The UTSA Office of Undergraduate Research (O.U.R) is hosting the third annual Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry Showcase, highlighting undergraduate research and creative endeavors from across all disciplines, on April 21 in the Convocation Center. Hundreds of student participants will present their work to showcase visitors.
“Undergraduate research presents a transformational educational experience for students at UTSA. Beginning in their freshman year, we help students connect with research opportunities such as internships, lab placements, work study or scholarships. With this annual showcase, the students are given an opportunity develop their critical and independent thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills. What makes this showcase different is the peer review of undergraduate research by fellow undergraduates. It’s a fun, dynamic event that makes research interesting and engaging,” explains Dr. Donovan Fogt, director of the UTSA Office of Undergraduate Research.
Learning outside the lecture halls and classrooms has an unparalleled impact on academic and professional development. Students learn to distill their research in a way that the everyday person can understand. For many, this is the first time they are presenting and interacting with others regarding their research. They hone their presentation and conversational skills, skills that are easily transferable outside the academic world.
Fellow students are encouraged to visit and learn, and can respond in turn. Free t-shirts will be given out to UG visitors that critique student presentations randomly assigned by event staff. All are invited for lunch at noon.
Faculty also plays a critical role in the academic and professional development of student researchers. The Office of Undergraduate Research recognizes two outstanding faculty research mentors each year. This year’s Faculty Service to Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry Awardees are Dr. Matthew Gdovin of the College of Sciences (COS) and Dr. Azza Kamal from the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning (CACP).
Dr. Kamal, CACP assistant professor of research, has engaged her students in Design Research on water management and urban sustainability. They are studying and designing re-naturalized site techniques for protecting campus-located portions of the Edwards Aquifer’s recharge zone from storm water-originating pollutants. Eventually, prototype tools will be developed for communities and homeowner associations. The student-led work, which involves three Civil and Environmental Engineering students and two faculty mentors (Drs. Marcio Giacomoni and Heather Shipley) has been selected as a submission for the “Rain Work” competition by the Environmental Protection Agency. The overall design and research is sponsored by San Antonio River Authority (SARA), the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA), and Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA).
Dr. Gdovin, COS associate professor of biology, and his lab have developed a photodynamic cancer therapy that can target cancer growth in triple negative breast cancer without attacking or destroying the healthy cells or the organs that surround it. With 16 students – two graduate-level and 14 undergraduates – immersed in the lab’s primary research, they are also involved in designing and testing related experiments to test out their hypotheses. In the last two years, the mentorship has proven to be so successful that nine students have pursued further academic studies: seven UTSA graduates are currently doing their PhDs at Vanderbilt, Michigan State, Dartmouth, UTHSCSA, UTSA and USC; one student was accepted to medical school; and another is doing a post-baccalaureate program at an internationally renowned biological laboratory.
The Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry Showcase is taking place on April 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
UTSA undergraduate students who have completed or are currently working on, or will be working on proposals for future scholarly activity with a faculty mentor are welcome to register to present (http://research.utsa.edu/showcase/). Recent UTSA graduates who completed a research/project in Summer 2015 or Fall 2015 can present as well. The O.U.R. makes it easy for students by providing templates and instructions on the O.U.R. section of the UTSA research site.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Donovan Fogt, Director, Office of Undergraduate Research, GSR Room 2.130P.
Applications due by: Monday, April 11, 2016, 5pm.
Learn More>>> http://research.utsa.edu/showcase
Source: Sarah Hada, Communications Coordinator, UTSA Research