Overview of conference space during one of the poster sessions at Miami University's 25th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum.

26th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum to be held online

In response to Governor DeWine’s stay-at-home order — and to protect the health of all members of our community — Miami University’s 26th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum will be held online via Webex on April 29.

As with the in-person event, the online event will feature both oral and poster sessions. The 10-minute oral presentations will be held at 9:00am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:00pm. Each poster session, at 9:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:15pm, respectively, will be divided into five concurrent clusters, with up to 20 posters per cluster. Students presenting posters will each have five minutes to explain their projects. Faculty members have volunteered to moderate all sessions.

In place of the traditional luncheon, there will be a plenary session from 12:15pm to 1:00pm, during which the president and provost are expected to make remarks. The LAURE Award will also be announced during this time.

The Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) is partnering with Career Services and University Libraries to provide workshops to prepare the 584 student contributors for presenting their research effectively in the new format. We are also working with presenters to ensure that the online Forum will be accessible to attendees who use assistive technology.

Visit the event website for more information.


Edited 04/27/2020 to provide a link to the event website.

Edited 04/15/2020 to update poster session times.

Photo by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

A current and prospective student hold programs from Miamis 25th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum

ORU requests undergrad researchers and their mentors to greet Make It Miami visitors

An undergraduate researcher talks to an accepted student and his mother.

The Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) is a stop on the Make It Miami tour for accepted students.

We would love to have undergraduate researchers and graduate student and faculty mentors stop by and chat with accepted students and their parents who will be on campus for Make it Miami events. These events are on Fridays (and some Mondays), from 2:00 to 3:30pm. Come to one or many, but please sign up so we know to expect you.

What: ORU Spring Open House Dates for Make-It-Miami Visitors

Where: King Library AIS Room 134 [2-3:30 pm]

When:
Feb 21 (Fri)
Feb 28 (Mon)
Mar 6 (Fri)
Mar 13 (Fri)
Apr 3 (Fri)
Apr 6 (Mon)
Apr 10 (Fri)
Apr 17 (Mon)

Bring a poster that was presented at the Undergraduate Research Forum. Faculty are invited too.

Last week’s session saw a steady flow of visitors, and our students have been doing a great job. Let us collectively showcase undergraduate research at Miami!


Written by Joyce Fernandes, Director of Undergraduate Research, Office of Research for Undergraduates, Miami University.

Photos by Joyce Fernandes.

Student Selina Davis works on a drawing while her faculty sponsor, Associate Professor of Art Joomi Chung, looks on.

Undergraduate Research Award (URA) applications due March 2

Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates provides funding for undergraduate research, like that done by Isabel Held (left) under the mentorship of associate professor of psychology Jennifer Quinn (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. The goal of these partnerships is to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.

Students with any major can apply for these awards, as long as they have an existing research experience with a faculty mentor. Both individual and team projects are eligible. In 2018-2019, 26 of 49 URAs went to student teams.

Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may receive up to $1,000. A faculty sponsor must certify that an individual or team 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 proposed projects may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Applications for Fall 2020 projects are due March 2, 2020.  Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.


Updated February 11 to correct deadline in headline. The original headline listed a deadline of October 14. The correct deadline for projects for Fall 2020 is March 2.

Photo of Isabel Held and Associate Professor Jennifer Quinn by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services. Photo of Selina Davis and Associate Professor Joomi Chung by Ricardo Trevino, Miami University Photo Services.

An undergraduate student researcher discusses his poster with an Undergraduate Research Forum attendee.

Save the date: 26th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum

An undergraduate student researcher discusses her work with attendees at the 25th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum

Miami University’s 26th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum will be held Wednesday, April 22, 2020. This showcase of faculty-mentored student research and scholarly and creative activities by Miami undergraduate students will feature poster sessions and 10-minute talks. The Miami University community and the public are encouraged to save the date for this free event.

Registration for undergraduate student presenters opens Monday, January 27, 2020 and remains available through Friday, March 6.


Photos by 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.

Student Selina Davis works on a drawing while her faculty sponsor, Associate Professor of Art Joomi Chung, looks on.

Undergraduate Research Award (URA) applications due October 14

Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates provides funding for undergraduate research, like that done by Isabel Held (left) under the mentorship of associate professor of psychology Jennifer Quinn (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. The goal of these partnerships is to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.

Students with any major can apply for these awards, as long as they have an existing research experience with a faculty mentor. Both individual and team projects are eligible. In 2018-2019, 26 of 49 URAs went to student teams.

Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may receive up to $1,000. A faculty sponsor must certify that an individual or team 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 proposed projects may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Applications for Spring 2020 projects are due October 14, 2019.  Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.


Photo of Isabel Held and Associate Professor Jennifer Quinn by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services. Photo of Selina Davis and Associate Professor Joomi Chung by Ricardo Trevina, 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.

