This project is funded from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program in the SBE Directorate. It has both scientific and societal benefits, and integrates research and education. This REU site trains students in hands-on skills in research methods and informal science learning. Students will work on language science research projects investigating how language is used in a social context, how children learn to use language in context, and how language understanding is integrated with other aspects of cognition, such as attention and memory. They will also learn how to explain complex scientific concepts to the general public in an engaging and accessible way. Training future researchers to communicate effectively is a critical need for maintaining a healthy long-term societal commitment to good science.
The Language Sciences Research Lab is a glass-enclosed space within a premier science museum, in which Ohio State faculty and students conduct cutting-edge work at the intersection of rigorous linguistic analysis, social interaction, and cognitive processing. Museum visitors are able to witness and learn about the studies in progress and are invited to join in the process as research participants. The REU site provides students with an integrated experience that trains students in both missions of the lab: how to conduct language science research and how to communicate with the public about science. Students experience classroom training in linguistics and psychology and in informal science education, research activities, and hand-on work on the museum floor engaging the public using interactive demonstrations of key language science concepts. The REU site expands the lab's undergraduate engagement from the Ohio State Columbus campus students to students from regional campus and community colleges who might not otherwise be able to be involved. At the end of the program, each student prepares and presents a research poster and a novel interactive demo.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.