University of South Carolina

Magellan Scholars get research experience

By Jeff Stensland,, 803-777-3686

Theatre major Kathryn Atkinson caught the research bug during her first year at USC. Encouraged by a professor, she worked with a local elementary school to test self-perceptions of student actors performing in a production of “Seussical.”

“I have taken so much away from the research experience because I was able to teach, direct, research and serve my community through doing what I love,” Atkinson said. Now in her third year at USC, Atkinson is one of 84 students recently named a Magellan Scholar for the spring 2013 semester. The Magellan program supports students interested in working directly with faculty mentors on a variety of research projects.

Atkinson, who now will research the Stella Adler approach to method acting, also serves as an ambassador for the Magellan Scholars program. She said undergraduate research has helped her become a more focused student. “Of course I never had to wear a lab coat, but I was still challenged to use my observations, notes, surveys and interviews,” she said.

Julie Morris, USC’s director of undergraduate research, said the Magellan program is ideal for inquisitive students who want to learn about research methods and boost their marketability after graduation. This spring’s group of scholars comes from seven USC campuses with a wide variety of majors, including theatre, business, music and religious studies.

“There is a perception that research is confined to a lab,” Morris said. “While the science and technology fields are a big part of the research at USC, we encourage students from all disciplines to ask questions beyond the classroom.”

The Magellan Scholars are named twice a year, in the spring semester and summer/fall semesters. Recipients can receive up to $3,000 to be used for materials and supplies, travel and/or salary. Since its inception in 2006, 841 undergraduates and more than 400 faculty members have participated in the program.

Students interested in applying for the program are required to attend a short informational workshop. Workshops for the summer/fall Magellan programs begin this month. Visit for more information. Click here to view a video about Atkinson’s research.

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Posted: 01/07/13 @ 9:15 AM | Updated: 01/07/13 @ 10:03 AM | Permalink