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Undergraduate Researchers

Charles Mason

Charles Mason III, Graphic Design and Philosophy

“Lead by Example”

I will address the problems facing some city and county high school students in obtaining an education of value. Through the creation of six posters, I will try to express some of the challenges faced by youth as they pursue their education. These include, but are not limited to, stereotypical attitudes, peer pressure and lack of a support system. By speaking with teachers, students and administrators from several schools, I will investigate what conditions might encourage students to stay focused, to increase their productivity and to heighten their success rate in school. I will display the six posters in cinematic form, that is, as six individual frames in a strip of film. At the conclusion of this research, I will display the posters in some of the schools I approached. Students will then have a visual reference that will reflect the issues many of us have at one time encountered throughout our educational journeys. This research is important for its ability to reach across multiple ethnicities, because students of all races have experienced these forms of hindrance to gaining a quality education at one time or another.

When and how did you find out that you could do independent research or creative work as a UMBC undergraduate?

I first found out about doing independent research or a creative work through myumbc. I was honestly looking for ways to help pay for school and I happen to stumble along a grant where I could do research or creative work.

How did you find a mentor and decide on a project? How did you know this was the project you wanted to do?

I found a mentor through the help of Ms. Janet Mcglynn. She was able to point me in the direction of a few individuals and from there I was able to choose my mentor, Dr. Vin Grabill. I knew that I wanted to do this type of creative work because I could reach a variety of students and could relate with the issues they face being in high school.

How much time will you put into this research/creative work?

Throughout this year I plan on spending at least 20 hours a week on this work. This will include gathering data and coming up with preliminary designs for the final project.

What academic background did you have before you started on this research?

Before starting this research I received my associates degree from the Community College of Baltimore County in general studies. I then transferred to UMBC in effort to extend my knowledge and education in hopes of receiving my BA from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. 

How did you learn about applying for the Undergraduate Research Award? Was the application hard? Did your mentor help you?

I learned about applying for the URA from searching for scholarships. The application was not hard, but paying attention to detail was the key. My mentor assisted me as I filled out my application.  As I went through every step, he was there critiquing and brainstorming with me until I finalized the application.

What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?

My advice to other students who want to get involved with research is to dive right in. If there is something you feel like you can change, or you want to see change through independent research or creative work do it.  When we start to over think and wonder if we should or shouldn’t, we lose the drive to achieve. So research and have fun doing it.

What are your career goals?

My career goals include starting my own magazine or being a traveling artist who through my artwork can change the mindset of a city or nation.