Undergraduate Research Day Booklets

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This collection contains digital versions of booklets distributed at annual Undergraduate Research Day events.

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    Undergraduate Research Day, April 13, 2023
    (2023-04-13) Brown, Julia
    We invite you to explore, engage in conversation, offer feedback, and get inspired. This collaborative effort between the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, the Honors College, and the M.D. Anderson Library highlights the diverse range of research projects carried out by University of Houston undergraduate students. The 2023 presenters include students from programs such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS), Mellon Research Scholars Program, Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH), and many others who conducted research under the guidance of University of Houston faculty in the past year. The energy that makes this event so special is only outmatched by the spirit and dedication the students have brought to their research this year. The number of participants in this year's Undergraduate Research Day increased 35% from last year. We are excited to celebrate the research of UH undergraduates, and they are eager to share their projects with you. Our presenters have collaborated with faculty mentors from 16 colleges and schools in programs as diverse as Philosophy, Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Art History, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Faculty at the University of Houston are dedicated to mentoring students in the pursuit of advancing knowledge in their fields and are always looking for ways to advocate for students' success. The research posters offer an invitation to discuss big ideas, granular analyses, and complex problems. Undergraduate Research Day provides the opportunity for undergraduate researchers to connect with other students, faculty, staff, and professionals in industry and gain feedback on their research. We encourage you to speak with presenters about their work. In the last year, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards (OURMA) has supported over 310 faculty-mentored student research projects and awarded over $590K in student scholarships. This would not be possible without the generous support of the Office of the Provost and the Division of Research whose dedication to student success enables students at the University of Houston to pursue funded research opportunities. We are also always seeking new ways to expand research opportunities while addressing society's urgent questions. With this in mind, and thanks to funding provided by Phillips 66, we launched the Energy Scholars Program this spring which provides a summer and fall research experience for students of any discipline working on energy-related research. Our funded undergraduate research programs allow students the necessary time and resources to delve deep and better understand and address some of Houston's, and our world's, most important issues. UH students are also well-positioned as fellowships applicants. In the last year, our students have been named recipients of the Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholarship, Voyager Scholarship, Amgen Scholars, Critical Language Scholarship, and NSF-GRFP. With 10 Coogs named as Fulbright recipients for 2022-2023, the University of Houston was again named a Top Producing Fulbright Institution, the third time it has received this prestigious designation in the last four years. In the lab and the library, in Houston and across the globe, our Coogs dare to dream big, and their successes demonstrate why University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One research university. We are heartened by the increase in student participation and funding for undergraduate research opportunities, even amid the challenges of the pandemic. With these increases and in support of OURMA's mission to provide faculty-mentored research opportunities and advising on fellowships and major awards to undergraduate students, OURMA welcomed new staff members in 2022. Deborah Reyes joined as a Program Manager in September and is completing her M.Ed. in Higher Education this year. Students interested in getting started in research and in the PURS and SURF programs should contact Deborah for more information. Livia Garza joined the office as a Program Manager in November. An alum of both the Honors College and the Mellon Research Scholars Program, Livia holds a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Students interested in getting connected with OURMA opportunities through our listserv and social media, as well as those interested in the HERE program, should contact Livia for more information. We were pleased as well to welcome Esraa Wasel to our team as a student worker; Esraa is a member of the Honors College graduating this spring with a Bachelor's degree in philosophy. A former Mellon Research Scholar and preparing for graduate study, Esraa will be presenting her research on moral encroachment at this year's URD. She also has a published article in the third issue of FrameWorks: A Journal of Undergraduate Research in the Interdisciplinary Humanities. We feel fortunate to have a dedicated team working to ensure opportunities for undergraduate researchers at the University of Houston. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards would like to thank the Office of the Provost, the Division of Research, the Honors College, UH Libraries, the Cullen College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and many other colleges and departments on campus for their support of undergraduate research programs at the University of Houston. The programs featured here today would not be possible without the support of our campus partners. We know that students who engage in undergraduate research are better positioned to assess and address the pressing issues of our time. Participation in undergraduate research allows students to hone key research skills and provides a foundation for collaborative problem-solving. We are excited to learn alongside these researchers. Thank you for joining us for this year's celebration of undergraduate research at the University of Houston.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 22, 2015
    (2015-10-22) Brown, Julia
    Good afternoon. At this event, you will have the opportunity to engage with and learn from the many undergraduate students who have conducted research throughout the past year. You will see research projects displayed from a wide range of academic fields. The interdisciplinary nature of Undergraduate Research Day highlights the diverse research currently being conducted by the University's talented faculty and students. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Office of Undergraduate Research sponsored over 200 students in mentored research programs, and hundreds more through informational sessions, scholarship applications, and online resources. These programs include our fulltime Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, and the part-time Fall or Spring semester Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS) program. We also supported over 60 students this year in applying for external scholarship and internship opportunities- a record number of UH students participating in national competitions. All of the scholarships and services offered to UH undergraduates would not be possible without the support of the Office of the Provost, Division of Research, and the Honors College. In addition to their generous support of our students’ success, other funders and units on campus contributed financially to the Office's programs this year. To begin with, we would like to extend a special thank you both to Jeff Beauchamp and Heidi Alderman of the BASF Corporation for supporting the SURF and PURS programs this year. We also thank the Biology and Behavior Institute (BoBI) and the Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) for their financial contributions of student scholarships. UH departments and colleges also contributed to funding our stellar students. These departments include Biology & Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as the College of Technology. As always, we are grateful to our faculty selection and advisory committee for their continued assistance in choosing the student and faculty recipients of our awards each year. [...]