Guest post: Undergraduate experiences enhanced by participating in research

In this post, guest posters Grace Chaney and Micailah Guthrie share their experiences as undergraduate researchers.

Grace Chaney

Kinesiology and pre-medical sciences major; molecular biology minor

Grace Chaney poses with fellow members of Randal Claytor's Muscle Fatigue Lab.
Grace Chaney (front row, second from left) conducts research in the Muscle Fatigue Lab, under the supervision of associate professor of kinesiology and health Randal Claytor (back row, second from right).

There is a quote that says the squat is the perfect analogy for life: “It’s about standing back up after something heavy takes you down.”

During my junior year of high school I had two partial knee reconstructions which resulted in the end of my soccer career. After 13 months of physical rehabilitation, I became fascinated with the body’s ability to heal. Furthermore, its ability to come back from an injury even stronger than it was before.

Fitness became an area of my life where curiosity was welcomed, change was sought out and innovation was abundant. The ability to alter variables in physical activity or nutritional intake and obtain significant and measurable results is astounding to me. I quickly became mesmerized by exercise science research and its applications in exercise programming. In my senior year of high school, I pursued and completed my certification in personal training and small group fitness through the American College of Sports Medicine. Through my certification I am able to help people reach their goals through science-backed research, customized programming and compassion.

My involvement in undergraduate research at Miami University has undoubtedly been one of the most influential experiences of my academic career. It has reinforced my passion for hypothesis driven research while also expanding my interests in translational research exponentially. I have had the privilege to be a part of the Muscle Fatigue Lab in the Department of Kinesiology and Health, under Dr. Randal Claytor. We have been studying acute, local muscle fatigue and muscle fiber activation adaptation patterns from a neuromuscular and external mechanical perspective. We utilize a dynamic single-leg extension model and drop-set training template in order to better understand the muscle fatigue and muscle activation processes. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, time constraints are one of the leading reasons people give as to why they do not partake in regular physical activity. My current research interests during my undergraduate career are to study training methodologies that minimize time spent exercising while maximizing the health benefits of physical movement.

Through the Undergraduate Summer Scholars program, and with faculty mentorship, I will have the opportunity this summer to pursue a research proposal of my own creation. The Undergraduate Summer Scholars program allows students to explore the depths of their passion for research while also providing a unique and focused learning opportunity. I am sure it will be a pivotal experience in my time here at Miami. In my remaining years left here as a student I hope to be an Ambassador for the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU). I hope to encourage other students to engage in and explore research opportunities both on and off campus. I also want to help current student researchers further develop their involvement with and passion for their field of study. I am excited to be working with the ORU, with individuals who share my passion for research and with an institution dedicated towards cultivating and encouraging investigators in so many different fields of study.

In the future, I hope to pursue a career in medicine. The medical field is the perfect culmination of everything I am looking for in a career. A career in which I can focus on compassion, service, innovation and translational research. My research interests are in intraoperative and postoperative research specifically in the field of orthopedics and sports medicine. I am particularly drawn to studying surgical repair techniques and postoperative protocol and how those can be altered to improve patient outcomes.

My love for hypothesis driven research was born out of a terrible experience but that experience built the foundation for who I am today and the kind of doctor I want to become in the future. I am forever grateful for my injuries — they are a constant reminder that you can stand back up after something heavy takes you down.

Micailah Guthrie

Public health major;  medical sociology and individualized studies minor

Undergraduate student Micailah Guthrie conducted research on the career aspirations of Black South African adolescents as part of a study abroad experience in Durban, South Africa.

This spring semester, I had the amazing opportunity to study in Durban, South Africa with the School for International Training (SIT) through their Community Health and Social Policy program. One of the main features of the SIT’s study abroad programs is that each student is able to conduct research as part of an independent study project (ISP). Based off of my experiences here in South Africa and my personal experiences, I’ve focused my ISP on understanding the personal career aspirations of Black South African adolescents and the pathways of support that they may or may not receive. This qualitative research will be conducted using the method of body mapping, which is an art-based method of data collection that serves as a reflective tool for a person to tell their narrative using their bodies. As I am currently in the ISP period of my study aboard program, I am very excited to review and share my findings.

Also this summer, I’ve have the great opportunity to participate in the Summer Research Opportunity Program at Penn State University, which is a graduate research internship and mentorship for undergraduates. There, I will be working with the College of Health and Human Development’s Dr. Jennifer Graham-Engeland, who directs the Stress & Health lab. I’ll be assisting one of her graduate students on their dissertation project, which focuses on understanding the knowledge gaps of both low and high arousal positive affect in everyday life. I will also be able to explore my own research interests, which lie within health behavior, stress, racial disparities, and personal and familial development.


Photo of Miami University Office of Research for Undergraduates by Miami University Photo Services. Photo of members of the Muscle Fatigue Lab courtesy of Grace Chaney. Photo of Micailah Guthrie courtesy of Michailah Guthrie.