After last year’s Celebration of Undergraduate Research, we published the following blog post on the OUR Blog about integrating CUR into courses. This is a great way to make use of Carolina’s talented undergraduate researchers and we hope some of you might be inspired by Dr. Gulledge’s practice. Please join us at this year’s Celebration on Monday, April 14, 2014 from 1:00-3:15 in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see the range and depth of research conducted by UNC-CH undergraduates, and the students appreciate your attendance and your interest in their work. The Celebration will be followed by an award ceremony at 3:30 in FPG Student Union Room 3206.
The 2014 Celebration program will be up on the website shortly.
The Celebration of Undergraduate Research 2013 was both an inspiration and a resource for me as a faculty member. I attended the event after seeing the list of participants in the Daily Tar Heel, even though none of my current students were presenting. Even though I had no involvement in any of the work represented, I felt proud and energized when I left. The event reminded me that ours is a university that nurtures and celebrates research effort and achievement by our undergraduates. It was indeed a celebratory event and so much fun to attend! I learned a great deal just by talking to students at random as I passed through the aisles of posters.
I also found inspiration to pursue another brainstorm that came to me as I attended the event. I went shopping for examples of projects and ideas to enrich the curriculum of my First Year Seminar. And, I hit the jackpot at the Celebration. I found students from a variety of departments and disciplines whose work had relevance to the topics of my course. I was able to invite those students to bring their posters to my classes the next week and talk about their research. It was a great way for first year students to hear first-hand accounts from more advanced students about their research and motivation. In addition to gaining additional information about topics that are relevant to our course, my students heard other Carolina students talk about the value of in-depth and self directed study, the importance of good research, and the joy of pursuing a topic about which one has a passion. The experience and the products that were the result of undergraduate research projects were compelling evidence of the value of Undergraduate Research, not only to the students who do it but to our entire university community! Thanks, Office for Undergraduate Research, for your serendipitous contribution to my teaching and to scholarship at Carolina in ways you may not have realized!