A poster session room, with presenters and attendees.

Student research highlighted at Miami University’s 23rd annual Undergraduate Research Forum

At the Undergraduate Research Forum, a student crouches next to the kinetic sculpture built by Clayton Musloff, Greg Heinrich, and Ruben Victoria.
Clayton Musloff, architecture major, Greg Heinrich, architecture and geography major, and Ruben Victoria, architecture and interactive media studies major, created this kinetic sculpture as part of the research they presented at the Undergraduate Research Forum.

The 23rd annual Miami University Undergraduate Research Forum (URF), held  April 26 in Armstrong Student Center and Shriver Center, celebrated and showcased the amazing scholarly and creative achievements of Miami students.  This year’s forum was the largest ever at Miami, with over 700 total student presenters. Students shared their work in both platform and poster presentations and discussed their ideas informally among peers and colleagues at a banquet luncheon.

Virtually all student projects were mentored by faculty from various levels, and graduate students were represented on 125 projects. In addition to congratulating the undergraduate researchers on their accomplishments, President Greg Crawford and Provost Phyllis Callahan acknowledged the significant contributions of the faculty, staff, and graduate students who mentor them.

Poster sessions represented the majority of presentations at URF, this year totaling 350 and ranging across all five academic divisions and across 36 disciplines, including psychology, biology, management, nursing, nutrition, and architecture and interior design.

Psychology major Terry Reid (left) explains his team's research to an Undergraduate Research Forum attendee. The title of the poster is readable: Group Studying vs. Individual Studying. The First Year Research Experience (FYRE) logo is also visible.
Psychology major Terry Reid (left) explains his team’s research to an Undergraduate Research Forum attendee.

Notable among the many outstanding student presentations were the following:

  • 14 posters from over 60 students in Miami’s newly redesigned First-Year Research Experience (FYRE) program
  • Artifacts created by Dr. Jeb Card’s anthropology students using 3D modeling and printing
  • Design projects from Dr. Murali Paranandi’s  students in architecture, interior design, and interactive media studies
  • Research by teams of students from the SEA Semester research voyage program (MBI 475) supervised by Dr. Rachel Morgan-Kiss over winter term.

Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU), a sponsor of the URF, encourages student presenters to continue the dissemination of their work through archival in University Libraries’ Scholarly Commons or through publication in university journals such as COMPASS, if not in major international journals. Students can also apply for ORU-sponsored Undergraduate Presentation Awards to obtain support to present posters at regional and national conferences.


Written by Joe Johnson, Director, Miami University Office of Research for Undergraduates.

Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

An undergraduate researcher discusses her poster with two attendees at 2016's Undergraduate Research Forum.

Undergraduate Research Forum to be held April 26

Undergraduate students Olivia Clark and Grace McKittrick stand in front of their Undergraduate Research Forum poster. An unidentified Forum attendee listens as McKittrick explains the poster.
Olivia Clark, bioengineering and premedical studies major (left), and Grace McKittrick, anthropology and linguistics major (right), presented their poster, “Key Concepts in Psychological Anthropology,” at last year’s URF.

The 23rd annual Miami University Undergraduate Research Forum will be held Wednesday, April 26, in Shriver Center and the Armstrong Student Center. All are welcome to visit the forum, which showcases the creative and scholarly activities of undergraduates who engaged in research over the course of the academic year.

Oral presentations will be held throughout the day. Three poster sessions will be held in Shriver Center’s John E. Dolibois Room (formerly the multipurpose room):

  • Session A: 10:00–11:30am
  • Session B: 1:30–2:45pm
  • Session C: 3:00–4:15pm

Programs with times and specific locations of all presentations will be available at the event.

All Miami students are invited to present at the annual forum. This year more than 300 research projects will be presented by more than 500 students. Presentations range from faculty-mentored independent study research to large group community projects and course-related projects.

More than 2,000 Miami undergraduates work with professors on funded research each year.

The forum is sponsored by the Graduate School, OARS, the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) and the offices of the president and the provost.


