The Student Undergraduate Research Council (SURC) promotes awareness about undergraduate research opportunities at NAU.
By generating awareness, SURC hopes to increase the number of students engaged in research, scholarly, or creative projects at NAU. We also want to convey to students studying in a variety of disciplines and coming from diverse backgrounds that doing research is beneficial for their academic and career development. The members of SURC believe that participating in undergraduate research is an important experience for anyone interested in gaining more knowledge and a deeper appreciation of their academic field.
Major: Biochemistry & Biomedical sciences
Mentor: Dr. Jani Ingram
Current research: Quantifying the amount of total arsenic in various unregulated wells on the Navajo Nation
Research activities: CHM485; Joseph & Sophie Ottens Student Research Awards Program; Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention program; Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity program; summer internship at NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Why I do this: The best part about undergraduate research is that not only do you get to apply the skills you learn in the laboratory in a real-life setting, you get to expand your knowledge and experience things outside of the classroom. Additionally, you get to experience the feeling of being on the forefront of unknown knowledge; similar to the crew of the Enterprise, as a researcher, you "boldly go" every time you learn new things in research.
Major: Biological sciences, with minor in chemistry
Mentor: Drs. Cindy Browder, Constantin Ciocanel, & Kiisa Nishikawa
Current research: Application of mesoporous carbon aerogels in electrochemical double layer capacitors
Research activities: BIO485; CHM485; BIO680; Interns-to-Scholars program; NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at University of Texas Marine Science Institute; Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient
Why I do this:
Undergraduate research aids in the development of a professional
network, helps develop an ability to work independently, and augments course
studies. Students come to college to ultimately pursue a career specific to
their interests, and undergraduate research allows them to do so early. This is
why I am involved; it allows me to do the things I am in college to pursue
while I am still in college.
Major: Psychology, with minors in criminal justice, biology, & chemistry
Mentor: Dr. C. Chad Woodruff
Current research: Using EEG to quantify event-related desynchronization (ERD) related to visual processing and empathy
Research activities: PSY485; Interns-to-Scholars program; NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) at Indiana University-Bloomington; Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient
Why I do this: I became involved in undergraduate research as a
sophomore because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after college. I eventually
decided I wanted to go to graduate school but I learned that research was part
of getting a Ph.D., so I asked professors about their research interests to see
if mine were a match and that's when I found Dr. Woodruff. Neuroscience was the
most interesting topic I had studied so far and after being in his lab for a few
semesters, I realized that undergraduate research not only builds knowledge and
work ethic, but also contributes greatly to development as a person and a
scholar. Undergraduate research is not just working in a lab; it is being
involved with science at a higher level - a level that builds character,
self-esteem, motivation, and determination.
Major: Elementary education
Mentor: Dr. Trina Spencer (left in photo)
Current research: Explicit vocabulary instruction embedded in narrative intervention with first grade students
Research activities: DIS485; Institute for Human Development research assistant; Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient
Why I do this: Before I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant, I hadn't thought about the impact research has in my field of study. Dr. Trina Spencer revealed an important correlation: my field will always depend on research. Engaging in research as an undergraduate continues to provide me with opportunities to obtain knowledge and skills that are directly applicable to my future career as an educator.
Major: Physics & astronomy, with minor in mathematics
Mentor: Dr. Lisa Prato (Lowell Observatory)
Current research: The impact of galactic collisions on the growth
and evolution of galaxies
Research activities: NASA Space Grant, NSF Research
Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at the University of Wyoming
Why I do this: I enjoy the level of challenge associated
with a research project. If you are both
diligent and hard working, this challenge allows you to gain a better
understanding of the field you are doing research in than can be provided in
the classroom. My mentor has introduced me to faculty from various departments
around the country in order to give me a leg up when it comes time to apply to
grad schools. It also doesn’t hurt that
my research allows me to travel and use interesting tools that I wouldn’t be
able to use otherwise.
Major: Psychology, with minors in anthropology and international relations
Mentor: Dr. Michael Alban
Current research: Determining whether we can prime a freeze response in humans as a third option to the typical flight/fight response when faced with a threat
Research activities: PSY485; PSY486C; Interns-to-Scholars program, Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA) recipient
Why I do this: I never thought that I would be interested in research until I was a part of the Interns-to-Scholars program where I discovered my passion for research. The best part is that you can begin to investigate the things that interest you the most while working with professors that you begin to build a working relationship with. Research reflects who you are, what you are passionate about, and what keeps you up a night questioning. It allows you to begin to augment the information you learn in class and apply it to a real-world setting.
Major: Mathematics and Secondary Education in Mathematics
Mentor: Dr. Dana Ernst and Mr. Jeffrey Rushall
Current research: Attempting to prove the conjecture that all unicyclic graphs have prime labelings; creating applets for Calculus
Research activities: MAT485; CURM mini-grant; Interns-to-Scholars program
Why I do this: Getting involved in research is my favorite part of being an undergraduate. Although I love my other classes, research provides different opportunities that you wouldn't necessarily receive in a conventional classroom. It allows you to work closely with professors and, sometimes, other undergraduates. It also allows you to think creatively. Lastly, research provides you with a chance to learn more about a topic that really interests you, or study something that you may not come across in your regular undergraduate studies.
Major: Biomedical sciences, with a minor in chemistry
Mentor: Dr. Matthew Gage
Current research: Determining the biochemical properties and responses of the titin protein
Research activities: CHM485
Why I do this: I strongly believe that undergraduates should do research, especially those in the sciences. You get to explore things that don't necessarily have answers yet. The idea of being the first one to discover something is exhilarating. It also provides an avenue for building a relationship with people who could be outstanding references for you after graduation!
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies: Speech Science and Technology, with a minor in disability studies
Mentor: Dr. Trina Spencer
Current research: Assessment of story comprehension for preschool aged children in Flagstaff and adult-child communication interactions within different ethnic groups.
Research activities: DIS485
Why I do this: The best part about engaging in undergraduate research is working directly with a professor and other currently employed people within my area of study. I owe my success in college to my research team; without their support, I would still be trying to figure out my major.