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Research on the River

Get Ready for Research on the River 2018!

Save the Date:  Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Register Now!

ROR half page flyer

You'll need to bring sunscreen, a swimsuit and your thinking caps! We are currently planning the 2018 activities. This year, we will have breakout sessions to make sure the event is helpful for everyone whether you do research or scholarly creative projects.


What is Research on the River?

At C3, we believe the best research comes from interdisciplinary collaboration. When the principles of science combine with the power of the arts, an extraordinary magic happens. Research on the River appeals to both left-brained and right-brained researchers, and invites each participant to step out of their comfort zone to push the boundaries of their research and further develop their ideas with a unique curriculum focused on team work, creativity, and best practices in research development. Research on the River is a fun, interactive “playshop” that helps faculty from any college develop ideas for their research or scholarly creative activities by:

  • understanding how to successfully structure a concept paper, 
  • answering the 7 questions of highly effective researchers, and
  • arming faculty with tools & templates to fully develop ideas and successfully apply for funding.


Big Bacon Trophy of Research Prosperity

Morning Session - Welcome

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  • Participants take a personality quiz that playfully identifies their “research spirit animal.” This ice breaker helps separate participants into groups for the morning session.

  • Bodystorming is used to get participants moving and working together in teams, each uses movements that reflect his or her earlier identified “research spirit animal” coupled with a physical brainstorming technique known as “bodystorming” to introduce their research idea in small groups through movement.

  • Participants are introduced to the idea of how to organize a concept paper as a method for introducing their research idea to potential collaborators or sponsors. Using an example concept paper written on giant puzzle pieces placed sporadically on a sticky facilitation wall, participants work as a group to put Dr. Jackman’s “Beanstalks for Prosperity” concept paper in the correct order and earn piggy bucks for correct answers. Then participants break out into pairs and are given envelopes with smaller puzzle pieces. Each couple selects only one idea as their focus. Then they both are challenged to imagine the opposite problem of what their project addresses, and write a condensed concept paper by putting each section on one of the puzzle pieces. Once all teams are finished, teams close their eyes, toss their colored envelope into the center of the room and must race to find an envelope of a different color and put the concept paper in the correct order. Teams that correctly put the pieces in order, as well as teams who wrote the concept paper that is put in order correctly, both are awarded piggy bucks.

bodystorming exercise in a group
Mirroring Exercise
bodystorming exercise in a group
3D Mirroring Exercise
bodystorming exercise in a group
Mirroring Finale
Concept Paper Puzzle
Michael Maresca, Rebecca Farinas
Concept Paper Introduction & Giant Puzzle Activity
Jian Shen, Cynthia Gonzales, Timothy Loftus

Float the San Marcos River & Lunch on the River

San Marcos River
San Marcos River
Picnic Lunch
Picnic Lunch catered by Nostimo Mediterranean Cafe

Afternoon Session

  • Often people can talk about their research easier than writing it down. Researchers each find a partner and have 15 minutes to interview each other and answer the “7 Questions of Highly Effective Researchers.” Answering these questions is essential to fully developing a successful project. Participants are encouraged to record their conversations on their phones which make writing down their answers easier during the next activity. Once groups finish their “chit-chat” session, the team races to touch the “pig of research despair.” Teams that reach the pig first are awarded piggy bucks.

     7 Questions of Highly Effective Researchers

    1) What problem or opportunities are you trying to address?

    2) How will your project address this issue or opportunity?

    3) Who is the target population?

    4) What potential impact can your project have (long and short term)?

    5) How will you measure the project’s success?

    6) What makes this different/better/more innovative than previous research/creative efforts?

    7) Who do you need to work with to accomplish your goal?

  • Every research project has a story to tell. Researchers must think about how their research story will play out, and then create a storyboard to present to the group. This helps researchers understand the timeline and steps they will need to take to turn their research project into reality. This helps them leave the camp with an action plan of how they will accomplish their goals. Researchers are also invited to create a small item that embodies their research idea to be presented with the storyboard. This item is meant to be kept in a place they will see it daily, such as on their desk or their bedside table. This “artifact” helps researchers remember their experience at the camp and keeps their project at the forefront of their thoughts, so they are likely to achieve their goal. After each participant presents, certificates of achievement are given to exceptional participants and their projects and Piggy Bucks are awarded.

Jian Shen's storyboard project
Jian Shen, Mathematics
Michael Maresca's storyboard photo
Michael Maresca, Theatre
Lori Assaf's storyboard photo
Stefanie Ramirez, Fashion Merchandising
Nicole Wesley's storyboard photo
Nicole Wesley, Dance
Cynthia Gonzales' storyboard presentation
Cynthia Gonzales, Music
Ann McMeeking's storyboard presentation
Ann McMeeking, Theatre
Kaysie Brown's storyboard presentation
Kaysie Brown, Dance
Caleb Brown's storyboard presentation
Caleb Brown, Communication Design
Grayson Lawrence's storyboard presentation
Grayson Lawrence, Communication Design
Rebecca Farinas' storyboard presentation
Rebecca Farinas, Philosophy
Ana Baer's storyboard presentation
Ana Baer, Dance
Timothy Loftus' storyboard presentation
Timothy Loftus, Geography
Ricky Hall's storyboard presentation
Ricky Hall, Music

Unfortunately, we did not capture photos of the following participants:

Rebecca Deason, Psychology

Lori Assaf, Curriculum & Instruction

Final Pig Shooting Contest

Researchers are invited to bring their piggy bucks for a shot at the Pig of Research Despair.  The Research who shoots the pig's bulls-eye the most times is awarded the "Big Bacon Trophy of Research Prosperity".

Pig of Research Despair target   Ruthi announcing the winner   Grayson shooting the pig of research despair   Grayson Lawrence winning the big bacon trophy

Grayson Lawrence (Communication Design) is the winner of the Big Bacon Trophy of Research Prosperity!



  • Ruthi Caldwell, ROR Creator & Facilitator (Research Coordinator, C3 Research Center)
  • Lisa Westerbeck, ROR Camp Counselor (Research Coordinator, C3 Research Center)
  • Yvonne Natoli, ROR Camp Counselor & Spirit Animal Creator (Research Coordinator, College of Business)
  • Kay Hetherly, ROR Camp Counselor & Piggy Princess (Research Coordinator, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs)
  • Michele Dziadik-Willingham, ROR Camp Counselor (Research Coordinator, College of Health Professions)
  • Jessica Schneider, ROR Camp Counselor (Research Coordinator, College of Liberal Arts)
  • John Fleming, Financial and Creative Support (Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication)
  • Erik Fossum (Fossum Studios), CommDes alum, for drawing the Pig of Research Despair inciting feisty, competitive research development
  • Vivian Medina, Student Worker, for fantastic digital design and ROR branding
  • Ana Baer, Professor of Dance, ROR Planner & "Most Gracious" location provider
  • Nicole Wesley, Professor of Dance, ROR Planner & Bodystorming Extraordinnaire
  • Teri-Evans Palmer, Professor of Art & Design, C3 Advisory Chair, ROR Planner and crafty pop-pom provider
  • Stacey Bennett and the students of the STEM Makers Space for awesome 3D printing and bacon trophy making skills
Photo of Research Coordinators
Michele Dziadik-Willingham, Kay Hetherly, Jessica Schneider, Yvonne Natoli (left to right)