Doctoral student K. James Soda recently received funding to work as a Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) with the undergraduate students in Dennis Slice’s shape analysis class (morphometrics) this spring. The course provides an overview of the theory and practice of shape analysis (skulls, fish, cars, insects, faces, etc.). Soda was selected as one of the first GRCs at FSU. “This is a great opportunity to bring together a very knowledgeable student researcher with enthusiastic undergraduates eager to get involved in research,” Slice said.

With undergrad and graduate degrees in quantitative evolutionary biology, Soda has been a tutor, and has an extensive statistical background. “He has shown himself to be an exceptional teacher of statistics and morphometric methodology – it really is one of his many strong talents. I would expect James to utilize this knowledge and ability to work directly with undergraduate students in all areas of project development, data acquisition, post-processing, and analysis.”

The students Soda will assist are a very diverse group, as the course is open to many disciplines, and students from scientific computing, biology, anthropology, and for the first time this year, psychology, are enrolled.

Soda was one of the university’s first Graduate Research Consultant program recipients. The program is designed to bolster research opportunities for undergraduate students as part of their coursework, and supports faculty who wish to integrate a research project or assignment into an existing course. A $750 stipend funds an advanced graduate student who works with the students 30 hours throughout the course to help them design, implement, and share research projects. GRCs have extensive knowledge in research methodology and their role is to help facilitate the research process and to coach students/groups during individual or group consultations.