undergraduate student research

Celebrate student achievement during SMU Research Day 2017, Tuesday, March 28

 

SMU graduate students, and select undergraduates, from a wide variety of disciplines share their work today as part of the University’s 2017 Research Day. All SMU faculty, staff members and students are invited to the Promenade Ballroom in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom on Tuesday, March 28, to meet the student researchers and discuss their results.

The event takes place from 2-5 p.m, and awards will be presented at the end.

See highlights from last year’s event by clicking the YouTube screen, or click here to watch a video from SMU Research Day 2016 in a new windowvideo

> Find a full list of 2017 SMU Research Day presentations (PDF format)

SMU Engaged Learning Week showcases student achievement Feb. 6-10, 2017

Engaged Learning Week 2017SMU’s 2017 Engaged Learning Week showcases student achievement in undergraduate research, community service, professional internships and creative projects Feb. 6-10.

The week begins with the annual Spring Symposium Monday-Tuesday, Feb. 6-7:

Monday, Feb 6

  • 9:30 a.m. Research
  • 3:15 p.m. Environmental Engineering

Tuesday, Feb 7

  • 9 a.m. Creative
  • Noon Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

> Find a full schedule of student presentation at the Engaged Learning homepage

The week wraps up Friday, Feb. 10 with a special presentation by Dr. Gayle Slaughter, senior associate dean for
graduate education and diversity at Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor University. Dr. Slaughter will speak on how Engaged Learning activities in college can lead to career success in “From Dirt Roads to the Oval Office.”

Visit the SMU Engaged Learning website: smu.edu/engagedlearning

Student achievement in the spotlight during SMU Engaged Learning Week, Feb. 8-12, 2016

SMU Engaged Learning Symposium program - photo by Clayton T. SmithSMU’s Engaged Learning Week expands its schedule for 2016 and features a growing undergraduate presence at the University’s annual Research Day as well as presentations from McNair Scholars and Summer Research Fellows.

This year’s event takes place Feb. 8-12 and will help students learn more about expanding their education outside the classroom, from undergraduate research and community service to professional internships and creative projects.

The week begins Monday, Feb. 8 with presentations by graduating Engaged Learning Fellows in Community Service and Internships at 12:30 p.m., followed by a Creative Projects panel at 3 p.m., both in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, Engaged Learning, Big iDeas and Clinton Global Initiative University students host an open house and luncheon 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Scholars’ Den, G11 Clements Hall. The event is open to the entire University community, and current EL Fellows and Big iDeas teams will discuss their projects and programs with visitors.

SMU Engaged Learning logo

On Research Day, Wednesday, Feb. 10 in the Hughes-Trigg Ballrooms, undergraduate researchers from the McNair Scholars and Summer Research Fellows will show their work at 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Engaged Learning Fellows in Undergraduate Research will present at 11:45 a.m.

Thursday, Feb. 11 will see presentations from the Lyle School of Engineering’s Senior Design Teams from 1:30-4 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Forum.

The week wraps up Friday, Feb. 12 with Undergraduate Research panels at 9 a.m. and from noon-2:30 p.m., with a buffet lunch at 11:30 a.m., followed by presentations from Big iDeas teams at 12:45 p.m.

Find a full schedule at the SMU Engaged Learning Week homepage

Tune In: SMU students impress with the best in 2015 Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

Two SMU teams were among the five student firms selected to present their concepts in McCord Auditorium Monday, Nov. 16. The students competed for the 2015 regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, sponsored by the international Entrepreneurs’ Organization. The GSEA is a global competition for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business.

Both SMU teams are past winners of the University’s Big iDeas Pitch Contest. Eddie Allegra, Miguel QuimbarJack Reynolds and BioLum Sciences won in 2014 with their smartphone-based asthma detection system. The Fiddler rooftop wind turbine designed by Jonah KirbyCameron Buller, Alec Siems, Brendan Celii and Luke Oglesbee came up victorious in the 2015 competition.

The BioLum team, winners of Monday night’s GSEA contest, have already aced a string of competitions that include the RECESS Festival 2015 Pitch Competition in Los Angeles and SMU’s 2015 Big iDeas Business Plan Competition. They now proceed to the U.S. national competition in Miami; a victory there will mean a trip to Bangkok, Thailand for the GSEA Global Finals.

