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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Undergrads’ research findings on display at forum

    Thirty-seven students showcased their research projects yesterday after months of research and some financial assistance from undergraduate grants.

    The 18th annual Undergraduate Research Forum, which was held in the Student Union Memorial Center North Ballroom, is sponsored by the UA Honors College and Leslie Tolbert, the vice president for research, said Patricia MacCorquodale, dean of the Honors College.

    After students choose a faculty mentor to work with for the project, they spend the summer researching whatever topic they are interested in, said Lucia Barton, program coordinator.

    “”It helps some students get into graduate school,”” Barton said. “”It lets them know if they like or hate research, and helps them with the direction in which they are going.””

    Anna Malin, an electrical engineering senior, said she had a great experience with her research project.

    “”This has actually been really fun,”” Malin said. “”Challenging, though. This is the biggest research project I’ve ever done, and doing something that took several months to get going was really different.””

    Malin said it’s important to do research no matter what field you’re in.

    “”It’s a hands-on experience,”” she said. “”I got so much out of this that I couldn’t have gotten from a classroom.””

    Cat Climaco, an art education senior, said that thanks to the research grant, she got to travel and paint all summer.

    “”It was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun,”” she said. “”No one knows about (this project opportunity). Teachers should encourage their students to participate. Music, art, whatever you want; you can do just about anything as long as the idea is unique and different from what other people have done in the past.””

    The grant money students receive can be used to travel to other countries, Climaco said.

    “”It’s really just a great opportunity for anything,”” Climaco said.

    Tolbert funds the Undergraduate Research Grant program, which gives out about $40,000 each year, with the idea that part of the research grants that faculty receive should go to undergraduate research, MacCorquodale said.

    Students from all disciplines can submit formal proposals to a committee at the Honors College, which then reviews each proposal and chooses the most creative ideas that also benefit the community.

    Students can receive up to $1,500 for a project and get hands-on experience with research, she said.

    “”The wonderful, unique thing about the UA is that we encourage undergraduates to be involved in research and make it accessible to students,”” MacCorquodale said.

    MacCorquodale said the research is important because it helps develop the passions of students when they are deciding what to do in the future, and because it’s a wonderful learning experience.

    “”Sometimes we have students who find out they don’t like researching,”” MacCorquodale said.

    The projects ranged in topic from science and engineering to art and social science experiments, a much wider range than when the program started in 1987, MacCorquodale said.

    “”We try to encourage students to create successful projects from all the disciplines,”” she said.

    Students interested in participating in the research forum should submit their proposals to the UA Honors College by March 1, Barton said.

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