Annual Event Provides Taste of Research

Meredith’s Undergraduate Research Program held the annual A Taste of Research event on September 28 in the atrium of the Science and Mathematics Building. The showcase of summer research was an opportunity for students to share the results of their research through poster presentations. Another purpose of the event is to entice other students to explore undergraduate research.

Three students who were featured in A Taste of Research conducted their work in Costa Rica. After completing a study abroad program, the students remained in Costa Rica for nine days to conduct their own field studies, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Erin Lindquist.

Caitlyn DeBona, ’14, researched brittle stars, which are sea stars similar to starfish.

A mathematics major, DeBona said she wanted to get experience in field research, and brittle stars interested her.

“The project was a good way to learn how to do research, such as how to collect data,” DeBona said. “I thought brittle stars were really interesting and I wanted to work with them in their environment.”

Lindquist said expanding on a student’s personal interest in a subject is one of the major benefits of undergraduate research.

“It is an opportunity for them to work on their own research, and to design a project on their own on a topic that is of interest to them,” Lindquist said. “This is an important experience for them because it is similar to what they would do in graduate school or as a scientist.”

Senior Bali Woodburn’s career goal is to work with children with autism, and her summer research with Meredith Autism Program Director Kathryn Dove supported those plans. Her project investigated augmentive technology’s effect on how children with autism learn communication skills. She recommends undergraduate research to other students.

“It is hard work, but totally worth it,” Woodburn said. “You learn about yourself and how to deal with other people in a positive way.”

Undergraduate research is increasingly popular at Meredith. According to the most recent National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), 41% of Meredith’s Class of 2010 participated in undergraduate research. The national average is 21%. For more information on undergraduate research at Meredith, visit http://www.meredith.edu/urp.

Click here to view more photos from the Taste of Research event.

Date Submitted: 2011-10-04

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Melyssa Allen
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