Written by Susan Meikle, Miami University News & Communications and updated for 2017.  Originally appeared as a top story on Miami University’s News and Events website.

Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

Undergraduate Research Award (URA) applications due March 6

A young woman wearing a white lab coat and bright blue surgical gloves inserts a pipette into a test tube she is holding in her left hand. Her mentor, a woman who wears a white lab coat and glasses, looks on. The younger woman is seated at a counter cluttered with machinery and supplies. In the background is a bulletin board covered with paper and sticky notes.
Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates provides funding for undergraduate research, like that done by Rachel Mann (left) under the mentorship of associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Carole Dabney Smith (right).

For over three decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami undergraduates with a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships are meant to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.  Students may submit individual projects or team projects. Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may be funded up to $1,000. Each individual or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Applications for summer session or Fall 2017 projects are due March 6, 2017.  Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.


Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

Two student researchers hold a piece of scientific equipment partially submerged in a large pool of water at Miami Univesity's Ecology Research Center. The part of the equipment that is underwater can be seen in the bottom of the frame. At the top of the frame, a net that covers the pool is propped up so that the researchers can access the pool.

Organization focuses on undergraduate research

CUR logo with text announcing Miami University's Enhanced Institutional Membership. Text: CUR. Miami University is an enhanced institutional member of the Council on Undergraduate Research. Learning Through Research.

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing and enhancing undergraduate research opportunities for both faculty and students. CUR is one of the few professional organizations that focuses on all areas of academic research, including the arts and humanities, biology, chemistry, geosciences, health sciences, mathematics and computer science, physics and astronomy, psychology and social sciences. This allows for high-quality collaboration between undergraduate students and faculty, regardless of discipline.

CUR exists to support undergraduate research by providing networking opportunities and other resources to faculty. Broadly defined, undergraduate research is an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. By including undergraduates in their research projects, faculty members develop professionally while also serving the academic community.

Miami University values and supports CUR’s mission through its enhanced institutional membership, which covers all Miami affiliates’ membership costs.

Membership offers the following benefits to faculty:

Academic service

  • By writing articles for CUR publications and listservs, faculty members can share their ideas via these media and can gather new ideas by reading colleagues’ articles.
  • Faculty members can also contribute to Miami’s strong reputation with undergraduate research. By joining the CUR, faculty members are declaring their involvement with such programs.

Faculty development

  • CUR offers a chance to interact and connect with other professionals interested in advancing undergraduate research.
  • Through CUR publications and outreach activities, faculty share successful models and strategies, adapting ideas to their own research processes.
  • Faculty members can build their professional skills by attending a CUR conference, which gives them the opportunity to actively engage with other faculty and discuss issues relevant to undergraduate research.

Improved opportunities and environment

  • CUR’s mentor network is beneficial to faculty members who are interested in initiating or sustaining undergraduate research programs.
  • Through its consulting services, CUR assists colleges and universities in a range of activities, including assessing undergraduate research programs, designing fundraising programs and organizing faculty retreats with guest speakers.
  • Funding opportunities and fellowships are provided to undergrads through the CUR website.

Miami affiliates can join CUR for free

Simply follow these steps:

  • Visit cur.org.
  • Click the Join CUR link.
  • Click on Individual Membership.
  • Fill in your personal information.
  • Choose Miami University (OH) as your institution.
  • Click OK in the pop-up window confirming Miami’s enhanced institutional membership; this makes your individual membership free.

For more information about CUR, contact Martha Weber, Miami’s CUR liaison (513-529-1775).


Photo by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Photo Services.

Image of Miami University's Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU). Visible are a wall with "ORU" painted on it and three people standing in a circle in a glass-walled office.

Undergraduate Research Award applications due October 17

Origami version of a men's collared shirt, made with a $1 bill.

Applications for Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) to support projects conducted during spring semester are due Monday, October 17.

For over three decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami undergraduates with a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships are meant to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.  Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may be funded up to $1,000. Each individual or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Students may submit individual projects or team projects. Each individual student project or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame.

Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.


