Research moves you forward

Undergraduate Research Day

Director+of+undergraduate+research+Jalal+Nawash+speaks+to+panelists+Nov.+11+on+his+experience+during+undergraduate+research+day.

Director of undergraduate research Jalal Nawash speaks to panelists Nov. 11 on his experience during undergraduate research day.

Kali Anditon

Some students might dread the hours spent on long research projects assigned by their professors – papers pushing students to delve into topics of a class and synthesize an idea onto a double-spaced page. Many students, however, thrive on research and use this time to gain more knowledge in their chosen fields of study. 

Working alongside professors and mentors at UW-W, undergraduate students are diving deep into their chosen research topics. The Undergraduate Research Program urges students to employ this information they have learned, and present their ideas in a biannual event. The Undergraduate Research Day was held virtually Nov. 11 for students to present their current research projects underway, as well as gain some advice from practicing researchers on campus. 

Students in the program have the opportunity to work with mentors, and can even apply for grant money toward their projects. 

“Because I had a grant, I was able to use supplies that I hadn’t used before and I probably wouldn’t have used otherwise,” says participant Cordelia Regenold. “It gave me the opportunity to explore and try new things. I think it gave me the freedom to learn about things that I may not have got to learn on my own.”

By working with the program, Regenold had the opportunity to look at research in a new way. The enjoyment of questioning is what the undergraduate research program strives to inspire. 

“A good student, in my opinion, is not the student who understands everything,” says Director of Undergraduate Research Jalal Nawash. “A good student is the student who asks questions. If a student is asking questions, then this means that they absorbed everything that they got, and then they formulated it into a better understanding.”

The day dedicated to research was broken up into three live panel discussions addressing questions from students, information about graduate school and tips for conducting projects. Many panelists encouraged continuing with research, regardless of funding, as long as the student enjoys it and believes that it is important.

“All of the experiences you have – even if they aren’t the ones that you were looking for – ultimately make you much stronger and more knowledgeable, and it gives you that broader background,” says panelist and associate professor of biological sciences Elisabeth Harrahy. “It provides you with all of those contacts. Don’t give up, even though the path may wind a bit. Ultimately it generally works out well.”

Participants who pushed through their research were rewarded by the opportunity to present their work during the event. Fields of research projects presented included human and communication sciences, psychological and behavioral sciences, arts and creative works, among others. 

“I encourage every student on campus to try to do research,” Nawash says. “Research is not a scary thing. You shouldn’t think this way. It’s easy. A little kid could do it. Don’t get scared of the word ‘research.’ Get involved, get engaged, get moving forward. Research is not just learning. It moves you forward.”

To learn more about the undergraduate research program or to view this year’s research posters and presentations visit https://www.uww.edu/urp/virtual-ur-day-2020

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