Undergrads display research, connect with legislators

A number of undergraduate students at the U were able to display their research and do a little bit of “soft lobbying” in the meantime.

Students from both the U and Utah State University converged once again for the annual “Research on the Hill: A Celebration of Undergraduate Research.”

The program, in its fifth year, is intended to connect students with their legislators in a meaningful way that, in the end, will help needs of Utah’s legislators become more sympathetic to funding research institutions.

“We’re trying to increase awareness of the legislators so we can receive more funding. Hopefully, they will be more prone to fund our schools when they’ve seen what we’re doing,” said David Adams, who recently graduated from the U with a degree in microbiology.

While the students were open to share their research with all who were interested, they specifically sought out their own respective legislators. Because all of the students participating in the program were graduates from Utah high schools, they tried to speak to their hometown legislators on a personal basis.

Duane Shonlau, a pre-med student working on a post-bachelor’s degree, felt the efforts had been effective.

“The legislators that I have been able to talk with have been very interested in the research,” Shonlau said.

Jill Baeder, of the University Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, felt that this year’s program was very successful in achieving its aim.

“This program was initiated as a way to let the legislature know about the kind of research that is going on. Undergraduates are contributing to very important and cutting-edge research.”

Most students were able to talk with their legislators despite the concern that due to the renovation underway at the Capitol, attendance might be low.

Typically, the event is held in the Rotunda of the Capitol building. Due to renovation, the event was moved to the auditorium in the State Office Building.

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