Writer: Kinsey Love [Kinsey.firstname.lastname@example.org], USU Vice President for Research Office
Thirty-three incoming students are entering the Utah State University Research Fellows Program in fall 2008. For this special group of students, Research Fellowships provide research, scholarship and creative opportunities from day one of undergraduate education.
“The students we have offered fellowships to have shown enthusiasm for research and a thirst for knowledge,” said Joyce Kinkead, associate vice president for research and director of the Research Fellows Program. “We interviewed an outstanding group of students this year.”
Candidates for the Research Fellows Program were interviewed by faculty teams on USU Scholar’s Day held earlier in spring 2008. Students were selected for excellent grades, test scores and a desire to pursue advanced degrees following their undergraduate study.
Candidates selected to participate in the program include Sean Aston, political science; Natalie Hatch, English; Clinton Bell, physics; Nikelle Holbrook, human resource management; Joshua Blume, economics; Tamra Luke, natural resources; Jessop Boden, fisheries and wildlife; Camilla Lyman, environmental engineering; Tristan Boyce, aerospace engineering; Jacob Newman, history; Shanna Bylund, social work; Micah Orton, English; Alexander Chanson, physics; Bethany (Loren) Pereboom, music; Candace Clark, biomedical engineering; Cole Peterson, biological engineering; David Clark, biochemistry; Katherine Pike, communicative disorders and deaf education; Michael Crowson, political science; Lauren Smith, music; Chelynn Day, biology; Jesse Spinner, biological engineering; Athena Dupont, history; Nickolas Staker, aerospace engineering; Paris Evans, physics; Wayman Stodart, computer science; Erin Fleming, biology; and Erik Stromberg, aerospace engineering.
“The students who enter the Research Fellows Program are ready to work,” said Christie Fox, director of the USU Honors Program. “They love to get their hands on research, and even at the undergraduate level, they are making new discoveries and presenting fresh ideas.”
The new Fellows come from Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and Ohio. The group is the fifth to join the Fellows Program, which started in 2004.
“Well over 100 students have been selected as fellows over the past four years,” Kinkead said. “Many of the first class of fellows graduated this spring, which is cause for celebration, but it is also sad because we’ll miss these wonderful pioneers of the program.”
Students who receive Presidential or Dean’s Scholarships are invited to apply for the University Undergraduate Research Fellowship. To qualify, they attend Scholars Day, where they meet with faculty teams from various disciplines, including engineering, pre-health, sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. The interviewers pour over the application essays and resumes, in addition to quizzing students about interests and goals. For those who pass, the reward is a $1,000 stipend in addition to their scholarship and immediate immersion in a research experience.
Research Fellows participate in research by working in a lab or studio, attending seminars, working with faculty mentors or presenting posters and oral presentations. Most students present research at USU’s Student Showcase, the Research on Capitol Hill event or other state or national venues. Utah State is unique in offering Fellowships to students, no matter the area of study, including fine arts.
“In the past, Research Fellows have found their experience in the program to be greatly rewarding, both educationally and personally,” said Kinkead. “Students have been pleasantly surprised by the discoveries they have made or the doors that have been opened to them because of their research efforts.”
The results are impressive. USU’s share of Goldwater Scholars has gone up dramatically, capped in 2008 with recognition of all four nominees by the Goldwater Foundation, which was founded to increase scientific research.
“The last two years, we’ve had first-year students accepted to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research,” said Kinkead. “It is phenomenal that these students are out of the starting gate so quickly.”
While USU’s Research Office takes the lead in providing support and access to all students interested in research, the entire USU community is involved. ASUSU, the student government, offers an Academic Opportunity Fund to support students who present research projects at professional venues. Faculty mentors are also recognized annually for their investment in undergraduates. A new endowment honors undergraduate researchers of the year.
The newly selected Research Fellows begin their undergraduate research experiences in August with the Honors Connections course prior to the start of the semester.
“This is a signature program for the Research Office in terms of growing the next generation of researchers, scholar and artists,” said Brent Miller, USU vice president for research.
For more information about the Research Fellows Program, visit the Web site, or contact Joyce Kinkead at email@example.com.
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