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 09, 2014
    (2014-10-09) Brown, Julia
    Thank you for joining us today for the ten-year anniversary of the University of Houston's Undergraduate Research Day. Over 1000 students have presented at our event over the years, and we are delighted that the event continues to grow in size and stature. At today's celebration, we are highlighting the achievements of our 61 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) students, and 80 other students who are presenting on their research projects through poster and oral presentations. It is has been an exciting year for the Office of Undergraduate Research. We have enjoyed growth and expansion within our programs thanks to the generous contribution of our campus community partners. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Provost's Office, Division of Research, and The Honors College for their continued support of our Office's programs. We also are appreciative of the support of our campus community partners: Biology of Behavior Institute (BoBI), Cullen College of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, Hobby Center for Public Policy, Medicine and Society Program, Texas Obesity Research Center, and the following UH Departments: Biology & Biochemistry, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Construction Management, Electrical Technology, Health and Human Performance, Mathematics, and Mechanical Engineering. By their contributions to the Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS) and the SURF programs, we were able to sponsor over 120 students in the 2013-2014 academic year. We also thank our faculty selection and advisory committee for the time and effort they spend reviewing the applications we receive for our scholarship and award programs. Their input and feedback enable us to refine and revise our policies and procedures, and adhere to the ever changing needs of the UH community. Undergraduate Research Day is an opportunity for our campus community to support mentored research activities, recognizing that building mentor relationships with professors is pivotal to students' academic and professional path. One of the most impressive aspects of this event is the wide range of projects represented by our student researchers. This year's cohort includes projects on imaging and analyzing blood vessels within the brain for Alzheimer's disease, mapping neurons to better understand neurogenerative diseases, and creating mathematical models that simulate various biochemical and metabolic pathways, to analyzing leadership traits of university-age LGBT youth, studying the role of gender for primary elections, and determining the effect of peer mentorship programs for cancer survivors. Our UH researchers are bright, motivated, engaged students who represent our future leaders. We congratulate them on their achievements and wish them the best in their future endeavors. Thank you again for joining us today at Undergraduate Research Day.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 10, 2013
    (2013-10-10) Brown, Julia
    Today is the ninth annual Undergraduate Research Day at the University of Houston. At this exciting celebration, we are highlighting the achievements of our 63 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) students and the 67 other students who are presenting on their research experiences at our event. Undergraduate Research Day is an opportunity for our campus community to support mentored research activities, knowing that building relationships with professors is pivotal to students' academic and professional path. By way of example, of the first-time college students who entered UH from 2002-2007, and participated in a program offered through the Office of Undergraduate Research, approximately 92% graduated within six years. To put this statistic into perspective, the average 6-year graduation rate in Texas is approximately 49%. It is our privilege and pleasure to encourage the efforts of our researchers, applaud the work they have accomplished in the past year, and learn more about their projects and findings. The students you are meeting today have spent months working closely with their mentors and research teams, and this event is the culmination of their hard work and collaboration with professionals and scholars in their field. Our researchers are bright, talented, dedicated students who represent our future leaders. We congratulate them on their achievements. The SURF students presenting today also participated in our Brown Bag Lecture Series this past summer (see page 38). These seminars are a further extension of our efforts to prepare our students for the challenges they will face in graduate school and within the workforce. Our SURF participants also toured distinguished research centers on campus, learning more about what it means to be a member of a Tier One Research University. We extend our appreciation to the Provost's Office, the Division of Research, and the Honors College for their continued support of our Office's programs. Our ability to expand and broaden the services we offer students through mentored research activities is directly dependent upon the funding we receive from these units. Also, we thank our selection committee for the time and effort they spend reviewing the applications we receive for our scholarship and award programs. Their input and feedback enable us to refine and revise our policies and procedures, and adhere to the ever-changing needs of the UH community. It is a pleasure to have you with us at our event today, and we are delighted that you have taken the time to offer your support to our University of Houston student researchers.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 11, 2012
    (2012-10-11) Weber, Karen
    On our eighth annual Undergraduate Research Day we applaud the accomplishments of the 56 students who participated in the 2012 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, and the over 70 additional undergraduate researchers who completed mentored research projects during the past year. Each year this event continues to grow in size and stature. The increasing number and variety of the projects presented today is a testament to the thriving undergraduate research culture here at the University of Houston. Our students continue to impress us with their talent, intelligence, hard work, and dedication. It's exciting to see what they have achieved in the past 12 months, and to witness their delight in sharing those endeavors with others. To the students presenting at Undergraduate Research Day: We congratulate you! You've gotten a taste of the effort and perseverance required to break ground in your chosen career paths. Conducting research, as you have learned, is not without its frustrations: set-backs are to be expected in the pursuit of new, shareable knowledge. We recognize how well you have overcome those obstacles, and have already started contributing to your field. In addition, you are developing long-lasting mentorships with faculty. The graduates and undergraduates you have met may have already become colleagues and friends. We hope you will stay in contact with them as you go forward