LA Student Awarded Prestigious CANR Undergraduate Research Program Fund

Coryn Brinks, Landscape Architecture Senior, was recently awarded the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' Prestigious Undergraduate Research Program Fund

Head shot of LA Senior ('24) Coryn Brinks

The MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Undergraduate Research Program Fund has awarded Coryn Brinks, a Landscape Architecture senior at the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction (with a secondary major in Spanish), a $2,000 grant. The grant aims to increase academic engagement, intellectual inquiry, and practical learning for students by encouraging participation in and providing funding for undergraduate research.

Brinks expressed feeling, “deeply grateful to be a recipient of the CANR Undergraduate Research Fund. Knowing that there are resources available to contribute to my study is not only reassuring but also motivating. It serves as a reminder of the uplifting spirit within our community and its dedication to advancing research.”

Her research will focus on streetscape walkability, more specifically, the kinds of buffers that can impact pedestrian safety and comfort. Her goal for the research is to understand how various elements in a streetscape impact the likelihood that participants would use a pedestrian pathway over other forms of transit and enjoy using the space.

“Every one of us has an intuitive understanding of what would make us feel safe walking near traffic, but I am interested in this area of study because of the gap in qualitative data around the tangible details of sidewalk and streetscape planning,” said Brinks. “I’m excited to contribute to the toolbox that designers can refer to when crafting walkable areas,” she continued.

This research will not only provide tangible guidelines for designers to increase pedestrian comfort, but also, as a secondary area of study, utilize multiple survey methods to understand the potential differences in results between static images and immersive experiences when surveying participants. It will be a survey-based study that explores how built environments, from suburban to high-traffic urban areas, might benefit from different landscape buffers and streetscape design.

“Walkability has a proven ability to bring about remarkable positive changes for both communities and individuals, underscoring the meaningful impact this area of study can have. When pedestrians have positive experiences in public spaces, they’re more likely to make lifestyle changes that can not only benefit their health & wellbeing, but also the broader community and environment,” Brinks explained.

Brinks will present her work at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) or a comparable professional meeting within one year. She may also participate in the Mid-Michigan Symposium for Undergraduate Research Experiences (Mid-SURE).

Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim, program director of the Landscape Architecture program at the MSU School of Planning, Design, and Construction, will serve as Brinks’ research mentor for this program.

To be eligible for funding, students must be an undergraduate student in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, and must be recognized as a highly motivated, inquisitive, committed and self-disciplined student with a drive to succeed.

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