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Beyond the Classroom: UH Undergrads roll up their sleeves third annual undergraduate research day demonstrates active learning produces usable results

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More than 60 undergraduate University of Houston students have worked on ambitious research projects well beyond what is expected in the classroom, spanning such disciplines as archaeology, engineering, music, medicine, business, biology and architecture.

Offerings that include research on everything from diagnosing concussions in football players to predicting and preventing localized flooding will be highlighted at the Office of Undergraduate Research’s third annual Undergraduate Research Day Thursday, Oct. 4. Oral presentations will take place at 1 p.m., with the poster session commencing at 4 p.m.

“A strong undergraduate research program effectively links academia with the needs of industry,” said Donald L. Birx, vice chancellor for the UH System and vice president for research for UH. “It’s an integral part in the process of discovery, providing hands-on involvement in the learning process.”

The event features poster presentations from UH students who participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF-UH) program that offers students from all colleges and disciplines a 10-week research fellowship to conduct original research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. In addition to the
SURF-UH participants, other UH undergraduates who conducted substantive research under the direction of a faculty member within the last year also will be represented at this year’s event.

Participants in this summer’s SURF-UH program whose work will be featured include:

  • English creative writing major Darrel Holnes, working under Carl Lindahl, the Martha Gano Houston Research Professor of English, researching immigrant survivor-based communities in Houston that have been displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita
  • Biology and biochemistry major Hannah Kim, working alongside Christy Landes, assistant professor of chemistry, on research that delves into the complexity of the mechanisms underlying initial disease inception with retroviruses, such as HIV
  • Chemical engineering major Phillip Loya, working with Kishore Mohanty, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, on enhancing oil recovery to save oil companies money and time
  • Anthropology major Stephanie Cole, working together with Kenneth Brown, professor of anthropology, conducting historical archaeological research into the slave and tenant quarters of the Magnolia Plantation in Natchotoches, La.

Speakers at the event include Donald J. Foss, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost for UH; Stuart Long, associate dean of undergraduate research and The Honors College; and Brown, who was the spring 2007 recipient of UH’s faculty award for mentoring undergraduate research. They all will be stressing the importance of undergraduate research, not only to the student participants, but also to UH and the City of Houston.

WHAT: Undergraduate Research Day
WHEN: Oral presentations: 1 p.m.
Poster session: 4 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 4
WHERE: University of Houston
M.D. Anderson Library
Rockwell Pavilion (Room 214A)
WHO: UH Office of Undergraduate Research

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For information about Office of Undergraduate Research, visit http://www.undergraduateresearch

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