Campus Life

USU Student Researchers Recognized as "Undergraduate Research Scholars"

Thanks to a new transcript designation, undergraduate students at Utah State University involved in research are now eligible to receive the title of Undergraduate Research Scholar on their transcripts.

The designation was approved spring 2007 to more fully recognize the accomplishments of USU’s undergraduate researchers. To earn the title, students must complete a minimum of two semesters of research under faculty supervision. In addition, eligible students must participate in one of the many undergraduate research symposia offered each year, such as the Student Showcase, Research on Capitol Hill or the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research.
 
“Most students have to wait until graduate school to delve into the world of research,” said Joyce Kinkead, associate vice president for research. “Utah State University, however, recognizes the importance of giving students research opportunities at the undergraduate level and is nationally recognized for its undergraduate research program.”
 
Three students will receive the designation this year. Adam Kynaston, Benjamin Cummings and Steven Hart have met the requirements.
 
Steven Hart is a physics major who works with professor J.R. Dennison to research hopping conductivity in Hytrel, a highly insulating polymer. For the past two semesters, he has been experimenting with and studying the resistivity of Hytrel. 
 
“This experience has taught me how to write successful proposals, plan experiments and get my research published,” said Hart. “It’s very rewarding to see my efforts come to fruition.”

USU Vice President for Research Brent Miller said that USU faculty members really jump at the chance to act as mentors to the university’s fledgling researchers.
 
“The new Undergraduate Research Scholar designation is unique because it gives undergraduates credit for their research endeavors,” said Miller. “Utah State is one of very few universities in the country that gives formal recognition for undergraduate research work.”
 
The notation provides concrete evidence of a student's participation in independent scholarly, research or creative work, Kinkead said.
 
“It’s a certification of research proficiency,” said Kinkead.
 
Becoming an Undergraduate Research Scholar can open many doors for undergraduate researchers as it reflects not only their hard work, but their diligence and academic stamina. Studies have shown that students who conduct research show improved writing, teamwork, time management and leadership skills. The designation will appear on the transcript under the comments section with the student’s degree right below.
 
Students wishing to apply for the Undergraduate Research Scholar designation must complete an application, available at www.usu.edu/research/designation, and have it signed by the supervising faculty member. Electronic submission is preferred; all submissions should be sent to Kinkead at joyce.kinkead@usu.edu.
 
Writer: Kinsey Love, USU VP Research Office, Marketing Assistant, (435) 760-9536
Steven Hart, left, and faculty mentor J.R. Dennison

Undergrad researcher Steven Hart, left, and faculty mentor J.R. Dennison pose beside a vacuum chamber used for testing highly insulating materials.

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