TCU Student Government Association decided to allocate $6,000 of its funds to support undergraduate research in the TCU College of Science and Engineering.
After an appeal from junior biology majors Addison White and Whitney Summers and sophomore chemistry major Barrington Hwang, the SGA approved the funding at their last house session on Tuesday.
This is the first time student funding has gone from SGA to a college within the university for undergraduate research projects according to SGA treasurer and junior finance major Brent Folan. Folan said undergraduate science, engineering and, more specifically, pre med students such as Hwang, Summers and White are usually those that ask and need funding the most.
However, this was not simply a matter of the SGA giving money to students in need. With this funding, undergraduate students within the college working on research projects alongside their professors can apply for funds but only a maximum of $500 can be given out to each group that passes the application process. This maximum amount used to be the minimum amount of funding an undergraduate research project group could obtain.
Summers, as the leader of the appeal to the SGA, said that students' usual method of getting research funding was no longer available.
By the approval of the TCU Vision in Action initiative in 2005, the Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) was able to fund undergraduate research within the college through a variety of programs up until the end of spring 2010. Students could apply alongside a mentoring professor and receive $500 to $2,500 depending on the needs of the project they proposed.
According to Summers and the SERC website there has been no undergraduate research grant program available to apply to since the end of spring 2010. It is because of this that Summers felt the need to appeal to SGA for funding.
Summers said since new projects keep emerging with each new batch of students within the college of science and engineering, the money necessary to maintain current and past projects has run out and that is mainly what fueled Summers and her peers to appeal to the SGA. Summers said she hopes this bill will make a statement within the university and make it clear to the Vision in Action initiative that not only do science and engineering students currently have a distinct need for more funding but that the student body supports them in this venture as well.