New grant allows students’ research beyond the major

Stacy Rhea

Funds for research, scholarly activity or creative endeavors are available year-round for undergraduate students who wish to explore, expand and contribute to their area of academic interest.

“Research is written with such a broad brush,” said Joseph Ortiz, associate professor of geology. “Students in any department can test-drive their major by collaborating with faculty in a variety of research projects.”

Through the new Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, grant opportunities are available to undergraduate students who effectively demonstrate, through a written proposal, how their research will expand their knowledge outside of the classroom.

“When students leave the university, they will enter professions that will require in-depth thought,” said Brent Bruot, chair for the University Research Council. “And it’s not uncommon, in many professions, to write reports or develop proposals for funding of various projects.”

Lyanne Yurco, a Kent State University alumna, said traveling to the Arctic to research sediment core from the ocean, color reflectance and climate change was a great experience for several reasons.

“It’s an exciting and unique experience that can really help you get excited about the hard work you’re doing,” Yurco said. “It also gives you the unique perspective to see a project through from the very beginning to completion, which I think provides a better insight for what you’re doing and why it’s important.”

Participating in research has other advantages, Yurco said.

“It shows you have experience in research and writing,” she said, “and that you have the determination and work ethic to see a project through to the end.”

Grants are awarded in two amounts: $500 and $2,500.

The $500 grant is for independent studies conducted by a student. To receive the grant, a student must write a proposal stating the type of research he or she would like to conduct. The proposal letter must be accompanied by a letter of support from the student’s faculty adviser. Funds can be applied toward travel or materials, to name a few.

The $2,500 grant supports faculty research. Undergraduate students interested in working side-by-side with faulty members can submit a written proposal requesting up to $1,000 in additional funds to support their involvement in the research project.

Only four proposals have been submitted this year, Bruot said.

“Ideally, we would like to grant 20 per year,” Bruot said. “There is a strong desire on the part of the university, as well as national movement, to increase undergraduate participation in research.”

Summer grants are still available. The deadline for summer grants is April 1. For more information, visit research/Undergraduate-Research-Scholars-Program.cfm.

Contact graduate offices reporter Stacy Rhea at [email protected].