STAR Program Shining at UH

After a successful pilot run, the University of Houston Work Study Student Training and Research (STAR) program will continue to shine for undergraduate researchers.

As part of UH's Learning Through Discovery Initiative, the STAR program provides work study students with mentored research opportunities. Guided by UH faculty and staff and paired with a peer facilitator, students can gain invaluable insight into the processes of academic and real-world research.

"One of UH's most important functions is to recruit and train the next generation of researchers," said Gregg Roman, STAR mentor and associate professor of biology and biochemistry. "The STAR program reaches students that otherwise would never have the opportunity to directly experience academic research. The close mentoring and financial support of the STAR program provides for the student an invaluable education into the scientific process and demonstrates the possible rewards of spending one’s life in pursuit of new knowledge."

Students that complete program requirements will qualify for a $500 STAR Scholarship. Recently, the first group of students to participate in the program showcased their research during the STAR Poster Session and Reception. Among the 13 research posters on display were "Examining Cone Density in Hyperopic Eyes" by biology student Liz Amaro (mentored by Jason Porter, assistant professor of optometry); "Why Rankings are Important to UH" by business administration student Silvia Vera (mentored by Maureen Croft, research associate in the Office of Institutional Research) and "Desegregation and Marketing: Foley’s Department Store in Houston, Texas, 1958-1964" by consumer science and merchandising student Brittainy Perry (mentored by Teresa Tomkins-Walsh, director of the Houston History Archives).

"I happen to believe that success begets success," Tomkins-Walsh said. "Brittainy really grew from this process. She went from being doubtful and slightly overwhelmed to believing that she did a good job, which she did. I think the success she experienced on this project will carry over into future research endeavors."

The STAR program is jointly administered by the Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs and the Office of Undergraduate Research. This program has been developed as part of UH's Quality Enhancement Plan, the Learning through Discovery Initiative.

To learn more about the STAR program and how to become a mentor for the fall 2010 program , visit

Mike Emery