In With the New – OUR Welcomes New Ambassadors

UNC - Chapel Hill with Graham Memorial in the background

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
with Graham Memorial in the background

written by Daijha J. Copeland

As nine ambassadors turned their tassels to officially become Carolina alumni in May, we welcome a new group of highly-qualified and enthusiastic undergraduate researchers. With experiences ranging in disciplines from Art History to Biology to Political Science, our new ambassadors offer a diversity of experiences to share with the Carolina community. These ambassadors have worked on timely projects such as: how specific RNA molecules distribute controls the division of zygotes, the role of suicide in the plays of William Shakespeare, further development in C. elegans, and the development of a thermoelectric vaccine cooler. Check out the ambassadors’ page to get to know all of our ambassadors and the other enriching projects that they have been a part of.

The ambassadors program was created for undergraduate researchers to be used as a resource to advocate for undergraduate research to university leaders and to serve as peer mentors. Ambassadors frequently host meet-and-greets with fellow students and give presentations on research opportunities offered through OUR and the greater university. And of course ambassadors are here to provide information, make faculty introductions, or answer any questions, so feel free to contact them for any assistance navigating Carolina’s research filled world.

If you have research experiences that you would like to share with other undergraduates and would like to apply to be an OUR ambassador, look for the call to apply in early spring. Below are the OUR ambassadors for 2014-2015.

Lauren Askew Biology /Spanish for the Medical Professions

Jordan Bishop

Emily Cerciello Health Policy and Management &

Sarah Cooley Geoscience-Geophysics/ Math and Religious Studies

Clark Cunningham Chemistry &

Sarah Faircloth History & Art

Blake Hauser Environmental Health Sciences &

David Joyner Political Science &

Sloane Miller Environmental Health Science &

Rizul Naithani Clinical Laborarory Science/ Chemistry Minor

Layla Quran Global Studies/ Journalism

Sam Resnick Biology/ Chemistry Minor

Jay Zhang Biostatistics & Quantitative Biology/ Chemistry

Zijian (Larry) Zhou Chemistry/ Computer Science


Your Undergrad Research Career Awaits

-written by Daijha J. Copeland

With the fall semester nearing its end many Carolina students realize that while this is a cause for celebration there are still measures to be taken to prepare for the spring and summer.  Along with creating the perfect schedule for the spring semester, avoiding the dreadful 3:00 p.m. Friday class, it is time to think about applying for summer fellowships and internships. Application deadlines, occurring between January and early March, can easily sneak up on you once we return from winter break.  I found myself extensively Google searching or searching through every department for fellowships that appealed to me. It was not until later in my undergraduate career that I found about funding databases that listed tons of research opportunities for undergraduates. Two such databases are listed below. Please utilize them and save yourself a lot of time in your search for an opportunity that appeals to you.

The Odum Institute  Computing Lab

The Odum Institute
Computing Lab

Carolina Internal Funding Database

Carolina Center for Public Service funding database

Maybe you are unsure of your interest in conducting and/or are qualified to conduct an individual research project. Or maybe you have already received a fellowship/internship and are looking for help in carrying out your project whether it be data collection, data analysis, or publishing results.  The Odum Institute, located on the second floor of Davis Library, is one such resource that offers numerous services to aid the undergraduate researcher, particularly in the social sciences, in aspects of the research process.  A large number of workshops and short courses ranging in various topics dealing with research methods and related software tools are open to all students and are great for those wanting to acquire these skills before diving into an independent project. Several full-time staff members are available for consulting on survey research methods, qualitative methods, and quantitative methods.  An open computing lab staffed by advanced graduate students is provided for help and support with the computers, software, finding data, basic statistical consulting, etc. for the undergraduate researcher in the heart of their project.

The Health Sciences Library

The Health Sciences Library


The Health Sciences Library provides services for the undergraduate researcher despite this notion that the library only serves degree holding individuals well into their career.  A variety of instructional sessions on research related topics are offered by the Heatlh Sciences Library that are open to anyone. Over a 130 self-help research guides and tutorials for every aspect of the research process are offered. Students can use email, chat, phone to ask questions or set up a one-on-one consultation for help with their research by using the Ask a Librarian page.  Most Librarians specialize in certain fields thus choosing the right person to contact via the Ask a Librarian page is essential. More information about each librarian and their special expertise is listed on the Meet Your Librarian page.

The Odum Institute and the Health Sciences Library offer resources for the undergraduate researcher beyond what is offered at the Davis Library or the Undergraduate Library.  Many of us forget that these buildings exist for our usage and many are even unaware that these services exist. No matter what point in your research career, there are resources accessible to make you more knowledgeable in aspects of conducting research making your project proceed smoothly. So don’t procrastinate in any regard to your undergraduate research career as summer will be here before you know it.

Get on “course” for the future with research experience

written by Mollie McNeil

Research Courses Focus on a Multitude of Disciplines! from:

Research Courses Focus on a Multitude of Disciplines!

Having trouble finding an interesting class that fulfills requirements and provides hands-on experience? Look no further than research-based classes. As a part of a University that prides itself on research, UNC-CH undergraduates have access to incredible classes that teach valuable research skills. These classes range in credit hours, and they are an invaluable addition to regular curriculum as they add depth to subject matter.

Research-based courses offer a variety of useful experiences. You can investigate your interests in a hands-on way and delve deeper into your discipline. Additionally, research courses give you the opportunity to work closely with faculty and develop professional networks. Research courses help students prepare for the future since many graduate programs value the ability to conduct research. Taking a research course gives you the opportunity to conduct unique research and possibly present your findings at a conference or be published in a scholarly journal (can you say resume booster?!?). Finally, taking research courses helps you meet the course requirements for the Carolina Research Scholar Program (CRSP).

UNC-CH offers a multitude of research courses. The Office for Undergraduate Research (OUR) categorizes these research classes as research methods courses, research-intensive courses, and research exposure courses. Research methods courses are offered by many departments and give students the opportunity to get training in specific research methodologies. Research-Intensive courses spend over half of the class time devoted to independent student research projects and can lead to the presentation of research findings. Most departments also offer these courses. Research exposure courses differ in that they offer research opportunities supported by Graduate Research Consultants (GRC).

Research at Carolina from:

Research at Carolina

Along with these courses, OUR offers IDST 194: Modes of Inquiry.  This course is a one credit pass-fail course with no prerequisites. So anyone can take this course to get an introduction to the realm of research here at UNC-CH. Each class session features a discussion with a faculty member about their research passions and methodology. Students get the opportunity to interview professors before class and ask extensive questions during the class session.  This is a rewarding class that familiarizes students with the research process and successful research careers all while improving communication and interviewing skills. Additionally, this class is a fantastic opportunity to meet a variety of faculty and learn about their departments.

Whether you are looking for credits or looking to gain lasting research experience, a research-based course is a perfect choice to round out your schedule for the upcoming semester.


Integrating the Celebration of Undergraduate Research into your course

Written by Suzanne Gulledge, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education

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!