New program recognizes undergraduate researchers

Receiving formal recognition for research work can be a difficult task for undergraduate students. Unless students are able to co-author published results of a study, they often only have faculty references to note years spent doing research.

However, a new U program is giving undergraduate researchers special recognition for their contributions. Students can now apply to be Undergraduate Research Scholars.

The program honors undergraduate students with a special designation on the awards section of their transcript.

Senior Joe Hui, who has worked with U orthopedic researchers for more than two years, said he thinks the program will be beneficial for students applying to master’s and doctorate programs. Hui, a biomedical engineering major, plans to apply for the research designation.

“Because often times you’re not an author, it’s hard to get recognition for your work,” Hui said. “This is one substantial way to get recognized.”

To qualify for the Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation, students must:

?Complete two semesters of research with a faculty mentor.

?Present research findings at a U or state undergraduate symposium or another professional conference.

?Publish findings in the U Undergraduate Research Abstracts journal or another campus research publication or professional journal.

The U Board of Trustees approved the designation last spring. Administrators over undergraduate research said the new designation will help U students applying to get into graduate school and will encourage more undergraduate research.

“It’s becoming important to be successful in admission to graduate school to have done research as an undergraduate,” said Steve Roens, associate dean of undergraduate studies.

While the designation may attract more students from the hard sciences, Roens said it is open to students from all majors.

“For a pianist, going out and performing is research; for an artist it’s painting pictures,” Roens said.

Currently, few universities in the United States offer similar designations for their undergraduate students.

“We’re on the cutting edge-there aren’t many colleges with this designation,” said Jill Baeder, program coordinator for undergraduate studies.

For more information or to apply to be an Undergraduate Research Scholar visit, go to www.ursd.utah.edu. For students graduating this December, the deadline to apply for the designation is Nov. 20.

Kim Peterson

Joe Tuinei and Biology major Jordan Wright conduct diabetes research dealing with the heart in the Eccles’ Institute of genetics. Undergraduate student researchers can now apply for a new Undergraduate Research Scholar designation for their transcripts.