Photo of ORU by Miami University Photo Services.  Dollar shirt origami photo by Leonid Domnister via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

 

 

A young man wearing a Cincinnati Zoo uniform shirt and ID holds a snake.

It’s time for undergraduates to explore summer research opportunities

A student transfers information from scientific instruments to a form on a clipboard. In the background, another student is measuring something in a holding tank.

Faculty are being asked for future teaching commitments and textbook orders, and students are in the thick of registration for spring semester. The next step? Begin planning for summer research in 2016. Summer is perfect for dedicating time to and making serious headway on research projects, if one is sufficiently prepared. The deadline for applications to Miami’s signature Undergraduate Summer Scholars program is the first week of the spring term, so advance planning is essential on the part of both faculty members and students to successfully apply for this award. Similar early spring application deadlines abound for other competitive summer research opportunities all over the country. The Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) coordinates with the Howe Writing Center to assist students in preparing competitive application materials for these and other programs. The ORU coordinates with the Howe Writing Center to assist students in preparing competitive application materials for these and other programs. The ORU coordinates with the Howe Writing Center to assist students in preparing competitive application materials for these and other programs. 

Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS)

The USS program is open to Miami students in all disciplines who are completing their sophomore or junior years. Summer Scholars work with full-time tenured or tenure-eligible faculty for a 9-week period over the summer. Participants register for six hours of summer research credits (for which they receive tuition waivers). Faculty mentors receive $400 in project funding as well as an additional $600 for expenses or professional development, and students receive $2,600 fellowships. Detailed information can be found in the USS program guidelines.

Students and faculty mentors should begin working together now to develop and polish ideas for application to this competitive but rewarding research experience. The submission deadline for students to submit application materials to department or program offices is January 29, 2016. Note that some departments may require earlier deadlines since departmental review must be completed and submitted to the ORU by the following week. The ORU determines the allocation of 100 awards across departments and programs based on the distribution of applicants, whereas the relative merits of individual applications are assessed within departments and programs to determine recipients.

The ORU highly encourages faculty and students from all disciplines to apply; any department or program submitting applications is provided one or more of these awards!

Drop-in informational sessions will be available over the next few weeks for students interested in applying for one of these prestigious awards. Sessions will be held from 9:00am to 10:00am and 2:00pm to 3:00pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, sessions will be held from 11:00am to noon and 3:30pm to 4:30 pm.

Other summer research opportunities

The ORU provides links to hundreds of other summer undergraduate research opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines at a number of institutions all over the country. For example, there are over 600 NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates in dozens of disciplines, including two here at Miami: one in the ecology of human-dominated landscapes and one in chemistry and biochemistry.

The ORU maintains a list of additional opportunities such as those at the Centers for Disease Control, Mayo Clinic, American Bar Foundation, MIT, Cal Tech, New England Conservatory of Music, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Newberry Library, and many more. Also included is the Summer Research Opportunities Program sponsored jointly by the major research universities of the Big Ten.

Finally, there are even opportunities to combine research experiences with travel abroad. EuroScholars offers a unique opportunity for research at top international institutions in the sciences, arts, and humanities. While this program is not specifically for the summer, it has rolling admission, with a six-month advance application recommended (April 1 is the final deadline for Fall 2016 experiences).

 

Questions about any of the programs mentioned here — and many others — can be answered by ORU staff. Drop by our office on the first floor of King Library or send us an email at UndergradResearch@MiamiOH.edu. In addition, many summer internships can be found in Career Services’ discipline-specific search databases.


Written by Joe Johnson, Director, Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU), Miami University.

Pond sampling photo by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Communications & Marketing. Zoo photo by Scott Kissell, Miami University Communications & Marketing.

 

A young woman with a conference badge hanging around her neck gestures to a poster tacked on a bulletin board beside her. The end of the tile of the poster is visible at the top of the frame: "consent within the Spectrum." The poster has other text that is not legible. In addition it has various tables and charts, including one pie chart and one bar graph. Looking on are two other young women in the right of the frame. One holds a green folder with papers on top, on which she is taking notes with a pen. The other young woman holds a program in her hand.

