PULLMAN, Wash. – At the request of students and faculty both, the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences is expanding its undergraduate research grant program for the 2009-10 academic year. Forty different undergraduate research projects will be awarded $1,000 grants.
“Hands-on learning is a hallmark of our college,” said Professor Kim Kidwell, associate dean for academic programs in CAHNRS. “Conducting real research under the mentorship of a CAHNRS faculty member enriches the educational experience for each undergraduate involved. Past projects have covered a wide variety of topic areas and have highlighted the talent of both students and faculty in the college.”
CAHNRS revamped its undergraduate research project program two years ago with approximately 15 awards. Last year, 33 projects were funded. This year, 40 will receive grants.
The projects funded to date reflect the broad diversity of the college. Last year, students completed projects on everything from designing stay-put swimwear and developing “hot” ice cream with spicy truffles to exploring the connection between a young child’s saliva and stress in the family and determining whether mosquitoes pave the way for viruses.
In a post-project survey, the vast majority of students said the experience was a positive one.
“I learned a lot from this experience,” one undergraduate researcher wrote. “First off, conducting research was entirely new to me. I learned how to write an academic paper in my field, how to network, how to talk with a variety of people about my research, answering their questions, and presenting myself in a professional manner. And I gained confidence in my abilities overall.”
In addition to expanding the program, Kidwell said she is exploring judging this year’s projects for competition. Prizes would be awarded for the top three projects.
More information about the undergraduate research project program and how to apply is available at http://academic.cahnrs.wsu.edu/.