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Take on research and get MORE out of your education

New program, Minority Opportunity for Research Experience, is accepting applications for paid research with faculty mentors.


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Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications
981-4358
erikrose@iun.edu

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Minority Opportunity for Research Experience

At an international conference this spring, pre-med student Stephen Koveck will present his findings about corneal proteins and how they help the eye heal itself.  For geosciences student Nicole Grabos, the region’s wetlands are her classroom, where she collects samples and analyzes water quality. Courtney Targos, also in geosciences, studies volcanic activity.

What these Indiana University Northwest students are learning about these intriguing topics does not come solely from a book or a lecture, but from real research, the kind done in a lab or out in the field. Their findings are documented, published, presented, and ultimately used to further the body of knowledge that all professionals and academicians use to advance their respective disciplines.

If that weren’t significant enough, these students are coming out of their undergraduate studies with actual research experiences already on their resumes and glowing faculty endorsements that will carry them toward still more opportunity. Better still, many also get paid for their work.

There are many sources for research opportunities for enterprising students. One such avenue for underrepresented is IU Northwest’s Minority Opportunity for Research Opportunity (MORE) program, which strives to connect students from minority or low-income populations with faculty mentors on research projects.

Sophomore, junior and senior students from all disciplines with a cumulative grade point average of 2.4 and above are invited to apply for a research award. Stipends from this program total up to $1,500 and are paid on an hourly basis while the research is being conducted.

Applications for the Spring 2012 semester are due by Friday, Feb. 10. A letter of recommendation from a faculty member must accompany the application.

Miracle Anokwute is a pre-med/biology major who has been actively involved with research under IU School of Medicine – Northwest Professor Carl Marfurt, Ph.D. He advised students to establish relationships with faculty members early on.

“A mentor is something that everybody should have,” he said. “They are there to help you and guide you, and you should take advantage of what they have to offer.”

Anokwute said his undergraduate research work has given him a broader college experience and enabled him to apply what he is learning in class right now, something that will set him apart from other undergraduates, particularly those at larger schools where the pool of students vying for research opportunities is larger and more competitive.

Future geologist Grabos said her research has confirmed that her chosen major was indeed a good fit for her. Originally, she had chosen to study elementary education, but the opportunity to get out into the field changed all that.

“You might get involved with something that you never thought was possible,” Grabos said. “I never though geology as a major would be a good fit for me until I started dong hands-on research and finding out it was actually something I loved and cared about.”

Now, Grabos is downright passionate about advocating for cleaner water.  Her involvement in research has led to more research opportunities, including an expenses-paid summer in Wisconsin.

As in Grabos’s case, if your passion for the topic grows and more work remains, there are other funds available if you know where to look, the students said.

One example is the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSMAP) program, which is designed to substantially increase the quantity and quality of students, especially underrepresented students, who study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. LSAMP offers science and math majors the opportunity to receive a stipend for doing research in their major field.

For more information about the research awards available through the Minority Opportunity for Research Experience program, contact James Wallace, Office of Diversity Programming, at (219) 980-6596.

More information, along with the application and other required paperwork, is available at http://www.iun.edu/diversity/student-involvement/index.htm.