Campus Life

Summer Research Will Continue for USU Undergraduates

By Athena Dupont |

Undergraduate Research Fellow and URCO recipient Haylee Downey conducting research in Psychology. Downey is the 2020 Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services Undergraduate Research Student of the Year.

Although restrictions for Utah State University researchers have created challenges, undergraduate students across campus are preparing to take on ambitious summer research projects. 

“It’s important that we support our researchers, from undergraduate to faculty, in carrying on with their work,” Alexa Sand, associate vice president for research, said from her remote office at home. “The student-focused programs we run will be different this summer, but our team is hard at work to find creative ways to bring the same educational and training programs to our students in different ways.”  

The Office of Research will host trainings, workshops and other professional development activities to support student researchers. These all-virtual events will be open to any of the USU research community and will be aimed at undergraduate students. Interested students can sign up by filling out a Qualtrics form to receive invitations to these digital events.

Among those summer researchers, 14 students will begin work through funding from the Undergraduate Research & Creative Opportunity grant program in May, with research ranging from wastewater treatment to universal design. The URCO program turns 45 years old in 2020 and is among the oldest university-wide undergraduate research programs in the country.

Alongside the university's oldest student research program, the Peak Summer Research Fellowship is USU’s newest. The second cohort of 11 students from the College of Science and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences will work closely with faculty mentors in an intensive ten-week experience this summer. A sister program, the Caine Summer Arts Fellowship, will add six students (focused on creative research) to this cohort. 

The Summer 2020 grant and fellowship awardees will not only attend virtual programming but will also be using innovative methods like online interviews, Zoom research lab meetings, and code-sharing software to create viable research plans that meet social distancing and responsible public health practices. 

Fall research programming is underway as well. Undergraduate and graduate students can submit project proposals for fall grants before June 15 through the URCO and its sister grant, Graduate Research & Creative Opportunities. That date is also the deadline for undergraduate students with at least six semesters remaining until graduation to apply for the Undergraduate Research Fellowship, an interdisciplinary cohort of 100 students engaging in research and creative work.

The Office of Research continues to dedicate resources to researchers at all levels as the USU community modifies the way we work. Learn more about these measures or submit a question about your research situation on the COVID-19 Research Operations page, and follow university-wide updates Coronavirus COVID-19 Information page.

Kaitlyn Crouch, a 2019 Peak Summer Research Fellow, uses protective gear to handle a rock saw. Crouch spent ten weeks analyzing geological core to learn more about fault behavior and went on to present this work at professional conferences throughout the United States.


Athena Dupont
Graduate and Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator
Office of Research


Athena Dupont
Graduate and Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator
Office of Research


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