into your profession. Take pride in all you have accomplished this year - you have already started building the foundation for your future success. Special thanks must also be extended to the faculty mentors who provide our students with the rare opportunity to participate in real world projects that give students a window into the realities of their profession. Under your guidance, they cultivate the skills and confidence that will serve them well throughout their professional lives. Thank you, faculty mentors, for helping to shape the next generation's leaders. We were fortunate to have a dynamic range of speakers in our 2012 SURF Brown Bag Lecture Series (visit page 41 for details). SURF lecturers share experi-ences and provide advice, helping our students begin to model the life of a researcher, deeply committed to his or her work. This series, a highlight of the summer research program, benefits our undergraduates by better preparing them for graduate or professional school or the work force. The selection committee continues to do an outstanding job with the challenging task of reviewing the many applications we receive for scholarships and fellowships each year. They also provide the necessary guidance and feedback to assist us in modifying our office's policies and procedures. Their contributions are vital to the success of the Office of Under-graduate Research. Last but not least, we thank the Provost's Office, the Division of Research, and The Honors College for their support. The funding we receive from these units allows us to bolster and expand the mentored research programs that enhance the academic experiences of hundreds of undergraduates last year. It has been a truly rewarding year for our undergraduate researchers at the University of Houston, and a privilege for us to support their endeavors. We hope you enjoy this exciting day.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 14, 2010
    (2010-10-14) Weber, Karen
    Welcome to our sixth annual Undergraduate Research Day. Today we invite you to consider how far we have comeand where we are headed. We are here to honor the 43 students who participated in the 2010 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, as well as the many other undergraduate researchers who completed mentored research projects during the past year. Thanks to the efforts of our undergraduate researchers and their faculty mentors, the University of Houston is now home to a thriving undergraduate research culture - a culture that produces some impressive results. Just this past year, undergraduate researchers Matthew Reichl, Erica Fletcher, and Mariana Guerrero were awarded nationally competitive scholarships. These award winners got involved in research early on in their academic careers, and their research proved to be an integral component in enabling them to achieve their goals. One of the most exciting aspects of conducting research is finally seeing the results of your work and sharing those results with others. For instance, some of these results you surely noticed at today's event were products that resulted from the combination of our University's strengths in both technology and design. These ideas - including a smarter diaper and variable-tinted auto glass - are the results of the collaboration of undergraduate research groups led by Farrokh Attarzadeh in the College of Technology and EunSook Kwon in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. You might also have smelled another research project by Toshia Miracle and Samantha Porter, who were mentored by Jay Neal in the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Their research into the culinary tastes of the varied ethnic groups at the University has yielded two dishes, and aims to please the palates of many Cougars. Stop by and give it a try! To the students presenting their research today: many congratulations. You have persevered through the setbacks, frustrations, and tedium of research; and we trust that today, you can see that those trials are a part of the production of new, exciting, shareable knowledge. Through your research experience, you have not only furthered the development of your discipline, you have come to know your faculty mentor and have witnessed firsthand your professor's excitement for teaching and learning. We also thank these students' faculty mentors. Through the time and energy that you give to these students, you are helping to produce the next generation of leaders. By guiding their work, you are providing an environment in which they can flourish and grow more confident of future successes. Thanks as well should go to the faculty who served as the speakers in our SURF Brown Bag Lecture Series. By sharing your own experiences and advice, you helped model the life of a researcher and the deep commitment to one's work, both of which our students will take with them, whether into graduate school or a professional career. The selection committee is another important element in the success of the Office of Undergraduate Research. This committee has the difficult task of selecting recipients for the PURS and SURF programs from an extremely competitive pool, and also provides us with feedback and advice on improving the Office's activities. Thanks to all for celebrating this exciting day with us, and for your support of our undergraduate researchers.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 1, 2009
    (2009-10-01) Weber, Karen
    Undergraduate Research Day is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, and this truly is a celebration- a celebration of students, a celebration of faculty mentors, and a celebration of the University of Houston. Today we honor the 44 students that participated in the 2009 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, as well as the achievements of all undergraduates that conducted substantive research projects within the past year. For the students presenting at Undergraduate Research Day today, we applaud your achievements. We recognize that research can be challenging, tedious, and at times frustrating, Conducting research as an undergraduate, however, is invaluable in many ways. It offers you the opportunity to think independently, creatively and critically-encouraging and cultivating freedom of thought. Research also allows you to make a contribution to your field, and to discover new knowledge. It is perhaps one of the best ways to get to know faculty in your field and to develop lifelong mentorships with them. These experiences also acquaint you with graduate and undergraduate students in your field; colleagues and friends we hope you will stay in contact with for the years to come. We also applaud the faculty mentors of the students presenting today. By devoting your time and energies in supporting these undergraduates, you are guiding and nurturing our future leaders. Through your involvement, you have enlightened our undergraduates and given them confidence in their abilities and in what they are capable of achieving in the future. We also are thankful for the faculty who served as speakers in our SURF Brown Bag Lecture Series (visit page 29 for details). Through these lecturers' contributions, the SURF program provides students