But Allegra, who has a personal history of living with asthma, hasn’t let the accolades obscure a higher purpose: “I want someone to come up to me and tell me how much better their life is because of what I’ve done,” he tells Myles Taylor of SMU News in this video.

Click the YouTube screen, or visit this link to watch the Global Student Entrepreneur Award video in a new windowvideo

> Read more about SMU’s Global Student Entrepreneur Award regional winners

Star students show their work on SMU Research Day, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

Stock photo of lab workersSMU graduate students, and select undergraduates, from a wide variety of disciplines will share their work as part of the University’s 2015 Research Day. All SMU faculty, staff members and students are invited to visit the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms from 2-5 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 25, to meet the student researchers and discuss their results.

Awards will be presented at the event’s end, and refreshments will be served throughout.

> See a list of participating student researchers and their projects from SMU News
Visit SMU Graduate Studies online

Student work takes center stage at 2014 Research Day Feb. 26

Research Day at SMUSMU graduate students, and select undergraduates, from a wide variety of disciplines will share their work as part of the University’s 2014 Research Day. All SMU faculty, staff members and students are invited to visit the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms from 2-4:30 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 26, to meet the student researchers and discuss their results.

Awards will be presented from 4:30-5 p.m., and refreshments will be served throughout the event.

> See a list of participating student researchers and their projects from SMU News
Visit SMU Graduate Studies online

Students show their work for 2013 SMU Research Day Feb. 27

Researchers in the labSMU graduate students, as well as select undergraduates, from a wide variety of disciplines will share their work today as part of the University’s 2013 Research Day. All SMU faculty, staff members and students are invited to visit the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms from 2-4:30 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 27, to meet the student researchers and discuss their results. Refreshments will be served.

Find a list of this year’s participants at SMU News
Visit SMU Graduate Studies online

Bob Kehoe named SMU Director of Undergraduate Research

Robert KehoeAssociate Professor Robert Kehoe, coordinator of SMU’s Undergraduate Research Assistantships program and director of undergraduate research in the Department of Physics, has been named the University’s new Director of Undergraduate Research. He reports to James Quick, Associate Vice President for Research.

Kehoe sums up undergraduate research as “one of the single most promising recent developments to enhance student learning and prepare them for their ultimate career or vocation.

“It propels students out of the classroom to confront new questions and opportunities armed with the knowledge they have newly gained,” he says. “It does this while students are still supported by the SMU community. Undergraduate research provides a valuable intermediate space between classroom curriculum and professional possibilities.”

An SMU professor since 2004, Kehoe received his B.A. degree in physics from Earlham College and his Ph.D. degree in high-energy physics from the University of Notre Dame. He completed postdoctoral study in astrophysics and high-energy physics at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, respectively.

Kehoe is a member of the SMU team on the ATLAS Experiment, the largest detector in the Large Hadron Collider array at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. His longstanding research into subatomic particle mass played a role in the search for the long-sought Higgs boson. He also contributed directly to the analysis published in summer 2012 that observed a new particle consistent with the Higgs.

His Higgs research focused on controlling and quantifying the large amount of background created in the production of two very massive charged particles used to help detect the previously unknown Higgs boson, as well as on understanding the large theoretical uncertainties involved in the production of those particles.

As a collaborator in Fermilab’s DZero experiment, Kehoe led analysis of data from particle collisions resulting in two leptons, which helped improve measurements of the mass of another heavy subatomic particle called the top quark. Physicists theorize that this particle — because of its sizable mass — is sensitive to the Higgs and therefore may point to it, and that knowing the mass of the top quark narrowed the range of where the Higgs can be expected.

“Professor Kehoe knows good research and good research opportunities when he sees them,” Quick remarked during the announcement of Kehoe’s new duties at the University’s 2012 Engaged Learning Expo on Aug. 27. Kehoe will continue to teach and do research in the Department of Physics.

