Monday marked the opening of the new Undergraduate Research Center, which aims to promote and organize research opportunities for interested UC Davis undergraduates.
The opening ceremony coincided with UC Davis‘ Centennial Celebration and was attended by students, faculty and professors.
The goal of the center is to help undergraduates of all disciplines find programs and services relevant to their interests, according to the mission statement. Its emphasis on firsthand experience as a catalyst for academic growth was a key theme addressed by speakers at the event.
“This is just absolutely terrific for us,” said vice provost of Undergraduate Studies Patricia Turner. “Academically, I think it’s the most important thing we can do to help our students thrive.“
The center offers advising for students about how to prepare for research, planning academics around potential research projects, finding a research sponsor and assisting in the creation of a positive working relationship with that sponsor.
“The staff is very approachable,” said Steven Santa Maria, a sophomore Japanese major who works at the new center. “They definitely know their stuff.“
Additionally, the center offers the opportunity to receive referrals for sponsored research programs and faculty seeking assistants.
“It makes it a lot more convenient to find research positions,” said sophomore human development major Hayley Peltz, who also works at the center.
Workshops, seminars and educational programs also offer undergraduates the chance to expose themselves to research topics related to their field of study prior to applying for a position. Professional development training and activities also offer students opportunities to gain skills appropriate to potential projects.
“I can think of no experience better for a UC Davis undergrad than to have research,” said Larry Coleman, the chair of the faculty advising committee. “Research teaches you about collaboration, allowing you to contribute not only to your knowledge, but you’re unique view of the world.“
In addition to assisting students, the center also aims to help researchers find potential assistants.
“Our goal is to have faculty come from time to time looking for undergraduate research assistants,” Turner said.
The center has been under development for about 10 years, Turner said. Support from a variety of departments on campus helped the project move forward.
“Undergraduate studies have received support throughout the campus,” Turner said. “But we still haven’t captured all of the students who could benefit from undergraduate research.“
Tracey Brown, a graduating senior majoring in communication and sociology who had the opportunity to conduct research during her studies, cut the ribbon officially opening the center.
“I’m very excited about this center,” she said. “It will be very beneficial to everyone on campus.“
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