with insights that will help them be successful as both undergraduate researchers and as future graduate students or members of the professional workforce. This series is truly integral to the success of our summer research program. Our selection committee is also instrumental to the success of the Office of Undergraduate Research. In addition to the challenging role of reviewing the many applications we receive for our scholarship and fellowship programs, the committee also provides us with guidance on improving and modifying our office's policies and procedures. We are so grateful to them for their contributions. Last but certainly not least, we would like to extend our gratitude to the divisions and colleges that sup-port our office each year. Through the funding from the Provost's office, the Office of the Vice President for Research, The Honors College, the Cullen College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the College of Technology and the College of Pharmacy we are able to directly enrich the academic lives of over 150 undergraduates each year through mentored research programs. Thanks to all of you for celebrating this exciting day with us, and for supporting our undergraduate researchers.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 13, 2011
    (2011-10-13) Weber, Karen
    Welcome to our seventh annual Undergraduate Research Day. This is an exciting event which celebrates the achievements of the 54 students who participated in the 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, as well as the many other undergraduates who completed mentored research projects during the past year. Although all of you are pursuing a wide range of projects in a variety of fields, you actually have a lot in common. You all have worked extremely hard and are completely dedicated to your research projects. You all have encountered obstacles and frustrations along the way, but found ways to overcome them, building a resiliency that will serve you well in the rest of your educational efforts and really for the rest of your life. You also all seem to genuinely relish your work. As demonstrated here today, many of you get really excited when talking about your research and take pride in what you have accomplished. For the students presenting at Undergraduate Research Day today, we applaud your achievements. We recognize that research can be challenging, tedious, and at times frustrating, Conducting research as an undergraduate, however, is invaluable in many ways. It offers you the opportunity to think independently, creatively and critically - encouraging and cultivating flexibility in thought. Research also allows you to make a contribution to your field, and to discover new knowledge. It is perhaps one of the best ways to get to know faculty in your field and to develop lifelong mentorships with them. These experiences also acquaint you with graduate and undergraduate students in your field; colleagues and friends we hope you will stay in contact with for the years to come. We also thank our researchers' faculty mentors. Through the time and energy that you give to these students, you are helping to produce the next genera-tion of leaders. By guiding their work, you are pro-viding an environment in which they can flourish and grow more confident of future successes. We also are thankful for the faculty who served as speakers in our SURF Brown Bag Lecture Series (visit page 35 for details). Through these lecturers' contributions, the SURF program provides students with insights that will help them be successful as both undergraduate researchers and as future graduate students or members of the professional workforce. This series is truly integral to the success of our summer research program. Our selection committee is also instrumental to the success of the Office of Undergraduate Research. In addition to the challenging role of reviewing the many applications we receive for our scholarship and fellowship programs, the committee also provides us with guidance on improving and modifying our office's policies and procedures. We are so grateful to them for their contributions. Last but certainly not least, we would like to extend our gratitude to the units that support our office each year. Through the funding from the Provost's office, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and The Honors College we are able to directly enrich the academic lives of nearly 200 undergraduates each year through mentored research programs. Thanks to all for celebrating this special day with us, and for your support of our undergraduate researchers at the University of Houston.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 2, 2008
    (2008-10-02) Weber, Karen
    We are so pleased to welcome you to our fourth annual Undergraduate Research Day. This is an important and exciting event for the University of Houston for a variety of reasons. Undergraduate Research Day is an opportunity for undergraduates from all colleges and disciplines to display and present their research to the campus community, hence learning and growing from each other. It is a venue for sharing ideas and information with all members of the UH community, including students, faculty, staff and friends of UH. It is also an arena for conveying the University's commitment to promoting undergraduate research activities on campus. Through the support of the Office of Undergraduate Research's programs and the Quality Enhancement Plan, it is evident that UH has made undergraduate research a priority for its students' academic development. Today you are viewing 42 posters from our Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) participants. These students' projects range from researching Houston's civil rights movement, determining the power of presidential policy proclamations, and studying Julius Caesar to examining magnetic resonance imaging for early detection of breast cancer, working with receptors to better understand the neurological pathways underlying schizophrenia, and developing an artificial skin simulant for the testing of a novel type of catheter. Today we also have other undergraduates' posters on display, as well as students that conducted oral presentations that took place earlier in the day. These students, like our SURF students, have conducted substantive research projects within the last year. Since its development in 2004, the Office of Undergraduate Research has supported and assisted over 500 students through the Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship program, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, and the Senior Honors Thesis program. We are thankful to be able to offer these programs to students, and look forward to supporting even more undergraduates throughout the coming years. Funding these research endeavors, however, would not have been possible without the support from many of our advocates on campus. The Provost's office, the Division of Research, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Cullen College of Engineering, the Honors College and the College of Technology have all contributed to our office's programs, hence ensuring that many more undergraduates are able to engage in meaningful mentored research experiences during their collegiate careers. We also want to extend our appreciation to our first-rate selection committee and advisory board. The members of this committee donate their time and expertise throughout the year to select the student recipients of these highly desirable scholarships and fellowships. This truly is a demanding, thankless job, and therefore we are tremendously grateful to these individuals. Thank you again for attending Undergraduate Research Day, and supporting undergraduate research endeavors at the University of Houston. If the Office of Undergraduate Research can be of any assistance to you in securing research opportunities or seeking undergraduates to assist you in your ongoing research, do not hesitate to contact us.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, April 14, 2022
