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University Libraries Presents Graduate Research Series Fall 2022

Mimi Calhoun
November 3, 2022

Ohio University Libraries is presenting its annual Graduate Research Series (GRS) on Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. and Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. The events will take place in the Friends of the Libraries room on the third floor of Alden Library in room 319. An online option on Microsoft Teams is available as well.

Each semester, graduate students from Ohio University are selected to speak about their research process and experience. Oumarou Abdoulaye Balarabe, a doctoral candidate of counseling and higher education, and Faustina Mensah, a master’s and doctoral candidate of counseling and higher education, are presenting for the fall semester’s GRS.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Abdoulaye Balarabe is presenting his work titled, “By the Numbers and from Their Own Voices: Identifying and Understanding Pathways to Students Thriving at a Public University in Benin.” His research focuses on the practices and experiences that contribute to students’ academic, social, and psychological engagement and well-being at a public university in Benin, a country in West Africa.

Abdoulaye Balarabe explained that his research experience has been an important, fulfilling and rewarding part of his time in graduate school. The encouragement and support from people and facilities at OHIO has also contributed to his success as a student.

“My research has allowed me to strengthen my conceptual [understanding] and [the] practical understanding and application of the materials taught in the various graduate research courses I have taken,” Abdoulaye Balarabe said. “Also, being able to have the support I need from my faculty advisor and access to critical research materials through the Libraries made this experience even more valuable.”

He also mentioned how University Libraries has had a large impact on his studies from using critical resource services to taking advantage of study rooms and spaces for work.

“[Borrowing material from] Interlibrary Loan allowed me to access a book chapter on cross-cultural and language-data collection and analysis that I needed for my research,” Abdoulaye Balarabe said. “Also, I used the Libraries’ short ‘how to’ videos, which helped me learn how to use Zotero, and this has been very helpful in organizing my references for my research project … Overall, the Libraries’ resources has supported my research and academic growth as a student and emerging researcher.”

Faustina Mensah’s GRS presentation entitled, “An Appreciative Inquiry of Campus-Based Support Programs for Former Foster Youth Pursuing Post-secondary Education in Ohio,” will take place on Friday, Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. Her research focus has been on the support systems available for students who have spent much of their childhood in a foster care system.

Mensah became interested in working on the topic after reading an article in the spring of 2019 about foster alums which left her interested in learning more about the high-risk population.  Although it was challenging to grasp everything surrounding the subject at the beginning, she used her passion for the topic as motivation to continue pushing forward.

“The initial stages were difficult because I lacked a cultural understanding of the foster care system,” Mensah said. “However, I realized that my passion and commitment to our foster alumni fueled my tenacity.”

Through her research process, Mensah described the importance and impact that the Libraries had on her studies. Specifically, she mentioned how with the help of Dr. Chris Guder, subject librarian for education, the process was able to become easier.

“The Libraries were my first point of call anytime I felt stuck in the research process,” Mensah said. “I always came out of a consultation session with something substantive that helped my progress. Most critically, my subject librarian played a significant role in my ability to process my research focus for my dissertation and identify the articles needed to get me started.”

Even though research can be a long and sometimes hectic process, Mensah mentioned that her advice for fellow researchers and graduate students would be to push through roadblocks and use the resources around you. 

“This process is daunting so remind yourself that you are doing great, and sometimes, running into roadblocks might create that epiphany you need to push you through,” Mensah said. “If you are a Bobcat pursuing graduate studies critically, [and for] my international peers, please note that we have so much value in our Libraries’ services, make the most of this learning opportunity, and engage with our librarians.”

Both presentations are held inside Alden Library room 319, or watch Oumarou Abdoulaye Balarabe’s presentation on Teams Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 10 a.m. and watch Faustina Mensah’s presentation on Teams Friday, Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. 

For more information about the Graduate Research Series, contact Library Events Coordinator Jen Harvey