Research Connects Undergraduates from Across the US

Undergraduates present research as a part of a National Science Foundation program.

A group of 10 undergraduate students took part in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Site Program at Texas Tech this summer.

A group of 10 undergraduate students took part in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Site Program at Texas Tech this summer.

Undergraduate students from across the country have been on the Texas Tech campus this summer to hone their research skills as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site Program.

Ten students, including three from Texas Tech, wrapped up the 10-week program Thursday (July 28) by presenting their research results during a poster session. This year’s program is the second of a three-year grant from NSF. The program involves students in ongoing research programs.

“The program allows us to give undergraduate students a research experience in a short period of time,” said Susan Urban, professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and principal investigator on the grant. “We take the students through the entire process, from doing the literature review, to developing and presenting their proposal, to doing the actual work and then presenting their results.”

The students also participate in a variety of professional development seminars such as applying to graduate school and ethics in research.

The program offers some students their first taste of research. For some like Charles Baker, it ignites a desire to go on to graduate school. Baker, a senior computer science major at Texas Tech, had always wondered about doing undergraduate research, but didn’t know how to get involved.

“When I received notice of this program I decided to apply and was accepted,” he said. “It has really opened my eyes to how research is done and what it’s like to be a researcher. The experience has been awesome, more than I could ever have asked for.”

Mary Shuman is from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. This is her second year in the program. Last year, she worked on a Web services project. This year she and her partner David South of Texas Tech worked on integrating a 3-D programming environment with robotics to stimulate interest in computing.

“I like last year’s program, but this year’s project I think will really impact people,” she said. “Not only can Texas Tech use this as an education tool to get people more interested in computer science, it can also be used to help people learn, in an interesting way, computing concepts that are key to programming.”

Also serving as co-principal investigators on this year’s project are Michael Shin, associate professor and Mohan Sridharan, assistant professor, both in the Department of Computer Science.

National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense"

With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), they are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.

View a 2 minute video overview of NSF's mission and focus.


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