Integrating Research and Service To Shape a Better World
Rooted in its mission and enabled by an array of research opportunities for undergraduates through doctoral students, Mercer University is integrating research and service to shape a better world.
Mercer students and faculty are taking what they learn and discover in their classrooms and laboratories and applying them to real-world problems, at home and around the globe. Here are just a few examples:
- Undergraduate students, led by faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, from their research on human trafficking created educational programs, hosted a national conference, trained law enforcement, and lobbied for changes in local ordinances and state laws that led to a dramatic reduction in trafficking in Central Georgia.
- Biomedical engineering students and their professor, Dr. Ha Van Vo, invented a low-cost prosthetic leg that has been patented and deployed in Vietnam and Haiti. More than 4,000 amputees have been fitted and are now walking. Now endorsed by the government of Vietnam, the Mercer program is being expanded throughout the country, where thousands still lose limbs to leftover land mines from the Vietnam War.
- Goldwater Scholar and chemistry major Kaydren Orcutt, working with her faculty mentor Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, is utilizing analytical chemistry to investigate better ways to clean up oil spills. Specifically, her research pertains to biosurfactants, which are naturally produced, soap-like molecules that enable water and oils to mix.
- Environmental engineering students of Dr. Laura Lackey performed research that led to systems that improve drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa. Making multiple trips to Kenya, Dr. Lackey and her students brought water closer to villages using local resources to build and install point-of-use biosand filters (BSFs) in the homes in the communities the project serves.
- Undergraduate biology and chemistry students, working with Dr. Kevin Drace and Dr. Adam Kiefer, have designed a retort to reduce mercury poisoning in artisanal gold miners in Mozambique and Ecuador. Their research resulted in two peer-reviewed publications, numerous student poster presentations, and lectures at local, national and international meetings.