More than 500 student authors present at Undergraduate Research Forum

An abstract painting.
For the first time, the 2015 Undergraduate Research Forum showcased the work of College of Creative Arts (CCA) students. This oil-on-canvas triptych, is the work of CCA student Kristen Ledbetter.

More than 500 student authors were represented at Miami’s 21st annual Undergraduate Research Forum, sponsored by the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) and held April 15 during the Council on Undergraduate Research’s “Undergraduate Research Week.”

The majority of student work was displayed in three poster sessions, with other work presented during six oral presentation sessions. Whereas the number of oral presenters remains quite consistent from year to year, the number of students on posters has steadily increased each of the past several years (up about 8% from last year). This shows the increasing footprint that undergraduate research has at Miami, and bodes well for efforts to involve 40% of students with some type of mentored research experience, according to the unifying goal of Miami’s 2020 strategic plan.

Work representing 37 departments and programs from across all of the university’s academic divisions was presented. Furthermore, these were not just graduating seniors who took part—although two-thirds of the registered participants were upperclassmen, more than 10% were freshmen.

During the lunch-time celebration, attendees heard remarks from President David Hodge, Provost Phyllis Callahan, Associate Provost for Research & Scholarship and Dean of the Graduate School Jim Oris, and ORU Director Joe Johnson. Attendees also viewed the debut of a video titled “Faculty-Driven Undergraduate Research,” which highlights the role faculty play in the development of undergraduate research capacities, such as unique experiences in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

For the first time this year, students from the College of Creative Arts showcased their work in the event’s common areas. One of these featured artists was Kirsten Ledbetter, a junior double-majoring in Art Education and Studio Arts, with concentrations in ceramics and painting. Ledbetter was available to discuss her works and the creative processes that produced them, to illustrate how “research” exists in all disciplines across Miami’s campuses.

Written by Joe Johnson, Director, Office of Research for Undergraduates, Miami University.

Photo of Kristen Ledbetter’s work by Joe Johnson.  Photo of Undergraduate Research Forum student presenter by Miami University Photo Services.

Undergraduate Research Award (URA) applications due March 2

A young woman wearing a white lab coat and bright blue surgical gloves inserts a pipette into a test tube she is holding in her left hand. Her mentor, a woman who wears a white lab coat and glasses, looks on. The younger woman is seated at a counter cluttered with machinery and supplies. In the background is a bulletin board covered with paper and sticky notes.
Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates provides funding for undergraduate research, like that done by Rachel Mann (left) under the mentorship of associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Carole Dabney Smith (right).

For over three decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami undergraduates with a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships are meant to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.  Students may submit individual projects or team projects. Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may be funded up to $1,000. Each individual or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Applications for Fall 2015 projects are due March 2, 2015.  Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.

Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

An instructor and a group of 15 or so students are gathered around a signpost that reads, "Caution Live Honey Bees." The instructor holds a frame from a beehive. He is grasping something on the frame with his thumb and forefinger. In his other hand he holds some sort of flat-bladed tool. The students are looking at what the instructor is holding. Two of the students are wearing beekeepers' protective gear. In the background of the photo are a wood privacy fence, some tall, decorative grass, and trees.

Director of undergraduate research says it’s time to think summer

Fifteen students stand in a line in a creek bed. Some students hold long-handled nets or other sample collection tools. The water in the creek is up to their ankles. A gravel creekbank is in the foregrounds, and green vegetation and trees are visible in the background.
Participants in Miami University’s “Ecology of Human-Dominated Landscapes” REU collect samples in the field. This long-running REU, led by biology professors Ann Rypstra and David Berg, went international in 2014 thanks to a grant from Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Science, which allowed students from the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani to come to Miami to participate in this undergraduate research program.

With all the bitter cold, snow, and ice we’ve seen, wouldn’t it be wonderful to simply turn our attention towards summer? In fact, now is exactly the time you should be thinking about summer plans, even though it is still quite a few months away. Faculty should advise research-active (or research-interested) students to consider summer research programs as a great way to gain an intense, focused research experience outside the demands of the academic year. Deadlines for summer research programs are coming up quickly, and Miami’s new Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) is prepared to assist interested students in finding and pursuing relevant opportunities.

