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UC Students Tackle Real-World Problems Through Research Projects
By Kera Mashek
April 9, 2014


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) College students are the business and community leaders of tomorrow. Right now,, dozens of students at the Univeristy of Charleston are tackling some of the real-world problems they see.

Every year, students at the University of Charleston participate in an academic showcase, presenting their work to their peers and instructors. Some of those students are taking aim at pretty big issues and how to fix them: from helping students succeed in school to solving the state's drug epidemic.

It's rare when a week goes by without a reported meth bust, and you've probably heard west virginia leads the nation for the highest rate of drug overdose deaths. Students at the University of Charleston have seen proof of that first-hand.

"A couple years ago down the street from me, someone got busted, and I live in what you would call a safe neighborhood. So it can happen anywhere and anyone can do it," said Jordan Wittekind, UC student.

Seeing the epidemic up close is why Wittekind and fellow UC students Allison Brogan and Madison Gray decided to take an assigned project in leadership studies on what they see as the solution to the meth problem. Their idea is one one state lawmakers have talked about: regulating cold medicines.

"We definitely focused more on the prescription-only aspect of these drugs because we feel like although it may be inconvenient for those who don't abuse the drug, it's the best option to make sure this drug isn't being abused in a way that could cause even more damage for those of us who aren't using it," said Brogan.

The key here, students making presentations all believe they can be part of the solution. Some of them may offer up their research projects to lawmakers, city leaders or businesses to take action on making real changes. They know weeding out meth, or solving any of the other problems students resarched, won't be easy, but by working togethe, their goals are attainable.

"If we can just do it as freshman, think about if everybody got together and did it and how much the world would change, or the US would change, or even just West Virginia. I mena, if we could just make even a little bit of a change, it would make a difference," Brogan said.

In fact, a lot of the students will continue developing their ideas, as part of a leadership program. When they're seniors at UC, they take on a "change project," making strides to raise awareness or even help solve some of the problems they've researched.

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