Braun Fellowship to fund professors’ research efforts

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Economics professor Kaustav Misra and geography professor Rhett Mohler were chosen to be part of this year’s Braun Fellowship.

The Fellowship, consisting of SVSU faculty, chooses two new members each year to receive grants of up to $37,500 to be used toward a three-year research project of their choice. The grant covers all aspects of the project, from equipment to travel expenses.

Misra will be working on a project titled “Formal and Informal Markets – Market Efficiency Theory,” which will examine the market in the U.S. compared to those in India and Vietnam.

“There is a theory that says formal markets are more efficient, but I want to test that and see if it’s true,” Misra said.

He explained that formal markets can be roughly demonstrated by American retail corporations such as Walmart, where there is no bargaining. Informal markets, on the other hand, are comparable to farmers’ markets, where there is often room to bargain.

Misra plans to do a great deal of research in the field, specifically going out and administering surveys with his student workers.

“My research will prove which market is more efficient, and this will help many people, such as policy makers and corporates, make decisions regarding market infrastructure,” Misra said.

His project will wrap up with the publication of his paper and opportunities to speak at conferences.

Mohler’s research will take him to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, where he will use remote sensing to map out the spread of two invasive plant species generally known as buckthorn and common reed.

“The hope is that by mapping these species, the people at the refuge can control them with herbicides,” Mohler said.

He added that the refuge has been wanting to map the species for a while, but they’d need a drone to be able to reach every patch of growth.

In addition to mapping the species by use of drones and aerial photograph, Mohler plans to
develop further methods Rhett Mohler and software for tracking invasive species.

“This will give the involved students a lot of research experience,” Mohler said. “They’ll get to see the process from start to finish, and in a way that makes it about community service. It’s always important to work with others in your community.”

He expects his research to culminate in several published papers, as well as student-accompanied presentations at professional conferences.

“I think this project will open up new research questions to pursue,” Mohler said.