    (2022-04-14) Brown, Julia
    ...and welcome back! This year not only marks the 17th anniversary of Undergraduate Research Day, it also represents the return of the University of Houston's premier research exhibition to the MD Anderson Library Building. We are excited for you to experience the energy and spirit of Undergraduate Research Day in person again or for the very first time. Through Undergraduate Research Day, we aspire to connect undergraduate researchers to other students, faculty, staff, and professionals in industry to showcase their work. We encourage you to speak with individual presenters, ask questions, and provide input about their research. Undergraduate Research Day is a collaborative effort between the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, the Honors College, and the MD Anderson Library that highlights the diverse range of research projects carried out by University of Houston undergraduate students. The 2022 presenters include students from programs such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Action Research in Communities (ARC), Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS), Mellon Research Scholars Program, Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH), and many others who conducted research under the guidance of University of Houston faculty in the past year. We are excited to celebrate the research of UH undergraduates, and they are eager to share their projects with you. [...]
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    Undergraduate Research Day, September 29, 2020
    (2020-09-29) Brown, Julia
    Welcome to the 15th Annual Undergraduate Research Day. This year has been a whirlwind, to say the very least. We planned to hold Undergraduate Research Day in the spring semester and were looking forward to seeing posters placed throughout the Honors College, the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, and M.D. Anderson Library. As COVID-19 cases appeared in the United States, we postponed our spring research event until September 29th, with hopes that we might be able to have some type of on-campus event. However, cases continued to climb in the U.S., and we made the decision to take the event 100% online. In order to bring you the most engaging research event possible, we have partnered with ForagerOne to bring Undergraduate Research Day to you virtually, wherever you may be at this time. In selecting the format for today, our team took into consideration how you might interact with posters beyond simply viewing them online. We encourage you to comment or reach out to individual presenters with any questions about their work. Undergraduate Research Day is an event that showcases the diverse range of impressive research projects completed by University of Houston undergraduate students. Today's presenters include students from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program, the Mellon Research Scholars Program, and many others who conducted research under the guidance of University of Houston faculty during the past year. We are incredibly proud of our undergraduate researchers' accomplishments, and they are eager to share their research projects with you. Over the past year and a half, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards has supported students from across the University of Houston through faculty-mentored research programs. The SURF program had over 100 participants in 2019 and over 140 in 2020. The Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship was awarded to over 85 students between Spring 2019 and Spring 2020. In 2019 and 2020, over 90 exceptional students learned how to conduct effective and ethical research through the Houston Early Research Experience (HERE). The Mellon Research Scholars Program welcomed two more dynamic cohorts of students seeking to contribute to their fields and promote diversity and inclusion in the humanities. Our undergraduate researchers come from a variety of majors and have innovative research ideas that can leave a positive, lasting impact. Our students have worked with faculty mentors from 11 colleges and more than 30 departments on campus; their efforts contribute to the broad range of research projects on display here today. Our faculty mentors are devoted to supporting students in the pursuit of advancing knowledge and excellence in their chosen fields. Students who participate in faculty-mentored research programs such as SURF and PURS have opportunities to develop and sharpen their problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills. They also gain new perspectives by working with graduate students and faculty on research teams and learn how their work contributes to the greater good. These skills were made apparent to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards team when meeting with each undergraduate researcher over the past year. In our second and third years of the Mellon Research Scholars Program, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards worked with 42 vibrant scholars pursuing research in disciplines across the humanities. Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and committed to building a diverse academy, the program includes faculty-led seminars, an intensive preparatory graduate school workshop, and a full-time summer research experience for students. While several 2019 Mellon Scholars traveled in the United States and abroad for fieldwork, to access sources for their research, and to improve their language and translation skills, the 2020 cohort of Mellon Scholars have adapted to the challenges of conducting their research remotely. From processing an archival collection, to presenting their research at national conferences, to applying for nationally-competitive fellowships, the Mellon Research Scholars are on the move. Please visit the Mellon Research Scholars website for more information. Undergraduate research continues to play a major role in preparing UH students to apply for national fellowships and major awards. Last year, UH set a number of institutional records. For the first time since 2014, two undergraduates received the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in STEM. In addition to three Boren Scholars, UH also recorded its first Critical Language recipients for Urdu and Persian, and its second ever Udall Scholar. Most notably, with the supportive leadership of Provost Paula Myrick Short, 12 students were named Fulbright recipients, thus establishing the University of Houston as a Top Producing Fulbright Institution for 2019-2020. The University of Houston joins an elite group of research institutions to receive this honor and is only one of two schools in Texas to claim such a distinction. