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Creative Inquiry at GTC

You have decided to undertake a special project next semester. Now you have to determine with whom you want to work and see if they are willing to take on a student to supervise. You see instructors around campus and have had classes with some of them, but approaching a faculty member about helping with their research or proposing your own project can seem intimidating. Do you email them? Make an appointment to meet with them face to face? The guidelines below will help you make contact with your future research advisor.


1.     Review the faculty research list in the table at the bottom of this page. 

Find the faculty member with research interests that most closely align with your interests. You may have a faculty member in mind who is not on the list at the bottom of this page. You will want to ask if the faculty member you have in mind is willing to take you on as a research student.


2.     Do your homework. 

Search the web for information pertaining to your potential mentor’s research interests. You need to be able to have an informed conversation when meeting with your potential mentor to show them you are serious and it will be worth their time to take you on as a student.


3.     Email the faculty member.

In your email, you want to present yourself as conscientious, hard working, and professional. Remember, instructors teach many students each semester and have responsibilities to the college outside of the classroom. You want to show them that you are willing to work hard to attain your goal. When writing the email, you need to address them as Dr., Ms., or Mr., whichever is appropriate as is indicated on the faculty research listing. The initial email should address your reasons for interest in their research area or a specific project, your skills or qualifications, your willingness to learn, and your knowledge of the subject area. Request a meeting with the faculty mentor at their convenience to discuss potential opportunities. Be sure to keep your initial correspondence concise.


4.     Meet with the faculty member.

If the faculty member agrees to meet with you, be sure to pick a time when you have no other commitments. You want to have enough time for a productive conversation with your potential mentor. Be inquisitive and be prepared to answer questions about why you want to do undergraduate research, what your academic and career goals are, what classes you have taken so far, and your GPA. Once the faculty member has agreed to work with you, you will submit your research proposal to them.


5.     Submit a Student Research Agreement.

You will then work with your faculty member to complete a Student Research Agreement. The Agreement outlines the topic of the project, expectations for completion of the research methods course, and a communication plan between you and the faculty member. The completed form is submitted to



Still need help finding a mentor?

Are you interested in working on a research project, either as a research assistant or on your own project, but not sure who to approach? If so, send a brief description of what areas interest you, your major, GTC courses you have taken, and your GPA. We will then help you find the faculty member that would pair best with your interests. Send the above information to:


Name  Department Areas of Interest
April Dove Sociology Collective behavior and social movements, political protest and mobilization, immigration and border issues, collective memory, middle east studies, comparative and historical sociology, sociological theory.
Matthew Cazessus Sociology Urban and community sociology, focusing on inequalities in housing and resources by race and ethnicity. How cities are shaped by socio-spatial features including urban sprawl, suburbanization, and transportation.
Dr. Lee Edwards Biological Sciences Biological and chemical evaluation of freshwater systems including algal identification, aquatic insect identification, and water chemistry, root zone interactions of angiosperms (e.g. mycorrhizal relationships, beneficial bacteria), invasive plant identification and control, and plant nutrition.
Kathy Ferrell Biological Sciences

River water quality (Adopt-a-Stream biological and chemical monitoring), recycling, environmental education, solar energy in SC/US (investigating cars, home heating, etc.), assessing the impacts of urban sprawl on Greenville’s landscapes and watersheds.

Dr. Sriyani Rajapakse Biotechnology/
Biological Sciences
Genetic and genomic analysis of organisms; analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA in humans, DNA barcoding, identification of genetically modified (GMO) food through PCR, RNAi-based gene silencing in nematodes, and bioinformatics.
Dr. Jinhua Li Biotechnology/
Biological Sciences
Gene cloning, gene expressionism, gene therapy, and cancer immunotherapy.
Kathy Maples Biological Sciences

Freshwater and anadromous fish, marine invertebrates, wetlands and estuaries, large lakes and rivers, population and community ecology, trophic interactions and bioenergetics, fish & habitat interactions, and development of new management tools.

Dr. David Burke Speech Communication Dramatic structure, the playwright’s craft in constructing an original script and staging experimental theatre
Dr. Kathryn Hix English 20th Century American literature, Southern literature, business writing and professional communications, short fiction, creative nonfiction, feminism, adult learning and development, qualitative research, interdisciplinarity.
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