PURM 1.2 (Spring 2012)

Letter from the Editors


Mathew Gendle, Elon University, U.S.
Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Elon University, U.S.

Undergraduate Research Program Spotlight: Grinnell University


In PURM‘s first Program Spotlight, created to focus on the undergraduate research program at specific institutions, we are pleased to highlight the undergraduate research program at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and feature responses to a set of questions posed by the PURM editorial staff to several members of the Grinnell UR community.

Amanda Borson, Grinnell College, U.S.
Kyle Espinosa, Grinnell College, U.S.
Kate Ingersoll, Grinnell College, U.S.
Heather Lobban-Viravong, Grinnell College, U.S.
Sarah Purcell ’92, Grinnell College, U.S.
Samuel Rebelsky, Grinnell College, U.S.
Lee Running, Grinnell College, U.S.
Mark Schneider, Grinnell College, U.S.

The Rewards and Challenges of Undergraduate Peer Mentoring in Course-Based Research: Student Perspectives from a Liberal Arts Institution


Abstract: This article details the merits of utilizing undergraduate peer mentors as integral support for course-based research and provides insight to both faculty who want to teach course-based research and undergraduates who want to take on the role of peer mentor. The year-long phage genomics course involves original research that exposes a large number of freshmen to the process and benefits of undergraduate research. Two of the manuscript authors are undergraduate peer mentors, who share their unique perspectives on peer mentoring the phage genomics course. A third undergraduate author who completed the phage genomics course in spring 2011 provides insight into what students experience when working with peer mentors.

David Dunbar, Cabrini College, U.S.
Catherine Mageeney, Cabrini College, U.S.
Christopher Catagnus, Cabrini College, U.S.
Amy Cimo, Cabrini College, U.S.
Catherine Beckowski, Cabrini College, U.S.
Lisa Ratmansky, Cabrini College, U.S.
Melinda Harrison, Cabrini College, U.S.

The Evolution of a Technical Communication Senior Thesis Project


Abstract: With its longstanding senior thesis requirement, the Technical Communication Bachelor’s of Science program at New Mexico Tech strongly emphasizes undergraduate research. We share information about our program and the triumphs and challenges of the thesis requirement. Reflections from a recent thesis student and the course professor help to demonstrate the opportunities this requirement offers for close faculty/student interaction and mentoring.

Julie Dyke Ford, New Mexico Tech, U.S.
Jessica Behles, Graduate, New Mexico Tech Technical Communication Program, U.S.

In Their Own Words: Student Reflections on Undergraduate Research


Abstract: The mentoring professor of an undergraduate research class and five college students discuss the transformative power of undergraduate research in students, in terms of its changes on their personal and professional identities throughout the process. Three of the five student authors are first-generation students, and one is of Hmong ethnicity. All the contributors’ experiences comment on the empowering effects of conducting undergraduate research both for the general university student population and for underserved student populations such as first-generation and ethnic minority students.

Susan M. Wolfgram, University of Wisconsin-Stout, U.S.
Adam Kaiser, University of Wisconsin-Stout, U.S.
Mai Cha Lee, University of Wisconsin-Stout, U.S.
Debra Ramacher, University of Wisconsin-Stout, U.S.
Kelsey Siverling, University of Wisconsin-Stout, U.S.
Megan Thornwall , University of Wisconsin-Stout, U.S.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates: Student Presenters’ Perceptions of Mentoring and Conference Presentation by Generational Status and Sex


Abstract: This paper presents the results of an online survey of undergraduates (N = 59) who presented at a regional or national conference, focusing on differences by college generational status and sex. Students found their mentoring and presentational experiences beneficial. Some differences are observed when comparing college generational status and sex.

Jeanne Mekolichick, Radford University, U.S.
Jessica Bellamy, Center for Social and Cultural Research, Radford University, U.S.

Book Review


Lopatto, David. (2010). Science in Solution: The Impact of Undergraduate Research on Student Learning.Tucson, AZ: The Research Corporation for Science Advancement. ISBN 0-941933-34-2, $17.00, pp. 116. (Download the book)

Reviewed by Krishna Bista, Arkansas State University, U.S.