Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Grad student earns Provost Research Award
Graduate student Angela Kayi, CAS ’00, earned a Provost’s Graduate Student Research Award this past year for her master’s thesis project, “Creativity, Appearance and Sites of Authority.” This is the first time a student in the master of arts in Liberal Studies program had won this academic honor. The program began in fall 2003.
“Research experience in the areas of the arts and humanities is extremely important,” said Tamara Machmut-Jhashi, assistant provost and associate professor, Kayi’s mentor and faculty sponsor. “Angela's work fits in exactly with the goals of supporting research that leads to academic discovery.”
Kayi’s thesis offers an evaluation of artwork as text, exploring analytical theories relating to physical appearance and gender norms. Kayi, who also holds a bachelor’s degree in art and art history from OU, said the subject appealed to her because “there’s been a lot of writing in sociology and contemporary women’s studies (on these types of issues), but it always seems to focus on literature. Plenty of visual artists are working on these issues, too.”
For Kayi, her research experience was enhanced by the opportunity to work with former professors such as Machmut-Jhashi, who helped persuade Kayi to pursue her master’s degree. “The whole idea of coming back here and working with these people was very appealing,” Kayi says. “It’s a great opportunity to study with people who love what they’re teaching.”
Machmut-Jhashi agrees that the relationships between faculty and student researchers are vital. “One area of distinction at OU is the support of faculty-sponsored student research,” she said. “It is truly one of the best aspects of an OU education. To encourage interaction between student researcher and faculty member is to support the heart and soul of academic life.”