Mizzou Advantage starts undergraduate research programs

Monday, January 31, 2011 | 6:42 p.m. CST; updated 8:46 p.m. CST, Monday, January 31, 2011

COLUMBIA — Mizzou Advantage is putting together three undergraduate research teams as pilots for a full range of projects that could begin next fall. The three projects will bring together students and faculty from many disciplines.

“There are no big problems that can be solved by one discipline alone,” said LuAnne Roth, Mizzou Advantage education coordinator.

The three projects are as follows:

  • The Life of the Garden team will create virtual gardens based on literary works and use Second Life software.
  • The Studying Social Computing for Health Organizations team will examine how hospitals use social media like Facebook and Twitter to connect with patients.
  • The Stormwater Best Management Practices Monitoring team will study techniques for handling stormwater.

In addition to an $800 scholarship, each student will gain real world experience through collaboration and problem solving, Roth said. She said joining this sort of research team puts students in a better position to get jobs after graduation.

"Undergraduate research is beneficial because the skills you learn from research will help with jobs," faculty mentor Elizabeth Chang said.

Faculty members will guide the students, giving the mentors a chance to direct their interests into new interdisciplinary projects.

Another benefit of the program is the relationship between faculty mentors and undergraduate students, faculty mentor Ricky Leung said.

"I want to learn about undergraduate students' perceptions," he said. "I want to know what they think.''

At the end of the semester, the teams will present their work at an undergraduate research forum . MU researcher Robert Reed said student research on stormwater would also be published in journals.

Roth hopes that by the end of the semester, the teams will have discovered what works and what doesn't.  With their feedback she wants to launch the full program with 1o projects per semester next fall, she said.


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