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Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities

Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) Program

The Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) Program at the University of Houston is a collaborative effort supported by the Cougar Initiative to Engage and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards. REACH will provide a year-long introductory research experience for students in humanities disciplines by connecting participants to existing undergraduate research projects at the University of Houston. From projects in collaboration with UH Libraries Special Collections, to the digital humanities, to individual faculty research projects in humanities disciplines, the REACH program provides an entry-point to hands-on scholarly inquiry. Check out the exciting projects below!

REACH participants will develop their research skills through their work on a mentored research project and through their participation in OURMA undergraduate research programming. Students will also learn how to apply for future research opportunities such as SURF, ARC, PURS and the Mellon Research Scholars Program. REACH participants receive a $1,500 scholarship split between the fall and spring semesters in the program. 

  Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are now closed.

   Check back in summer 2022 for program updates!

Selected students will be expected to:

  1. Devote a minimum of 67 hours of research activity per week for the 20222023 academic year
  2. Contribute directly to the existing research project and produce a research project deliverable by the end of the academic year in coordination with the project mentor
  3. Attend OURMA Undergraduate Research webinars and bi-monthly check-ins
  4. Complete pre- and post-surveys administered by the CITE office
  5. Present their research findings through a research poster and oral presentation in coordination with the UH Undergraduate Research Day held April 13, 2023


  • Sophomore, junior, senior and transfer students at UH main campus enrolled for the 20222023 academic year
  • Pursuing a major in the humanities (qualitative CLASS and ART majors)
    • Students outside of a humanities major but pursuing a minor in a humanities-related discipline will need to articulate how research in the selected subject area will play an integral role in their future trajectory.
  • An interest in contributing to one of the projects facilitated by our campus partners (no prior research experience required)
  • Students should be in good academic standing.

REACH Projects

Learn more about the innovative projects happening at UH! One or more REACH participants will be paired with each of the projects below. Please review the descriptions from REACH campus partners. Applicants will be asked to identify which projects to which they would like to contribute. 


Resilient Houston: Documenting Hurricane Harvey

“Resilient Houston: Documenting Hurricane Harvey” is a UH Center for Public History project creating an archive of oral histories and a public-facing website showcasing excerpts from interviews of people impacted by the storm.

Student researchers will work primarily on the website, creating short videos for select interviews and transitioning our ArcGIS-based website to a new template that will make the project findings more accessible to researchers and visitors. Work may also include additional tasks like writing short interview abstracts, conducting basic research and supporting archive creation. Students will develop digital humanities, basic research, writing and archival skills.

Debbie Harwell:
Todd Romero:


Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Program

The Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Program’s US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH) program serves as a venue for scholarship focused on the US Latino written legacy that has been lost, absent, repressed or underrepresented. The USLDH program provides a physical space for the development, support and training in digital humanities projects using a vast collection of historical newspapers, photographs and digital materials; creates opportunities and facilities for digital publication of Latino-based projects and scholarship; promotes and fosters interdisciplinary scholarly work; provides a communal virtual space to share knowledge and projects related to Latino digital humanities; and establishes a Latino digital humanities hub.

REACH students will work with Latino archival materials in different capacities from handling and arrangement of historical collections to digital projects of the recovered items that include manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, correspondence, etc. The students will receive training in archival procedures, digital humanities tools and theory.

Lorena Gauthereau:
Gabriela Baeza Ventura:
Carolina Villarroel:


Sharing Stories from 1977

"Sharing Stories from 1977" focuses on documenting, preserving and analyzing the 150,000+ participant stories of 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston. This multi-year, multi-state multi-institutional effort, led by the University of Houston, aims to create an open-source digital archive that spurs quantitative and qualitative scholarship as well as public engagement.

Our project highlights the myriad identities and interests of participants at this most diverse gathering of American women in U.S. history. Our primary point of emphasis is to build out digital and brick and mortar archives, capturing demographic data, biographies, oral histories and ephemera. We connect humanities students with technology and design students in interdisciplinary collaboration on historical and technical aspects of the project.

REACH researchers' tasks could include drafting biographies, research and writing of interpretive essays, conducting oral histories, completing demographic research, public relations and social media engagement, archival research and liaison work with special collections and supporting our technical teams with back end web development and data visualizations.

Nancy Young:
Leandra Zarnow:
Sandra Davidson: 


Ancient coins have a tremendous story to tell about the past. This is especially the case for Syria, whose diverse citizens celebrated their communities with bilingual inscriptions and dynamic images – even after being conquered by Greek and Roman empires. Come join SYRIOS, a digital humanities project that tells these stories to a public audience through a virtual exhibit. Interactive narratives, 3D coin scans, and animations make these artifacts come alive and speak for the people who made and used them.

As a research assistant, you will help test the effectiveness of the project with its different audiences through user experience (UX) research. Additionally, you will assist in ongoing research on the topic of "data humanism" (the study of data not simply as numbers, but what it actually signifies: knowledge, behaviors, people). You will also gain technical skills and participate in a collaborative team process.

Peggy Lindner:  
Liz Rodwell:
SYRIOS site: 

 See the REACH Project archive here.

The University of Houston's drive for research and excellence in humanities is exemplified through the Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) program. To learn more, read our latest article: 

University of Houston Launches a New Undergraduate Research Program


REACH 20222023 Application Deadline: September 7, 2022

For more information, contact:
Rikki Bettinger,
Ben Rayder,