USOAR program hosts research symposium

Program expands to 61 participants in third year

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Cullaty said the purpose of this program is to give students a paid research opportunity with with faculty members according to their academic interests.

Emma Lewis | Cavalier Daily

The 2016 Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research Symposium took place in Newcomb Hall Ballroom Tuesday, featuring 18 oral presentations and two poster sessions.

The USOAR program was introduced three years ago and offers paid research opportunities to rising first-year, second-year and transfer students who have no previous experience in research and who look to work with faculty members in their areas of interest.

Director of USOAR Brian Cullaty said the purpose of this program is to give students a paid research opportunity with faculty members according to their academic interests.

“We want it to be a program that introduces students into undergraduate research, in particular students who may not have had the opportunity to be involved in research yet,” Cullaty said.

Chris Kang, a second-year College student who worked in the sociology department with Sociology Prof. Sarah Corse to research predictive technologies, explained her motivations to participate in an interview.

“I’ve never done research so I just thought it may be a good way to getting into it since it seems to be like a big thing,” Kang said. “Also, we get paid and earn one college credit during the two semesters.”

Kang said the USOAR program also gives her the opportunity to explore different academic fields and get a more comprehensive view of the world.

“It is fun to look into sociology department itself,” Kang said. “I am a Cognitive Science major, as well as English major … [but] I think rather than studying sociology, by just looking at it from an English perspective — [a] literature perspective — is interesting to me.”

Kang said this program not only enables her to connect with graduate students, but also expands her experiences at the University.

“You learn a lot of things about graduate school, about applying for jobs, and as assignments, you also have to apply for internships,” Kang said. “It is a really good way to look into the future because as a second-year, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do that.”

Julia Graff, a second-year College student, worked with Biochemistry Prof. Anindya Dutta in the biochemistry molecular genetics department to research about human papillomavirus. She said USOAR has been a great resource for her to learn and explore what she wants to do in her future.

“This program offers a great door into research,” Graff said. “The class that goes along with it has really been a great supplement to learning. It covers things we don’t necessarily learn in the lab, like how to write a research grant.”

The USOAR program has expanded from 13 participants in its first year to 61 current participants.

“I think it stands for a very positive experience for faculty members who participate and also the students,” Cullaty said. “For students, it gives them the opportunity to do research while also being able to make some money by participating. And it also introduces them to things they haven’t had the chance to do yet.”

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