Teaching & Learning

New Aggie Scholars 'Discover Science' During USU Connections

Undergrad researchers, student leaders, advisers and faculty share tips for incoming students

By Mary-Ann Muffoletto |

From left, Geosciences Club President Michelle Norman and Geosciences Professor Carol Dehler greet new Aggies at the USU College of Science's Discover Science event, Aug. 25, during Connections. (Photo Credit: M. Muffoletto/USU)

Persistence and shedding fear of failure are keys to achieving academic success and an enriching journey at Utah State University, say College of Science scholars.

That was among top messages at the college’s Discover Science event Aug. 25 for first-year Aggies and transfer students pursuing College of Science majors. Participants in the university’s Connections student orientation program were invited to take part in the Logan campus event during their pre-Fall Semester activities.

Another piece of advice? Get involved in undergraduate research.

“One of the first things I needed to do was learn to communicate with my professors and let them know I was interested in joining a research lab,” said Emmaline Haderlie, a biochemistry major from Twin Falls, Idaho. “Several faculty members told me they had no current openings for undergrads, so I had to be patient and persistent. I kept trying.”

Eventually, an opportunity opened up for Haderlie in Biology faculty member Erin Bobeck’s lab.

“Dr. Bobeck’s research focuses on how G-protein coupled receptor systems regulate neurological functions, such as pain, anxiety and addiction,” she said. “With guidance from her and her grad students, I’m studying different routes of reducing pain and the reward (addiction) of those routes.”

Haderlie said the process of participating in research, along with reading research literature, “builds interest and understanding in your classes.”

Undergrad researcher Zachary Zito, who also spoke at the event, agrees.

“Participating in research has opened my eyes to new ideas and perspectives,” said the Honors scholar, who was selected as a 2022 Peak Fellow. “I’ll go into my classes this fall with a whole new attitude.”

Like Haderlie, Zito took the initiative to set up a research project with faculty mentors. Majoring in both physics and philosophy, he approached two possible research mentors to craft a unique pursuit chasing the meaning of time. He was delighted to discover the researchers, who agreed to work with him, were also students of both physics and philosophy.

“It took some effort to come up with an approach and the project has changed considerably as we’ve pursued it,” said the native of West Valley City, Utah. “But I’ve gained so much from this experience.”

In addition to talks by undergrad researchers, the Discover Science event featured Science Senator Gabriella Cale and student Science Council President Mason Francis, who told students of opportunities for peer mentorship and service, along with science, math and statistics tutoring resources.

“We encourage students from throughout the college to get involved in activities we’re planning this year, including Science Week Oct. 31-Nov. 4,” Cale said.

Participants visited booths staffed by each of the college’s six academic departments — Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Mathematics and Statistics and Physics — while enjoying Aggie Ice Cream and receiving free T-shirts.

“Discover Science is aimed at building a sense of community among incoming students,” said Greg Podgorski, associate dean for undergraduate programs and services, who coordinates the annual event. “The gathering gives new Aggies an opportunity to see, meet and be inspired by near-peer role models of successful students within the College of Science.”

Biochemistry major Emmaline Haderlie describes her research to new Aggies at USU's Discover Science event Aug. 25. The annual gathering fosters community and offers information about undergrad research, outreach and learning resources.


Mary-Ann Muffoletto
Public Relations Specialist
College of Science


Greg Podgorski
Associate Dean for Undergraduates, Science Unwrapped Chair
College of Science

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