Fondren Fellows

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The Fondren Fellows program funds Rice undergraduate or graduate students to conduct research projects sponsored by Fondren Library that will benefit the library and the scholarly community. See for more information.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 14 of 14
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    Student-taught Python Workshop Materials
    (Rice University, 2024) Li, Tina; Barber, Catherine
    Student-taught Python workshops introduce learners to the basics of Python programming, as taught by a near-peer instructor. The materials in this repository include workshop slides, student instructor notes, sample code, and quiz questions and solutions.
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    An Analysis of the Evolution of White House Bioscience and Health Policy Through PCAST Reports
    (Rice University, 2023) Somani, Soumya
    The researcher aimed to determine the role of independent scientific advisors in informing federal policy related to health and biosciences across presidential administrations from 1992-2020. Each president appoints a group of preeminent scientists, engineers, and industry leaders to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), a science advisory committee created in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. PCAST advises the president on federal policy related to science and technology through public reports and committee meetings. This study presents a thematic analysis of 15 PCAST reports centered on bioscience or health policy to understand how White House policy on a range of biomedical research areas changed with time. Specific themes identified in each report included the types of research emphasized (basic, applied/translational, and/or direct clinical care); the audiences engaged in policy recommendations (academia, industry, and/or government); the structure and rhetoric employed; language addressing political goals and existing policies and laws; prioritization of public health; and types of action items proposed by PCAST. This analysis revealed a shift over the past thirty years from a predominant focus on basic research to an emphasis on accelerated, translational research. The intended audience also gradually expanded from the government to include stakeholders in industry and academia. Even within governmental audiences, the range of agencies and departments engaged in the reports progressively widened. The increasing prioritization of public health topics and references to politics or law—particularly ethics, privacy, and regulation—was also observed. Policy action items were similar across reports, often referencing public-private investment, curricular reform, and the establishment of new committees. Report structure varied with each PCAST, but the justification for policy recommendations consistently relied on ideas of economic security and growth. The increasing diversity of audiences and research and development (R&D) priorities along with the intertwining of public health and politics indicate that federal bioscience policy has become more complex over time, but the rhetoric surrounding policy recommendations remained relatively constant. A growing overreliance on technological policy solutions and a notable dearth of focus on health disparities/equity and civic engagement across the rep orts indicate that PCAST could potentially broaden its approach to health and bioscience policy to address emerging concerns.
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    Fondren Library Data Repository for Data Science Education and Experiential Learning
    (Rice University, 2023-06-15) Xiong, Anna; Chen, Su; Barber, Catherine R.; Sun, Nik; Qiu, Alison; Li, Tina
    This project piloted a process for creating a repository of interesting, real-world government datasets that are easy to access, beginner-friendly, and suitable for educational use, particularly in data science. The project resulted in three sub-projects, each of which uses one or more open government datasets to demonstrate the data science pipeline. The first sub-project (1_mental_health_project) used the U.S. Census Bureau's Household Pulse survey to explore correlates of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The second sub-project (2_education_demographics_project) used the National Center for Education Statistics' National Household Education Survey and Common Core of Data along with the Texas Education Agency's graduation data to explore relationships among educational outcomes, student and family demographic variables, and county demographic diversity within the 12th grader population. The third sub-project (3_economics_employment_project) used the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and a wide range of financial data (COVID-related spending, Medicaid spending, GDP, and minimum wage) to explore the relationship beteen government fiscal relief measures and employment during recessions. The three sub-project folders include clean datasets, code for cleaning and analyzing the data, and interpretation of the results. These materials are suitable for a range of learners within data science, including both novices and those with advanced statistical skills.
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    Data Analytics Approach to Addressing Children's Mental Health in the Pandemic Era
    (Rice University, 2023) Qiu, Alison
    This is a presentation of the project "Data Analytics Approach to Addressing Children's Mental Health in the Pandemic Era" which was presented by its author at the 2023 Shapiro Showcase event at Rice University. The project employed a code-based "data pipeline" to process bulk healthcare data and to yield usable statistical results. In this case, the dataset is a collection of medical wellbeing surveys taken during the COVID 19 pandemic, with the goal of extracting statistically relevant predictors for adult and child mental health scores.
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    Promoting Academic Success: The Influence of Demographics, Family, and County Diversity on Educational Outcomes in 12th Graders
    (Rice University, 2023) Li, Tina; Barber, Catherine
    This study tracks the impact of key environmental and demographic circumstances on student performance and educational outcomes in order to identify and weigh their relative influence. 
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    How Government Fiscal Relief Affects Employment During 2020 Recession - Case Study of United States
    (Rice University, 2023) Sun, Nik; Xiong, Anna
    The objective of this research is to investigate the impact of government fiscal relief measures on employment during 2020 economic downturns in the United States. Utilizing a panel dataset comprising 50 states and the District of Columbia from 2020 to 2021, the study employs a 2-stage least squares regression model to estimate the influence of government fiscal relief policies on employment levels. The findings reveal no statistically significant relationships between government fiscal relief measures and employment during recessions in the United States.
