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Dr. Bethany Hansen named Broyles Inaugural Year Research Chair at Centenary

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Bethany Hansen, assistant professor of biology, has been named the 2020-2021 Mattie Allen Broyles Inaugural Year Research Chair at Centenary. The Broyles Research Chair is a competitive research award open to new tenure-track faculty members and is designed to support original scholarly research or creative production during the faculty member’s first year at the College.

Hansen’s proposed research project will work to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites in fecal samples collected from dogs at Shreveport’s public Dog Park near the Stoner Boat Launch Facility on the Red River. Assisted by two Centenary undergraduate students, she will visit the Shreveport Dog Park and collect observational data to determine the number of dogs who visit within a certain time period. Hansen and the students will also approach individual dog owners to gain permission to take two additional forms of data: fecal samples if/when a dog defecates at the park, and an owner survey that asks questions about the dog’s health and lifestyle.

After the samples have been collected, Hansen’s research team will conduct three diagnostic tests to determine the presence of intestinal parasites in the fecal samples. Many parasites that affect domestic dogs can be transferred to humans, so this project has the potential to provide valuable public health insights for the Shreveport-Bossier City community. The Broyles Research Chair award will provide funds to cover personal protective equipment, lab testing equipment, and other supplies needed to collect and test the dog park samples.

Hansen was motivated to apply for the Broyles Chair by her interest in applied research along with a desire to build collaborative partnerships in the community and mentor undergraduate students in a meaningful and holistic way. The Shreveport Dog Park project provides an immediate opportunity for students to participate in a research project with potential benefits to the larger community. Hansen also plans to continue to cultivate her existing professional relationships with organizations such as Chimp Haven and the Desoto Parish Animal Services Shelter to lay the groundwork for more complicated collaborative research projects in the future.

“I will strive to provide undergraduates with a holistic experience conducting research,” wrote Hansen in her application for the Broyles Chair. “With my focus on applied research I will ensure that students understand the challenge that is being addressed. I will emphasize communication and teamwork in my mentoring relationships and ask mentees for input during the research process. Lastly, I will create opportunities for students to participate not only in data collection, but also data analysis and dissemination of results."

 

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