Annual Sigma Zeta Seminar Highlights Research
WILMORE, Ky. — Asbury University’s annual Sigma Zeta seminar, an educational event hosted by the University’s science and math honor society, wasn’t just an opportunity for students and staff to hear from a local researcher about her methods and results. It was also an indirect way to highlight research opportunities available to undergraduate students at Asbury.
The seminar featured Kristin Ashford, who presented on her research on the relationship between tobacco use in pregnant women and pre-term birth. Ashford, who holds doctoral and nursing degrees, teaches obstetric nursing and serves as a faculty mentor for undergraduate students in addition to her research for the University of Kentucky.
Senior Brittany U’Wren knew of Ashford’s research and qualifications first-hand after spending months collecting data with her and working together on a research project U’Wren presented at the National Council of Undergraduate Research (NCUR).
“I had a very educational experience working with her, from the data collection to compiling my paper, poster presentations and power-point presentations,” U’Wren said. “Besides research, Kristin is a great role model of what a Christian looks like in the science field. She helped me realize all the amazing avenues in nursing from research to teaching to surgeries, to opening your own practice as a Nurse Practitioner. In fact, I changed my career goals after graduation because of the experience. I am now going to bridge over to become a nurse practitioner.”
Though Sigma Zeta is composed almost entirely of math or science majors, a diversity of interests among the students enables them to cheer each other on in different sporting events, research topics and even extra-curricular volunteer activities such as a local refugee clinic that provides free healthcare.
“Asbury helped me meet so many fantastic people that share similar (and different) interests that I know more than I thought possible, thanks to them,” U’Wren said. “The reason I did emergency room volunteering at Saint Joseph Hospital was thanks to last year’s Sigma Zeta president telling me about it. The reason I found out about the refuge clinic, Surgery on Sundays, got my CNA license, and all these other experience opportunities was thanks to friends I met here at Asbury. I think the school was a perfect fit for me to find where I feel called. I am thankful at the opportunity of attending such a school.”