March 2005

Donations Support Undergraduate Research Program

"...Samford is expanding its Undergraduate Research Program to include an intensive research experience in which select students spend a summer working with faculty mentors on an individualized project. Unfortunately, many students must find jobs in the summer to pay for their Samford education. Donations remove that barrier..."

Donations from Samford supporters are helping the University expand its Undergraduate Research Program. Senior year research projects are the core of the program, and represent the culmination of a Samford education.

  student  conducting experiment
To succeed in their projects, students must draw upon all their educational experiences, from introductory courses in writing and mathematics to specialized knowledge in their major field. The projects are as diverse as the students' interests, ranging from "Normalized Circular Bernstein Bezier Curves" to "Country Music and Reactions to September 11th."

The ability to research a complex problem and document that research is one of the most valuable skills any student can possess. Despite the widely-recognized value of undergraduate research--not only for students but for faculty and the university as a whole--only a fraction of American undergraduate students have an opportunity to engage in extended research projects. Last year, Samford sent 19 students to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (Harvard sent one student, Stanford sent three and Princeton sent none). Samford students' research also has earned them prestigious awards, graduate school fellowships and places alongside established scholars at regional and national meetings.

With these successes in mind, Samford is expanding its Undergraduate Research Program to include an intensive research experience in which select students spend a summer working with faculty mentors on an individualized project. Unfortunately, many students must find jobs in the summer to pay for their Samford education. Donations remove that barrier by helping Samford purchase needed research supplies and compensate both students and faculty for their participation.

Samford biochemistry major Kyle Rudemiller spent last summer studying the fundamental nature of transition metal-carbon bonds alongside chemistry professor David Garza. The experience, he said, was a vitally important part of his Samford education. "It's been a huge advantage in terms of gaining crucial experience in the lab and knowledge to be used in the classroom," he said. "I think it's great that Samford is interested in helping undergraduates gain experience in a research setting," he added. "I truly appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me not only by the faculty, but by those whose financial donations allow the program to exist."

To learn more about how to support Samford Undergraduate Research Scholars, contact Ron Wilson at (205) 726-4200.

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