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards welcomed two new staff members in 2019. Brittni MacLeod joined as the Associate Director and provides guidance and support to students who wish to pursue research opportunities at the University of Houston. She has previously served in advising roles and managed student leadership, campus involvement, and academic support programs. Please contact Mrs. MacLeod to learn more about getting started in research, the SURF, PURS, and ARC programs, and the Senior Honors Thesis program. Dr. Rikki Bettinger joined as the Program Manager and serves as the Associate Director of the Mellon Research Scholars Program. Dr. Bettinger works directly with the Mellon Scholars as they conduct individual research projects in the humanities and apply to competitive graduate programs and national fellowships. For more information about the Mellon Research Scholars Program and Houston Early Research Experience, please contact Dr. Bettinger. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards would like to thank the Office of the Provost, the Division of Research, the Honors College, the Cullen College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and the many other colleges and departments on campus for their support of undergraduate research programming at the University of Houston. The programs featured here today would not be possible without the support of our campus partners. (Please see page 4 for listing of supporters.) Thank you for joining this year's virtual celebration of the University of Houston's undergraduate research community. As you engage with the 281 presenters online, we hope you learn something new and make lasting connections rooted in scholarship. A strong, resilient research community is more important than ever before, and that is the type of community we believe you will witness today through our students' work.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, April 1, 2021
    (2021-04-01) Brown, Julia
    This year marks the 16th anniversary of Undergraduate Research Day at the University of Houston. Like so many others in the face of the pandemic, we have shifted all of our operations online to continue supporting the efforts of undergraduate researchers and their faculty mentors. We are grateful to have access once again to the ForagerOne Symposium platform to bring you the most engaging event possible, wherever you may be at this time. Through the 2021 Undergraduate Research Day, we aspire to connect undergraduate researchers to other students, faculty, staff, and professionals in industry to showcase their work. We encourage you to comment or reach out to individual presenters with any questions about their work. Undergraduate Research Day is a collaborative effort between the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards and the Honors College that highlights the diverse range of research projects carried out by University of Houston undergraduate students. The 2021 presenters include students from the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Mellon Research Scholars Program, and many others who conducted research under the guidance of University of Houston faculty in the past year. We are proud of our students and their accomplishments and they are eager to share their projects with you. To say that the past year has been challenging would be a vast understatement. Our campus community has always shown resilience in the face of adversity, and this has continued to be evident in the undergraduate research community as well. Students have pressed onward with projects, faculty have created remote research opportunities, and our office has incorporated remote contingency planning into application processes to smooth the transition for students who need to shift their work methods. Despite the obstacles presented in the past year, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards has supported students from various departments at the University of Houston through faculty-mentored research programs. The 2020 SURF Program had over 140 participants and 48 students were introduced to research in the Houston Early Research Experience. Over 90 students have been awarded the Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship between January 2020 and January 2021, with most projects occurring remotely. The Mellon Research Scholars Program, now in its fourth year, received a new $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue its work preparing students to contribute to their respective fields in the Humanities. Our presenters have collaborated with faculty mentors from a dozen colleges and over 30 departments on campus. Faculty at the University of Houston are dedicated to mentoring students in the pursuit of advancing knowledge in their fields and are always looking for ways to advocate for students' success. Students involved with faculty-mentored research in programs such as Mellon Research Scholars, SURF, or PURS have unique opportunities to develop skills through problem solving, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, University of Houston students continue to demonstrate a high level of achievement with their applications for national fellowships and major awards. For the third year in a row, a record number of candidates applied for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program (46) and UH earned its highest number of semi-finalists (25). UH achieved a similar mark for the Critical Language Scholarship. Nine students were named CLS recipients, which is the most in UH history. Thirteen UH students were also admitted to the DAAD RISE and DAAD RISE PRO programs in order to conduct research in Germany. UH fellowship candidates are increasingly competitive for some of the most prestigious awards as well. After earning its first Truman Scholar in 36 years last April, UH matched this success with its first ever Gates Cambridge Scholar. University of Houston students have also been named finalists for the Marshall Scholarship and Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards welcomed two new student staff members in 2020. Nimra Zubair joined as the Graduate Advisor and provides guidance and support to students who wish to apply for competitive fellowships and major awards. She has applied to awards such as the Boren Awards, Fulbright Program, and was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship to study Punjabi. Nimra works closely with students to match them with various opportunities and assists the Office with social media outreach. Nimra holds a Bachelor of Political Science and a Certificate of Entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Public Administration. Students interested in applying to major awards or connecting with research opportunities should contact Nimra for more information. Paulina Ezquerra joined as a student worker in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards and supports Dr. Rikki Bettinger with the Mellon Research Scholars Program, the Houston Early Research Experience, and additional special projects for the Office. A member of the Honors College, Paulina is double-majoring in Philosophy and Political Science. A Mellon Research Scholar, FrameWorks Fellow, and former HERE participant, Ezquerra knows firsthand the difference co-curricular programs can make for young researchers. She plans to continue researching the cultivation of moral and intellectual virtues by pursuing a PhD in philosophy. