU East. All recipients will present their research findings during the eighth annual Student Research Day in spring 2016.

Caleb Warner, Centerville, Ind. “Thoreau’s Individualism: Looking for the American Relevance of Walden Throughout the Centuries.” English major working with Steven Petersheim, assistant professor of English.

Warner said his research project is to discern the prevalence of Henry David Thoreau’s work, Walden in American Culture, and how this piece is used in today’s high school classrooms and college curricula.

“What interested me about this project was the dualism between the piece’s prevalence and the ideas in it that seemingly goes against the core beliefs of the ‘American’ identity as it stands today. I find this contrast interesting because the work is still taught as a way of forming an American identity of literature,” Warner said.

As part of his project, Warner will travel to Concord, Mass., and Walden Pond to conduct research. He will review Thoreau’s papers and talk with locals and tourists about Thoreau and his work in the Concord area.

“The biggest thing I want to get out of this summer project is some more hands on experience with research itself. Whatever conclusions I reach through the research are secondary, though still important, to learning how to properly research, absorb all the information, process it, and respond to it, sending it out into the world to help inform others,” Warner said.

Ryan Wysong, Williamsburg, Ind. “Rebuilding What I Destroyed: A Personal Look at The Warrior Culture and The PTSD Epidemic.” English major working with Jean Harper, associate professor of English.

Wysong said the goal of his research project is to find out what the mental health care process is for returning soldiers, in relation to evaluation for symptoms of PTSD. An Army veteran, Wysong said he returned home from Iraq in 2005 and found the evaluation of returning soldiers needing more, including following up months after and a need for more open discussion on the issue from supervisors and fellow soldiers. He said he began showing symptoms of PTSD two months after he returned and feels that the suicide rate could improve with enhanced evaluations.

“Right now the statistic is 22 veterans a day are committing suicide. I think this is directly related to how the Army treats soldiers who have PTSD,” Wysong said. “The overall goal of my project is to discover the actual process the Army is using today in order to allow those in the civilian world that are treating veterans with some insight, and hopefully assist them in the planning of care for veterans. I think knowing the process, which is shrouded from the public eye, would assist in continuity of care, and also would help counselors understand where these veterans are coming from.”

Wysong said he is using a journalistic approach to his research project. Wysong was stationed at Fort Stewart Georgia and deployed to Iraq from there.

After completing his research, Wysong would like to share the data and information with various national and community organizations that assist veterans in the hope that his work will assist with the treatment of those returning with PTSD, Wysong said.

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