SURE program concludes with student presentations
From researching new chemical methods of detecting explosives, to the mathematical modeling on synapses related to epileptic seizures, Elon University students taking part in a summer research program shared their work July 22 in a series of morning presentations that showcased a variety of academic disciplines from across campus.
Fifty students – an all-time high – took part in the 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience. For more than two hours, they took turns using the podium and overhead projectors in classrooms on the second floor of Alamance building. Scholars this year represented the sciences, the arts, the humanities, the School of Education and the School of Communication.
“I wholeheartedly believe that engaging in active discovery and creative endeavors in your chosen discipline is one of the highest-impact learning practices we can do,” said professor Paul Miller, who directs Elon’s Undergraduate Research program. “This kind of activity positions them for acceptance into top graduate programs, and it teaches them skills that are important should they choose to go to work rather than graduate school.”
Founded in 1998, the SURE program provides students and mentors with a $3,000 stipend for their work. The competitive program requires applicants to submit a research proposal in the spring, along with a letter of recommendation from their research mentor and a transcript. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required.
While the program is open to all students, it draws mainly juniors and seniors, most of whom are planning to further their studies in graduate school after completing their Elon degrees.
“It’s been a really good opportunity,” said New York native Mary Kate Hinshaw, a rising senior English major with concentrations in literature and professional writing and rhetoric who is researching how students value their writing when sending text messages. “I was going to do the project anyway for my Honors thesis, so this let me try some things.
“SURE is an amazing program that gave us the opportunity to conduct research on something we were really interested in.”