Center pushes students to do more research

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    The science and engineering department is trying to encourage research and reward the students involved, an associate dean of the college said. Ken Morgan, associate dean of the college, said the Science and Engineering Research Center, is dedicated to encouraging more undergraduates to participate in research and discovery.

    Last December, the Vision in Action initiative approved a grant that will allow SERC to fund undergraduate research for four years through three grant programs.

    According to the SERC Web site, the grant programs available include an undergraduate research program, an undergraduate summer research program and a travel program to attend the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

    Morgan said students with a sponsoring professor can submit a proposal in order to receive an undergraduate research grant.

    Magnus Rittby, associate dean of the science and engineering department, said SERC hopes to fund 30 to 50 research programs of this kind each semester.

    “No proposals are in yet, but this will be a major category of research where money will be spent,” Rittby said.

    According to the SERC Web site, students who apply for the undergraduate research grant can receive $500 to $1,500 depending on the needs of the project.

    All students who participate in the undergraduate research grant program will be required to present their research at the Student Research Symposium, a showcase of undergraduate and graduate research in the spring, Rittby said.

    About six students who present the best research at the Student Research Symposium will be chosen for the travel grant program to the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, Morgan said.

    The department will review proposals this spring and plan to take students to the conference in spring 2007, Morgan said.

    “Usually a couple thousand students attend the conference but next spring will be the first time TCU students will attend,” he said.

    According to the SERC Web site, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research grant will include travel to the conference, accommodations and any other applicable fees.

    The undergraduate summer research grant will be a substantially larger grant than the other two grant programs, Rittby said.

    “The reward could be up to $5,000 a student, depending on where the research will take place,” he said.

    The summer program will allow students to research at other labs across the country, Morgan said.

    “Collaborative research is important for TCU because it creates connections for the university,” Morgan said. “This kind of research makes our students as attractive as possible for graduate programs.”

    Rittby said it is a priority of the college to stimulate research and the Vision in Action funding will enhance, even more, the research the department started with the Student Research Symposium.

    Although this semester will be a trial and error, Morgan said, no researcher should be left behind.