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards would like to thank the Office of the Provost, the Division of Research, the Honors College, the Cullen College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Cougar Initiative to Engage, and the many other colleges and departments on campus for their support of undergraduate research programs at the University of Houston. The programs featured here today would not be possible without the support of our campus partners (please see page 4 for listing of supporters). Thank you for joining us for this year's virtual celebration of undergraduate research at the University of Houston. As you engage with the presenters online, we hope you find opportunities to connect across disciplines and ask questions about how we can address some of today's most pressing questions together. Now, more than ever, we acknowledge and appreciate the need for a cohesive global research community. We believe that is the type of community you will see modeled by our presenters today.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 18, 2018
    (2018-10-18) Brown, Julia
    This year marks the 14th anniversary of Undergraduate Research Day, an event that showcases the diverse range of research projects completed by University of Houston undergraduate students throughout the last year. Presenters include students from the 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, as well as students who conducted research under the guidance of a University of Houston faculty mentor during the fall 2017, spring 2018, and summer 2018 terms. Our undergraduate researchers are eager to share their research projects and experiences with you, so be prepared for an afternoon of engaging presentations and discussions. This summer, staff and faculty from the Office of Undergraduate Research met with each of the over 100 students participating in the 2018 SURF program. These students worked with faculty mentors from 11 colleges and 33 departments on campus, whose efforts contribute to the broad range of research projects on display here today. Students who participate in faculty-mentored research programs such as SURF have an opportunity to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and oral and written communication skills. They also hone their ability to think independently and work effectively within a team. These skills were made apparent to the Office of Undergraduate Research team members when conversing with the students. The SURF 2018 program was comprised of several different student cohorts. This includes 81 SURF students, 18 Mellon Research Scholars, five Pharis Fellows, and five University of Houston/MD Anderson Cancer Center (UHAND) Scholars. The Pharis Fellows and UHAND Scholars are among the exciting additions to the undergraduate research programming at the University of Houston. For example, the 2018 Pharis Fellows used computational models to analyze community health outcomes under the mentorship of Drs. Dan Price and Peggy Lindner. These dynamic and interactive digital presentations are featured today in the Estess Library of the Honors College. The 2018 UHAND Scholars, led by Dr. Lorraine Reitzel from the University of Houston and Dr. Lorna McNeill from MD Anderson Cancer Center, conducted cancer disparities research, learned about social determinants of health, and participated in service learning activities under a new collaboration between the two institutions. The Office of Undergraduate Research team looks forward to working with and learning from these scholars again next summer. The inaugural class of 18 Mellon Research Scholars are also presenting their summer research accomplishments at today's event. Supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mellon Research Scholars program provides faculty-mentored research opportunities and academic development programming to undergraduate students interested in pursuing a research career in the humanities. The first cohort of Mellon Research Scholars participated in a faculty research seminar series in spring 2018, completed a two-week graduate school preparatory program, and spent the summer conducting faculty-mentored research. All Mellon Research Scholars research posters will have a star attached to their poster to indicate participation in this program. To assist in the coordination of the Mellon Research Scholars program, the Office of Undergraduate Research recently welcomed a new staff member, Daniel Mendiola, as the Mellon Research Scholars program coordinator. Dr. Mendiola is an alumnus of the University of Houston and the Honors College, and he recently completed his dissertation in history examining Spanish-indigenous relations in Central America and the Caribbean. Additionally, Dr. Mendiola was awarded a 2017- 2018 Fulbright U.S. Student Program Study/Research grant to Costa Rica. In fall 2017, the University of Houston announced the topic for the institution's current Quality Enhancement Plan, officially titled the Cougar Initiative to Engage (CITE). This is a campus wide initiative to bolster co-curricular activities in a real-world setting. To support CITE, the Office of Undergraduate Research has worked to develop an assessment model for future experiential learning programs on campus. The 2018 Houston Early Research Experience (HERE) and SURF participants were part of the CITE pilot program, as are the Fall 2018 Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship recipients. The Office of Undergraduate Research would like to thank the Office of the Provost, the Division of Research, the Honors College, the Cullen College of Engineering, and the many other colleges and departments on campus that support undergraduate research programming at the University of Houston. The programs featured here today would not be possible without the support of our campus partners. Thank you for attending this year's celebration of undergraduate research at the University of Houston. As you engage with the over 300 presenters here today, we hope you learn something new and make a friend along the way.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 12, 2017
    (2017-10-12) Brown, Julia
