Established in 2010 by Dr. Pamela Vaughan, Associate Professor in Chemistry, the Office of Undergraduate Research received permanent institutional funding in 2012 to continue its exemplary record of high quality training, mentoring, and applied projects across many disciplines. The program is modeled after the successful Buffalo State University undergraduate research program developed by Dr. Jill Singer, past program director for the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education.
Dr. Singer visited UWF in 2010 to advise the College of Arts and Sciences and Dr. Vaughan about the development of the BSU program. The UWF Office of Research and Sponsored Programs funded her visit as well as an NSF funding workshop led by Dr. Singer.
While undergraduate research has taken place over the nearly 50 years of UWF’s history, the establishment of permanent funding to expand a formal program to train students to conduct top quality research demonstrates the institution’s broader commitment to meaningful education that reaches into the community-at-large through applied research. Faculty-student partnerships through research result in better learning outcomes for students.
Graduate student Joel Brown selecting individual Drosophila from CO2 Pad. Joel studies the structure and function of Gamma secretase in the cell membrane and deposition of products such as amyloid when the enzyme is dysfunctional. Joel plans to earn a Ph.D. and enter academe, continuing his research interests.
Graduate student Joanna Lamb is formulating a series of crosses to achieve a fly with a certain genotype, which she monitors using phenotypic markers. Her mutation of study, pecanex, is monitored using very adjacent phenotypic markers sitting in the same chromosome. Joanna plans for a career in research after the completion of a Ph.D.
Rainey Booth demonstrates a variable UV light device that he and Thomas Stephenson built to photograph RNA strands. Their lab-built version performs as well as standard equipment at a much lower cost. Rainey plans to attend medical school later.
Thomas Stephenson demonstrates a new device modeled after Dr. Chung’s colleague at Miami University for slicing ultra-thin needles for injecting RNA into beetles to study the impact on their transcription.
Thomas plans to apply for a Post-baccalaureate internship at an NIH Lab in Bethesda Maryland; after that he plans to earn a PhD.