Undergraduates learn about research opportunities at fair

GVL / Rachel Iturralde
Professor Steve Matchett talks to a undergraduate about chemistry

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GVL / Rachel Iturralde Professor Steve Matchett talks to a undergraduate about chemistry

Rachel Melke

Grand Valley State University’s Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship co-sponsored the third annual Undergraduate Research Fair in the Kirkhof Center on Tuesday to show students some of these research opportunities.

“I came here because I wanted get more professional experience in my field,” said junior Amanda Gibson, a biomedical sciences major.

The first Undergraduate Research Fair two years ago only brought in about 60 to 70 students, but this year the attendance was estimated at around 300.

Students waited in line to register, then continued on to the provided buffet meal. Groups sat or stood at cocktail tables before roaming around the room for booths of their field or interest.

Many on-campus departments attended in subjects such as anthropology, geography, geology, history, hospitality and tourism management, liberal studies, psychology and communications. Other departments were also represented, bringing the total to 24 different groups.

Some of the groups also held discussions outside of the Grand River Room about the research being done in their departments and how students can engage themselves as undergraduates.

Susan Mendoza, director of undergraduate research and scholarship, said the intention of the research fair was to make the idea of doing undergraduate research known to students.

“It provides the opportunity to apply what students learn in the classroom outside of the classroom,” Mendoza said.

A relatively new office on campus, the Office of Fellowships, was also there to promote its offerings to students. While walking through, students were approached by graduate assistant Jackie Dickinson, who filled students in on what the Office of Fellowships does. Although they do not focus on research, they do help by providing nationally competitive scholarship and fellowship advising services to GVSU students and alumni.

Dickinson said the research that students do as undergraduates helps to make them more eligible for these national scholarships. The Office of Fellowships was there to support research as well as get its name out to more members of the GVSU community.

The Undergraduate Research Fair also informed students about the projects other students on campus are participating in.

Some students already actively participate in research and can see the benefits.

“Research has shown me how I can be a contributing force in the discovery of knowledge for humanity,” said senior Patrick Louden, a chemistry and mathematics double major. “It has taught me humility on more than one occasion, but has also shown me reasons truly worth celebrating over.”

Louden investigates rare molecular events such as evaporation and protein motion using molecular dynamics simulations.

For more information about the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, visit www.gvsu.ours.

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