In particular, applications for Miami’s Undergraduate Summer Scholars program are due to departments by January 30—the end of the first week of classes for the spring semester. Interested applicants should have already begun discussions with their faculty mentors and started preparations of the application packet, which includes a two-page project proposal.

The USS program enables Miami undergraduates completing their sophomore or junior years (having earned at least 60 credit hours) to conduct research or other creative scholarly activities in close collaboration with a faculty mentor during the summer term. Projects are conducted over a 9-week period during the summer, chosen by the student/faculty pair. Each student receives a stipend, project expense budget, and tuition-only waiver for 6 summer credit hours of independent study (required). Faculty mentors must be full-time, tenured or tenure-eligible, and will receive additional professional and project expenses. The full USS guidelines can be found on the ORU website, and any questions about the program can be directed to the ORU at undergradresearch@MiamiOH.edu.

In addition, there are several other excellent summer research opportunities here and across the country for students, with the majority also subject to upcoming application deadlines. Miami hosts a Summer Research Institute in mathematics as well as summer research programs in ecology and chemistry. The latter two are among over 600 sites for NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). REU offerings cover essentially all disciplines that are funded by NSF, not only STEM fields such as biological and earth sciences, chemistry, physics, and engineering; but also computer and information science, education and human resources, ethics and value studies, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences.

The ORU maintains a database of additional summer research opportunities for interested students. These programs range from those sponsored at individual institutions, such as the Princeton Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (February 1 deadline), to those offered directly by public and private agencies, such as the summer internship in environmental health (January 28 deadline) offered by the Center for Disease Control or the summer research diversity fellowships in law and social science (February 15 deadline) from the American Bar Foundation in Chicago. One final example worth mentioning is the Summer Research Opportunities Program (February 10 deadline), a collaborative effort among more than a dozen universities allowing for summer research experience at top research universities including Ohio State, Michigan, Northwestern, Maryland, and Rutgers.

So, reach out to those students who are around for the winter term, and those top students you know who may be studying abroad or simply extending their break in friendlier climates. Make sure these types of programs are on their radar, and be prepared to write the recommendation letters to make their applications competitive!

Written by Joseph Johnson, Director, Office of Research for Undergraduates, Miami University.

Photo of Miami ecology REU by CJ Geraci, American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. Bee pollination class photo by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

Image of Miami University's Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU). Visible are a wall with "ORU" painted on it and three people standing in a circle in a glass-walled office.

Applications for two undergrad research programs due October 13

Origami version of a men's collared shirt, made with a $1 bill.

Undergraduate Research Award (URA) — applications for Spring 2015 projects due October 13

For over three decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami undergraduates with a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships are meant to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.  Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may be funded up to $1,000. Each individual or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Students may submit individual projects or team projects. Each individual student project or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame.

Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.

The Howe Writing Center will lead a workshop on developing applications for the Undergraduate Research Award program at 5:00pm on Tuesday, September 30, in the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) Advanced Inquiry Space (AIS) in King Library.

 

Doctoral-Undergraduate Opportunity Scholarships (DUOS) — applications due October 13

The DUOS program aims to heighten the synergy between graduate and undergraduate research at Miami University. The undergraduate student and graduate student will work together on a research project under the supervision of a faculty member in a Ph.D.-granting department. Either the undergraduate or graduate student may initiate the application, but the undergraduate student is to have primary authorship of the project.

The DUOS Program is open to any undergraduate student and any post-master’s doctoral student in good standing who agree to abide by program requirements. The selection committee MAY provide funding for up to 11 awards which will be announced via email in late early December. Each project may receive up to $1,000 total. Awardees must budget 75% of funds to be used in direct support of the research project. The remaining 25% of the funds may be used for dissemination of research results (i.e., publication costs or for conference attendance). The award amount includes $100 per awardee for participation in the required mentor/mentee training.

Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.

Photo of ORU by Miami University Photo Services.  Dollar shirt origami photo by Leonid Domnister via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.