UD launches first Winter Showcase for undergraduate research
Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson February 08, 2023
Students will present research and creative projects Feb. 15
The University of Delaware, which is designated an institution of very high research activity by the Carnegie Foundation, has a thriving Undergraduate Research Program. UD students have many opportunities to pursue research and creative projects in a wide range of disciplines.
The program’s annual summer celebration of this work typically includes more than 500 students.
Students are into research all year long, though, and this year UD will host its first Winter Showcase of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Works. The two-hour event starts at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Rodney Room at Perkins Student Center and everyone is invited to attend. (You can register at this link.)
“We really want to work at integrating undergraduate research into the academic experience,” said Rosalie Rolón-Dow, faculty director of the Undergraduate Research Program. “And one of the things we’re most interested in is making it accessible to more students.”
The event will feature work done by almost 50 students during UD’s five-week Winter Session. Some will present work they have been doing over an extended time while others will talk about their first forays into research.
“Winter Session is such a unique time,” said Lauren Barsky, associate director of the program, “and we wanted students to be able to utilize this time to extend their research and brainstorm ideas. We’re hoping some of the people will want to continue on and apply for our Summer Scholars program.”
Students will also have access to information about other research opportunities such as the INBRE program and McNair Scholars, as well as information about internship and community engagement opportunities.
Among the topics students will discuss in poster sessions and/or three-minute “lightning” talks are:
Family stress and sleep
The combination of painting and ceramics
Improving biocatalysis techniques
The impact of surgical masks on emotion perception and gender identification
3D images from 2D drone image captures
Lenape edible forest garden
Effects of context on intuitive learning
Endothelial cell metabolism in obesity
A visual guide for your lungs
“ChemisTree” — a chemistry game to teach students about electron configurations of atoms
Engineering peptides and hydrogels
Research on issues related to the LGBTQ+ community
“This does not have to be a finished project,” Rolón-Dow said.
But it can be a stepping stone to a new path of inquiry.
“I didn’t do a lot of undergraduate research, maybe a literature review,” Rolón-Dow said. “I was an elementary education major and in child development classes we had a child assigned to us. We met with them and did activities with them. It wasn’t research per se, but it fostered certain research dispositions and skills, such as conducting observations and careful documentation of different elements of the child’s development.”
It was a seed that later produced a career in research.
Barsky was part of undergraduate research during her senior year at Millersville University. That experience changed her course of action, she said, when a mentor recommended that she pursue graduate studies at UD’s Disaster Research Center. She went on to get her master’s and doctorate at UD.
Undergraduate research can include work in libraries and laboratories as well as creative and community-based projects. Faculty mentors provide guidance to students as they explore these opportunities.
Some students participate in a faculty-led team working on a large, longer-term project, while others pursue personal research interests under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
“We’re an R1 university [very high research activity], so it’s important to expose students to research,” Rolón-Dow said. “Some come with experience from doing research in high school, while others have not. The showcase is a chance to show how they did their research and also see how the process looks for someone in a different discipline.
“Sharing those experiences can spark something for them and expand their view of what research entails.”
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