Megan Applebaum & Qinchun Rao

"Megan Applebaum, Honors in the Major Student"

Megan Applebaum


Thesis: A Nutrition Perspective on Garden Pea (Psium Sativum L.)
(Link to HITM project coming soon.)


Questions for the student:

Where are you from?

"Boca Raton, Florida."

In a few sentences tell us about your Honors in the Major project! How would you describe it to someone not in your academic field?

"My honors thesis investigated the pea protein vicilin. Vicilin is a major storage protein in legumes and is a recognized major allergen in pea (Pisum sativum L.). For the first half of my thesis, I worked in a food science laboratory to isolate pea vicilin using several isolation techniques. In 2022, our laboratory was shut down and I transitioned to a review-based thesis. I wrote a critical review on the nutritional advantages of pea protein, including anticancer, antihypertensive, antihypercholesterolemic, and antioxidant effects."

How did you choose your mentor, and what do you recommend students interested in starting an HITM project look for in a mentor?

"Dr. Rao became my mentor in 2019 when I was a student in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). As a UROP student, I was encouraged to investigate research faculty in my college and extend appropriate email introductions. I had an interview with Dr. Rao, and the rest was history. The hard work and diligence I displayed as a UROP student encouraged Dr. Rao to consider me for a honors thesis student in 2021. I would recommend students who are interested in completing an honors thesis to research your department faculty thoroughly and introduce yourself via email or in person. Remember to show your authentic self and ask as many questions as you can."

What are your plans after you graduate from FSU?

"I will attend the Univeristy of Georgia as a PhD candidate and dietetic intern in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. In addition to completing a dietetic internship, I will conduct community nutrition research in the Athens and Atlanta area."


"Qinchun Rao, Ph.D.-Nutrition and Intergrative Physiology"

Qinchun Rao, Ph.D.



Questions for the mentor:

What motivates or inspires you to mentor undergraduate students?

"Mentoring is a part of educational training to develop people in the professions. It is related to self-development, professional growth, and career development of the mentee. FSU has a lot of outstanding undergraduate students. They are eager to gain critical insight into the kinds of careers they want to pursue through their undergraduate research experiences. This motivates me to mentor them and lets me play a key role by providing advice, making observations, and giving feedback. In addition, mentoring undergraduate students in research is a truly rewarding endeavor. For example, strong rapport increases the chance that students will recruit their peers to join the lab in the future. More importantly, this learner-centered practice may produce publishable research and increase faculty productivity."

What do you think characterizes a good mentoring relationship between student and honors thesis mentor?

"Through my seven years of undergraduate mentoring at FSU, I want to summarize my mentoring style as inspiration-oriented, process-centered, compassionate, and excellence-driven. My undergraduate students have also helped me see that some important aspects of my mentoring style are giving them support, confidence, and success. This supportive and constructive mentoring has been carried out consistently throughout my undergraduate mentoring journey. Building rapport with students is one of the most potent influences on motivation and the cognitive and emotional development of students. In addition, being approachable and respectful has been shown to increase students' intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and allow them to explore their ideas and interests safely."



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