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Friday, September 29, 2023


Program spotlights undergrad research

UH’s Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs (OUDP) has developed a program designed to get undergraduates’ research seen.

This semester, OUDP and the Office of Undergraduate Research enacted the Traveling Fellowships Program to provide student researchers up to $750 to present their work at research conferences.

‘Providing conference travel support for students is one of the ways we are expanding opportunities for students to share their research and showcasing their creative work,’ OUDP director Veronique Tran said.

In its first semester, the program has provided four $750 grants and Tran said she hopes to give more.

At the conferences, students present their research to field experts, which Tran said is a great developmental and networking tool.

Grant recipients and chemistry seniors Huy Nguyen and Greg Whittaker will use their funds to attend the 2009 Vision Sciences Society Meeting in May in Naples, Fla.

Nguyen and Whittaker will present their research on how the human eye can be stimulated during sleep.

‘It is important and beneficial for undergraduate researchers to attend meeting and conferences,’ Nguyen said. ‘They offer great opportunities for students to exchange ideas and demonstrate their successes.’

Nguyen and Whittaker plan to attend graduate school and think this is a great way to prepare for it.

‘Presenting research at an event like this is a great way to get your name out there and gain substantial recognition for the work and research you’ve been doing,’ Whittaker said. ‘It looks great not only on your r’eacute;sum’eacute; but also when applying for graduate school. Any sort of publications you have or presentations can certainly help you stand out against your fellow classmates.’

Nguyen said the grant covered about 85 percent of their expenses.

‘Applying for the grant was easy,’ Whittaker said. ‘There were a couple hurdles to jump through but the overall process was simple.’

All four of this semester’s grant recipients will present projects in science fields, but Tran said it is important that undergraduate researchers in all majors take advantage of the funding.

‘This is open to all students so they can build research skills,’ Tran said. ‘We would like to support a range of interests. This is not exclusively offered to students studying math and science, but instead includes all majors.’

Mike Emery, communication lecturer and supporter of the fellowship program, said many students coming from an art background might not think about applying for a program such as this.

‘I think many students are intimidated or think they won’t get the award, but we want students studying a diverse range of topics,’ Emery said. ‘Everyone can apply, so long as they’re going to be presenting their work to a panel.’

The Traveling Fellowships Program accepts applications up to 30 days prior to students’ desired conference and grants are available for students of all majors and areas of research.

More information on the Traveling Fellowships Program can be found at http://www.uh.edu/discovery/UGResearchTravelFellowship.html

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