    Our stellar undergraduate presenters are eager and ready to share their research experiences with you at this event. The presenters here today comprise our 81 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) participants as well as over 170 undergraduates who have conducted substantive research projects within the past year. Undergraduate Research Day grows in size and scope each year - and this year is no exception! The event today is 10 times the size than when it first began over a decade ago. We are very proud of our undergraduate researchers, and appreciate our guests attending the event. During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Office of Undergraduate Research sponsored nearly 250 students from across the University in faculty mentored research programs, and provided support to hundreds more through informational sessions and online resources. The programs offered through the Office of Undergraduate Research would not be possible without the support of the Office of the Provost, Division of Research, and the Honors College. Their support has been integral in allowing the Office to continue to develop new programs and enhance existing offerings to students across the University. In addition, we are grateful to the Cullen College of Engineering for supporting over 40 engineering students this year through the Engineering Undergraduate Research Scholarship program. We also thank the numerous colleges, departments, centers, programs, and donors who have provided financial support. This additional funding enables many more undergraduates to conduct research and form strong mentor relationships with faculty (see page 12 for listing of supporters). Two new team members have joined the Office of Undergraduate Research this year. Director of National Fellowships and Major Awards Ben Rayder has recently arrived on campus from Philadelphia. Dr. Rayder is available to provide guidance to students applying for external scholarship and research opportunities. If you are participating in undergraduate research, consider reviewing the various competitive opportunities on the Office of Undergraduate's website, and contact Dr. Rayder should you wish to learn more information. Program Manager of Co-Curricular Programs Adrian Castillo is also a new member of the Office. He has served at the University for a number of years in support of co-curricular programs offered through the Honors College, and earlier within Student Affairs. For those planning to apply for a research program, you will have the pleasure of working with Adrian. The Office strives to offer innovative, high-impact, co-curricular programs to students. In light of this, the University of Houston received a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish an undergraduate research program in the humanities. This three-year program, beginning in spring 2018, includes faculty-led seminars and a monthly discussion series, an intensive preparatory graduate school workshop, and a full-time summer mentored research experience leading into a thesis or capstone course to be completed during the senior year. Please visit the Mellon Research Scholars website for more information. For the last two years, over 50 freshman and sophomore students have reaped the benefits of participating in the Houston Early Research Experience - one of our newest and most exciting programs. In order to familiarize students with the fundamentals of conducting research, this two-week, intensive seminar pairs early undergraduates with faculty seminar leaders. The 2018 deadline is Friday, March 23, 2018. We hope you enjoy learning about the wide range of research projects our undergraduates have conducted over the past year. Thank you for attending this year's celebration day for undergraduate research, and we look forward to seeing you at future events offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Honors College.
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    Undergraduate Research Day, October 13, 2016
    (2016-10-13) Brown, Julia
    We are delighted you are here to participate in the largest Undergraduate Research Day event to date. We have more than 200 undergraduates presenting, and their work reflects the depth, breadth, and diversity of research being conducted by the University's talented faculty and students. We encourage you to engage, ask questions, and to share in the accomplishments and new insights this past year of research has generated for these remarkable students. During the 2015-2016 academic year, the Office of Undergraduate Research sponsored over 200 students from across the University in faculty mentored research programs, and provided support to hundreds more through informational sessions and online resources. These mentored research programs include: the full-time Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF); the part-time fall and spring semester Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS); the 2-week summer intensive Houston Early Research Experience (HERE); and the Senior Honors Thesis program. We also supported approximately 60 students this year in applying for nationally competitive scholarships and internship opportunities, and had 12 recipients and 3 honorable mentions - a record number of UH students participating in, and winning, national competitions. All of the scholarships and services offered to students would not be possible without the University's strong commitment to providing undergraduates with hands-on learning experiences integral to lifelong success. In particular, the support of the Office of the Provost, Division of Research, and the Honors College has been fundamental in building a strong foundation for undergraduate research activities at the University. In addition, other funders and units across campus continue to contribute to the Office's programs every year. This year, we would like to extend a special thank you to Jeff Beauchamp for supporting the PURS program. We also thank the Biology and Behavior Institute (BoBI) and the Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) for their financial contributions of student scholarships. In addition to their generous support of our students' success, other UH departments and colleges contributed financially to the Office's programs this year. These units include Biology & Biochemistry; Biomedical Engineering; Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Civil & Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical & Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Physics; and Psychology. As always, we are grateful to our faculty selection and advisory committee for their continued assistance in choosing the student and faculty recipients of our awards each year. As a result of the increased interest among undergraduate students in pursuing research, the Office of Undergraduate Research launched the new HERE program with an inaugural cohort of 25 students. The research topic for this two-week faculty-led seminar series was an exploration of Houston. In addition to faculty-led discussions and close readings of literature, each day faculty and community partners made presentations on a topic relating to our city. The students concluded the program by presenting group research proposals for exploring and addressing challenges facing the city. The projects ranged from flood crisis management in the refineries and chemical storage plants around the Ship Channel to containing the spread of the Zika virus. Our motivated undergraduate students are eager and ready to share and discuss their research findings with you as you explore Undergraduate Research Day at the University of Houston.