Missouri State University
Michael Davis

Michael Davis

Scholar 2 Scholar provides opportunities for undergraduate research

Michael Davis did not always have the confidence he now has in his research capabilities.

Over the course of his undergraduate career, Davis took multiple classes taught by Dr. Katherine Nordyke, director of the citizenship and service learning (CASL) office and Davis’ Scholar 2 Scholar faculty mentor. As a professor, Nordyke took a particular interest in Davis’ potential for success.

“I saw something in Michael that made me believe he was a student who — given the right opportunities — could excel in many areas,” said Nordyke. “I approached Michael and asked him if he would be interested in being a Scholar 2 Scholar research assistant.”

Established to provide collaborative research experiences through matching students with faculty mentors, Scholar 2 Scholar is a campus-wide research initiative that empowers students who are interested in working as research assistants with faculty from a variety of disciplines.

‘The opportunity of a lifetime’

When Nordyke began work on a new research project titled “Human Trafficking in Southwest Missouri and Springfield,” she immediately thought of Davis’ up-close and personal contact with human trafficking.

“I have been a Marine since December of 1973 and have traveled all over the world,” said Davis, a graduate student studying professional studies with an emphasis in homeland security. “For many years, I have seen the effect of human trafficking and drugs on people from around the world. After witnessing the effects firsthand, I couldn’t pass up the chance to get in there and do some extensive research.”

Scholar 2 Scholar encourages students, especially those from underrepresented and lower-income populations, to participate in research as early as possible in their academic careers.

“The program took me out of the academic environment and placed me in a real-world research environment,” said Davis. “As part of the program, I developed and wrote the institutional review board (IRB) application, researched, compiled and analyzed the data, and presented my findings at the faculty showcase in fall 2016.”

Davis, now a graduate student at Missouri State, says his experience with the Scholar 2 Scholar program was the opportunity of a lifetime.

“Scholar 2 Scholar gave me the confidence to believe that wherever I go and whatever I do, I have the ability to do it myself,” said Davis, who was one of the first two Scholar 2 Scholar recipients. “If the opportunity arises for a student to undertake a project like this, they should grab hold of it with both hands and never let go.”