Students gather for UGROW presentations


One of the instructors explains his research to a crowd of about 50 people during the pitch for UGROW projects.

Faculty and students gathered together Feb. 13 to learn about research projects faculty have created. They are looking to encourage students to participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity and Summer Workshop.

Magaly Rincon-Zachary, director of undergraduate research and biology professor, oversees the UGROW program since the program began 14 years ago.

“The goal [of the program] is to introduce students to research and have them learn the tools that are used in research,” Rincon-Zachary said. “When they finish, they will have a tool set that will be beneficial to them.”

Ten professors proposed ideas for potential research projects. Only 16 students will be allowed to participate, and the application deadline is March 15.

Margaret Brown Marsden, dean of McCoy College of Math and Engineering, has been involved with UGROW for the past two years and is one of the 10 professors that presented their idea to students.

“The program is giving students experience in research, which is important, but also engaging them in the discovery process,” Brown Marsden said. “Students should do it because it helps them apply their sciences, so they can take what they have learned in the classroom and use it in a different way. Students in the past have enjoyed getting to interact with their professors outside the classroom.”

Through the seven minute speeches, faculty presented and explained their ideas for what research they want to conduct this summer. Students were given an idea of all the potential projects they could work on, if they are chosen for the UGROW program.

“It’s very beneficial for the students to practice and refine their communication skills as well as their reading and writing skills. They refine what [skills] they already have and learn new things,” Rincon-Zachary said. “If you are going to graduate school, professional school, or into the job market, when you are in a pool of applicants with people with the same grade point average, recommendation letters, and essays, it’s good to have this program to differentiate you from you from the group.”

Kaylie Roye, nursing freshman, was among the more the 30 students in attendance. She said she was amazed to see all the complex ideas the professors had.

“I was interested in coming to the meeting because I wanted to hear what people are purposing for research ideas,” Roye said. “Seeing all the different people here and all their different ideas was eye opening.