Kehoe says his new position gives him “a well-defined role and a well-defined way to communicate with people. Now we can have a discussion about undergraduate research that will involve all of SMU.” His primary goal will be to expand and help enrich research opportunities and experiences for SMU undergraduates, he says.

Cooperation among programs and consistent communications to students and parents “are hard to do by individual project coordinators in a way that benefits everyone,” Kehoe adds. An office dedicated to building those connections “opens a whole new avenue for collaboration.”

In addition, Kehoe will help to implement assessment for program effectiveness, as well as integration with the research component of SMU’s Engaged Learning initiative.

Kehoe has already started informal discussions with faculty and will consult with the coordinators of undergraduate research programs across campus. His main focus will be to help existing programs and help develop new ones, he says.

“We’ll take a look at the programs we already have so we can discuss what’s missing,” as well as learning about faculty ideas for new programs, he says. He intends to establish a group to create a strategic plan for undergraduate research “with the input of a broad cross-section of SMU,” including faculty, students and program coordinators.

“My job is not to tell program coordinators what to do,” he says. “My job is to help them produce and coordinate common resources and practices, as well as to disseminate information that will enhance recruitment and retention.”

To this end, Kehoe will direct an expansion of SMU’s online undergraduate research presence, including a new website and the production of an online undergraduate research journal. He will also help create marketing campaigns and other communications for current and prospective students and faculty members.

Study: 64% of students willing to donate genetic material for science

Stock photo of DNA mapping and genetic research in a laboratoryA majority of college students is receptive to donating blood or other genetic material for scientific research, according to a new SMU study.

In what appears to be the first study to gauge college students’ willingness to donate to a genetic biobank, the researchers surveyed 250 male and female undergraduate and graduate students.

Among those surveyed, 64 percent said they were willing to donate to a biobank, said study author Olivia Adolphson, an undergraduate psychology researcher in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Students filled out a two-page survey with 18 questions designed to assess their willingness to participate in a biobank, an archive of blood and tissue samples donated by individuals for the purpose of genetic research.

“Overall I found that my sample was very willing to participate in a biobank,” said Adolphson. “The reasons cited were altruism — people want to help others — as well as to advance scientific research and to help find cures. The barriers were concerns about privacy, lack of time, lack of interest and lack of knowledge.”

Adolphson has been invited to present two posters on her study, “College Students’ Perceptions of Genetic Biobanking,” in April at the 33rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in New Orleans.

“This appears to be the first study to gauge college students’ willingness to donate to a genetic biobank,” said the study’s principal investigator, Georita Frierson, assistant professor and health behaviors expert in the Department of Psychology.

Of the students surveyed, 73 percent self-identified as white, while 27 percent self-identified as an ethnic minority. Before being given a description of a genetic biobank, 36 percent said they’d heard of the term. After being informed, 64 percent said they were willing to participate.

“Overall I found that the students who were more educated, the seniors, were more familiar with the concept of a biobank, and they were also more comfortable with it,” Adolphson said. “So we think education plays a role in acceptance.”

The research indicates that the medical community should do more to inform people about biobanks, Adolphson said.

“The biobank community needs to educate people. And they need to use simple language that isn’t intimidating, because lack of knowledge is a big barrier,” she said. “From this research we saw that younger people are going to be willing to participate, because they are open-minded about the concept of research.”

Adolphson’s research followed a larger study by Frierson, which surveyed 135 adult Dallas-area residents who also attended one of Frierson’s 28 focus groups on the subject of biobanks. That study found that 81 percent of the participants had never heard of biobanking. Before the educational focus groups, 64 percent said they would participate in a biobank. After focus groups, that number jumped to 90 percent, Frierson said.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

Tune In: Sharing new knowledge at SMU Research Day 2012

SMU graduate students — and a limited number of undergraduates — presented results of research they have been working on at SMU at the 2012 Graduate Student Research Day. Sponsored by SMU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the event gives participants opportunities to network with students in different programs, to present their work in formats they will use as professionals, and to share the outstanding research being done at the University.

Revisit a few of the nearly 90 presentations in this video by Eva Parks of SMU News. Click the YouTube screen to view, or click this link to watch SMU’s 2012 Research Day video in a new window.

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