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    Topic database creation over the Rice Thresher
    (Rice University, 2023) Katz, Zoe; Avalos-Gauna, Edgar; Motteler, Sarah
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    Rice University: Fondren Library Sustainability Plan
    (Rice University, 2019) Fitzpatrick, Ashley; Borodina, Svetlana; Spiro, Lisa; Fondren Library
    As awareness of climate change and other environmental and social problems grow, many libraries and librarians are dedicating themselves to sustainability, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”3 We call upon Fondren Library to practice and promote sustainability through its wise building practices, reductions in resource consumption, support for research and teaching, targeted collection development, and outreach activities. These recommendations were formulated in support of the global community’s response to climate change, the American Library Association’s embrace of sustainability as a core value of librarianship, and Rice University’s pledge to reduce its carbon footprint through the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. By implementing sustainability strategies and collaborating with other on-campus sustainability initiatives, Fondren Library can reduce environmental pollution and contribute to learning and knowledge on Rice University’s campus and beyond. To implement the proposed changes, we recommend developing an action plan, creating a library-based group focused on sustainability, appointing a sustainability liaison, and hiring a student “eco-rep” for Fondren.
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    Fondren Fellow final report: The usage of Fondren Library in an age of research-oriented college education
    (Rice University, 2019) Kanemitsu, Jade; Wang, Yifan
    What is Fondren Library’s role in Rice University’s undergraduate teaching practices? And more broadly, how is Fondren, as a research university library, understood in today’s pedagogical environment? This research seeks to look at Fondren Library’s current practices and their effects and to understand how the library services address key issues—or not—in the research processes and what could be improved to better adjust to today’s research practices. More broadly, our research seeks to shed light on what kind of roles that research university libraries can play in today’s higher education. In conjunction with the implementation of the Inquiry-based Learning (IBL) initiative at Rice, especially considering that the initiative has now become a significant influence in how undergraduate classes are instructed and restructured at Rice, the researchers work with participating instructors to study how research skills are currently cultivated through coursework. Specifically, the researchers seek to understand how Fondren’s resources—not so much book collections as research supports of all kinds—are utilized by instructors and students as they gain expertise in inquiry-based learning. The results of the research are intended to provide insights into how Fondren, as a research library, could advance its services to better meet the needs arising from today’s research-oriented university education goals. To gain firsthand knowledge about how Fondren’s services and resources are utilized in the curricula and practiced by students, during the spring semester of 2019, the researchers deployed a series of research methods, from text analysis to interviews and surveys. Through the process, the researchers familiarized themselves with the IBL-implemented classes, charted the discrepancies between the expectations set in teaching goals and the actual learning practices, and piloted a survey that begins to address such discrepancies. By the end of the study, the researchers offered some suggestions and directions that Fondren could take initiatives towards.
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    Marketing Fondren Library Publishing Services
    (Rice University, 2018) Lee, Jennifer
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    Motion Tracking Small Organisms
    (Rice University, 2018) Liu, Mengjia
    Presented at the 2018 Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium, this poster shares the results of a Fondren Fellows project designed to develop a methodology to collect footage and perform 2D motion tracking of small organisms using user-friendly software and equipment.
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    Rescoping research through student-librarian collaboration: Lessons from the Fondren Fellows program
    (2018) LaFlamme, Marcel; Kipphut-Smith, Shannon; Association of College and Research Libraries
    Academic library professionals increasingly see student workers as full coparticipants in the design and delivery of library resources and services. For some librarians, this perspective grows out of a commitment to critical and feminist pedagogy,1 while for others, greater reliance on student workers in the face of flat or contracting budgets has led to the pragmatic realization that the “skills of student workers could be leveraged to advance the library in unexpected and invaluable ways.”2 This article examines how collaboration with students can take librarian-initiated research in new directions, drawing on the experiences of the coauthors (a library staff member and a graduate student) as part of the Fondren Fellows program at Rice University’s Fondren Library.
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    Exploring the Possibility of Alternative Desks in Fondren Study Spaces
    (Rice University, 2017) Potlapalli, Neha R.
    As new research shows that traditional desks may do more harm than good to students, alternative solutions to the typical table and chair have entered many university libraries. Fondren Library is interested in discovering if substitute options—such as bike desks, standing desk, or under desk elliptical stations—will be useful options at Rice University. This study contains a literature review analyzing the three options, interviews with leading experts in the field of alternative desks, and a survey of all undergraduate students. Finally, a cost-benefit analysis was used to find that Fondren Library should implement both under desk elliptical stations and standing desks to improve student well-being and academic success.
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    After the Addendum: Author Rights Management and/as Library Service
    (Rice University, 2017-02) LaFlamme, Marcel; Fondren Library
    This report presents the findings from a qualitative study of Rice University faculty attitudes and practices around author rights conducted by Marcel LaFlamme, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, during his tenure as a Fondren Fellow. This project was supervised by Shannon Kipphut-Smith, Fondren Library’s scholarly communications liaison.