Irvine, Calif., May 14, 1997
If one minute you're learning about mail-order brides from a feminist's point of view, and the next about electron beam diffusion, chances are you're attending the Campuswide Undergraduate Research Symposium at UC Irvine.
On Saturday, May 17, nearly 200 students will present findings of their widely diverse, university-funded research projects during the fourth annual symposium at the UCI Student Center. The daylong event is being sponsored by the UCI Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), a program in the Division of Undergraduate Education.
UROP invites students from all academic disciplines to apply for research grants in their areas of interest.
And apply they do. Hence, the symposium offers a smorgasbord of presentations, from the biological sciences and engineering to political science and drama. A sampling of Saturday's research topics:
"Men's Experiences of Being Feared," by social ecology student Katherine Marie Fookes
"Physical Properties of Insect Cuticular Lipids," by biological sciences student Sejal Patel
"Parental Attachment as a Mediator in the Process of Mate Selection," by psychology student Diamond Vu
"Permeable Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell," a group project led by mechanical engineering student Alberto Boleda
"Acculturation, Latinas, and HIV Risk," by psychology and social behavior student Lorena Michelle Teran
"Much Ado About Design," by drama student Lisa Hunt
And one that's sure to grab the attention of any faculty present: "Personality Correlates of the Academic Elite: A Study of Irvine Professors," by psychology and social behavior student Felicia Bleecker.
Launched in 1995, UROP is designed to help students enhance their education by experiencing the life of a researcher by working closely with faculty, according to UROP Director Said Shokair. "UCI is a leading research university, so it makes a lot of sense for students to get involved in research," he said. "It's an ideal opportunity for students to test their interests and mature as thinkers. For faculty mentors, it's a chance to build more meaningful exchanges with students and to recruit new talent in their fields."
UROP issues a campuswide call for proposals each fall and spring, and publishes guidelines to help students prepare proposals, an introductory version of the kind of research applications they would prepare as a faculty member, Shokair said.
Proposals are reviewed by the UROP Faculty Advisory Board. Grants are awarded based on the proposals' intellectual merit, creativity, thoroughness of the application packet, the level of faculty support, and available funds. Most of the grants are modest: Those awarded last fall ranged from $100 to $750 for individual students, and from $1,500 to $2,000 for group projects.
At Saturday's symposium, student presentations will be spread throughout 10 rooms; each student will have about 15 minutes for an oral or poster presentation of their findings. The keynote speaker at this year's event will be Nicolaos Alexopoulos, dean of the UCI School of Engineering. And for the first time, one outstanding student and faculty member from each academic school will receive a Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.
Shokair said a major objective of UROP is placing students in off-campus research settings that match their interests. Last year, for example, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory accepted a total of 15 students under the Associated Western Universities Program; five were from UCI. This year, UROP helped place four students in NASA's Undergraduate Student Award for Research Program, which offers a $12,000-per-student grant.
Saturday's symposium begins at 8 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. To R.S.V.P. and for more information about UROP and the symposium, call (714) 824-4189, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.