Undergrad Research Seminars Debut This Summer

June 23, 2008

The University of Houston already is home to a host of groundbreaking investigations, but it’s also the site of several summer programs aimed at developing the next generation of researchers.

Programs such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at UH (SURF-UH) and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), which is funded by the National Science Foundation, provide mentored research opportunities to undergraduate students from UH and around the country.

UH is bolstering these programs through the new Summer 2008 Discovery Seminar Series, offering workshops and panels focused on a range of topics relevant to research in any academic discipline. Included in this series are seminars centered on writing, presentations, project management, and research and development.

“This seminar is a great way to jumpstart research students and keep them encouraged and feel guided,” said student Brandon Bell, who attended a recent seminar that introduced students to the responsible conduct of research and proper documentation.

Students from SURF-UH, the REU programs or any student engaged in research with a UH faculty mentor are eligible to attend these free seminars.

 “It was two hours that were spent wisely,” said Katie Thaemert, a visiting undergraduate student from the College of  St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. “The information presented saved hours of confusion that I otherwise would have faced.”

The Discovery Seminar Series kicked off this month and will continue through July 30. The remaining seminars are as follows:

Research Report Writing
3 – 5 p.m., June 25
Kiva Room in Farish Hall

Research Writing: From Academic Journal to Popular Press

3 – 5 p.m., July 16
Room 103, Science and Engineering Research Center

Developing a Powerpoint Presentation and Research Poster

3 – 5 p.m., July 23
Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library

R&D and the Product Development Pipeline

3 – 5 p.m., July 30
Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library

In addition to the general sessions offered in the Discovery Seminar Series, discipline-specific training on electronic resources and literature review also is being provided by subject librarians from the UH Libraries.

The series is part of the UH’s Discovery-Based Learning Initiative, which focuses on enriching the learning experience of undergraduates through research-related skills training, engaging students in research opportunities and connecting them to mentors and resources on campus and in the community.

“The Summer 2008 Discovery Seminar Series is the first of many resources that will be available to students.  UH students will benefit from new programs and services that will begin rolling out this fall,” said Veronique Tran, director of the office of undergraduate discovery programs.

The initiative is the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). As part of its reaffirmation of accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), UH was required to submit a comprehensive compliance certification document this past fall and develop a QEP centered on enhancing student learning.

For additional details on this seminar series or the Discovery-Based Learning Initiative, visit www.uh.edu/discovery or email discovery@uh.edu.

Mike Emery