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New program gives students an early start doing research

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Center for Undergraduate Research launched a new federal work-study based program to help first-year students with an early start to conduct research. 

The Emerging Scholars Program provides an hourly wage for first-year students to work as assistants on faculty-led research and creative projects. In this first year, 48 students are working with mentors from departments across campus to immerse themselves in the research and creative work of the university. 

This year’s class of Emerging Scholars features students from across the country and all different disciplines. Students in the program work around seven hours per week with their faculty mentor and attend monthly meetings with other Emerging Scholars and Center for Undergraduate Research staff.

“The Emerging Scholars program uses working in research to engage first-year students to help build a strong foundation for their success at KU,” said DeAngela Burns-Wallace, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “Some of the benefits include making early connections with faculty and giving students the opportunity to learn while they earn.”

Faculty submitted job descriptions based on their current research or creative projects. Jobs span a range of disciplines, including researching the history of the NAACP, seeking to better understand the role of vitamin A in development and helping to prepare materials for art installations.

Cecilia Menjívar, Foundation Distinguished Professor in sociology, is bringing in first-year student Giselle Almodovar into her research project on depictions of immigrants and immigration in the media.

“I was interested in participating in the program to have an opportunity to get an undergraduate excited in the kind of sociological research I do," Menjívar said.  "I have realized that this is also an opportunity for me to learn students’ interests and how I can best teach them. This program offers the best way to combine research, teaching and mentoring.”

KU’s Emerging Scholars Program is modeled on the longstanding Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at the University of Michigan. Over the last 20 years, faculty and staff at Michigan have extensively evaluated the UROP program, finding that these structured, early experiences with research have positive effects on academic success for students.

“We see a lot of students who don’t participate in research because they have to work many hours outside of class. We are excited that this program gives an opportunity for students to earn money while pursuing their academic interests,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research.  

Next year’s cohort of Emerging Scholars students and mentors will be recruited in the summer of 2017. 

The 2016-2017 class of Emerging Scholars and their mentors:

Giselle Almodovar, working with Cecilia Menjívar, sociology

Carolina Barnes, working with Jordan Bass, health, sport & exercise sciences

Emily Beach, working with Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, music education & music therapy

Mary Bishop, working with Meagan Patterson, educational psychology

Vaneza Castillo, working with Amy Mendenhall, social welfare

Aaliyah Cohen, working with Stacey Vanderhurst, women, gender & sexuality studies

Antonia Contreras, working with Paula Fite, psychology

Teresa Coons, working with Sarah Gross, visual art

Edgar Cubillo-Ponce, working with Chris Depcik, mechanical engineering

Kyndall Delph, working with Shawn Alexander, African & African-American studies

Martin Doherty, working with Shannon Portillo, public affairs & administration

De'Ja Douglas, working with Joe Colistra, architecture

Henry Escobar, working with Jennifer Gleason, ecology & evolutionary biology

Joel Gallegos, working with Terri Friedline, social welfare

Alondra Garcia-Arevalo, working with Ward Thompson, chemistry

Kirstin Georgeson, working with Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, music education & music therapy

Kevin Gomez, working with Sara Wilson, mechanical engineering, bioengineering

DéVion Green, working with Joe Colistra, architecture

Amen Hailemariam, working with Jennifer Gleason, ecology & evolutionary biology

Mylan Jones, working with Brad Osborn, music

Zoe Lai, working with Brittany Melton, pharmacy practice

Cortney Langley, working with Bruce Lieberman, ecology & evolutionary biology

Sabina Marcotte, working with Derek Reed, applied behavioral science

Jeremy Mazas, working with Remy Lequesne, civil, environmental & architectural engineering

Zalma Molina, working with George Tsoflias, geology

Summer Morrissey, working with Glenn Adams, psychology

Alexandria Nolan, working with Arghya Paul, chemical & petroleum engineering, bioengineering

Cristina Parra, working with Alex Moise, pharmacology & toxicology

Jenessa Pasimio-Field, working with Kij Johnson and Chris McKitterick, Center for the Study of Science Fiction, English

Ivan Ray, working with Terri Friedline, social welfare.

Sabine Rishell, working with Marie Alice L'Heureux, architecture

Aubree Robinson, working with Holly Storkel, speech-language-hearing

Jacob Schepp, working with Dave Besson, physics & astronomy

Martha Schneider, working with Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, music education & music therapy

Alyssa Sharp, working with Jennifer Weber, history

Katie Sinclair, working with Felix Meschke, business

Rod Soto, working with Remy Lequesne, civil, environmental, & architectural engineering

Colleen Stimac, working with Tracey LaPierre, sociology

DeAsia Sutgrey, working with Shawn Alexander, African & African-American studies

Tess Swope, working with Richard Glor, ecology and evolutionary biology, Biodiversity Institute

Jae-Lyn Takemura, working with Michael Orosco, special education

Jordan Tull, working with Jane Barnette, theatre

Karen Vazquez, working with Elaina Sutley, civil, environmental & architectural engineering

Alejandra Villegas, working with Jennifer Weber, history

Draven Wahwassuck, working with Brad Osborn, music

Amanda Wood, working with Scott Hefty, molecular biosciences

Ashley Yoder, working with Lorie Vanchena, Germanic languages & literatures, European Studies Program

Harrison Young, working with Hume Feldman, physics & astronomy.


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