Undergraduate Researcher Wins Chancellor's Award

Catherine Enders

For her contributions to CNS-UCSB, undergraduate researcher Catherine Enders has been awarded the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research. The winner of this prestigious award, open to students from every discipline on the UCSB campus, is chosen by the Academic Senate. A psychology major, Enders will be presented with her award during the Sciences Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 11.

Enders joined CNS-UCSB in Fall 2014 to aid in the analysis of comparative US and UK deliberations on the the oil and gas extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." Public deliberations – more commonly referred to as focus groups – conducted by CNS-UCSB help researchers understand  public values, fears, hopes, and concerns that can guide both policymakers and innovators in shaping technological development.

In her researcher position, Enders worked directly under CNS-UCSB postdoc Tristan Partridge and with an interdisciplinary team of social, behavioral, and environmental scientists in the US, Canada, and UK. Enders's primary assignments have been to help with mixed methods data analysis and bibliographic research. Data analysis tasks on which she has worked have included managing the group's Endnote library and tracking down all needed reference materials, training in demanding NVivo qualitative data analysis software and subsequently using that skill to develop and implement a coding scheme for the narrative data from day-long deliberative workshops conducted in 2014 in the US and UK. She also conducted exploratory data analysis in SPSS and Excel on the pre-/post-workshop survey data.

Enders has presented her research and contributed to a commissioned report to a multinational European team working on Shale Gas Development (M4Shale project). She will be co-author on an article about perceptions of health risk associated with fracking to be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Her CNS-UCSB research also led to a prestigious national science policy scholar award that took her to Washington DC for a week-long training in June 2015 and will take her back in June 2016 for two additional weeks of training.

In her letter of recommendation for Enders, CNS Director Barbara Herr Harthorn wrote, "Throughout our work together, my entire team has found Ms. Enders able and willing to contribute as a full participant, performing at the level of the highly capable graduate student she is soon to become."

In the Fall, Enders will begin the Master of Public Health Program in Epidemiology/Biostatistics at the University of California, Berkeley.