The Student Undergraduate Research Council (SURC) promotes awareness about undergraduate research opportunities at NAU.
By generating awareness, SURC hopes to increase the number of students engaged in research, scholarly, or creative projects at NAU. We also want to convey to students studying in a variety of disciplines and coming from diverse backgrounds that doing research is beneficial for their academic and career development. The members of SURC believe that participating in undergraduate research is an important experience for anyone interested in gaining more knowledge and a deeper appreciation of their academic field.
Major: Physics and Astronomy
Mentor: Dr. David Trilling
Current research: Using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to determine the physical properties of Centaurs and transition objects
UGR research activities:NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates; AST485
Why I do this: The best reason for me to participate in research is preparation for graduate school. In my field, a PhD is required for most careers, so research experience is almost necessary to be a competitive applicant and to develop the skills necessary to succeed.
Major: Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences
Mentor: Dr. Jani Ingram
Current research: Quantifying the amount of total arsenic in various unregulated wells on the Navajo Nation
UGR research activities: CHM485; Joseph & Sophie Ottens Student Research Awards Program; Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention program; Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity program; summer internship at NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Why I do this: The best part about undergraduate research is that not only do you get to apply the skills you learn in the laboratory in a real-life setting, you get to expand your knowledge and experience things outside of the classroom. Additionally, you get to experience the feeling of being on the forefront of unknown knowledge; similar to the crew of the Enterprise, as a researcher, you "boldly go" every time you learn new things in research.
Major: Elementary education
Mentor: Dr. Trina Spencer (Left in photo)
Current research: Predictive Early Assessment of Reading and Language (PEARL)
UGR research activities: Institute for Human Development research assistant
Why I do this: Before I was hired as a research assistant, I never thought about a career in research; it was Dr. Spencer who opened the door to the endless possibilities a research career holds. One benefit of engaging in research as an undergraduate is the opportunity to learn knowledge and skills that can be applied to my future career as a teacher.
Mentor: Dr. Peter Fulé
Current research: Climate sensitivity of co-occurring tree species on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
UGR research activities: NAU/NASA Space Grant; Hooper Undergraduate Research Award
Why I do this: I have gained a greater appreciation and a deeper understanding of my field that will benefit me for the rest of my career .
Major: Biomedical Science
Mentor: Dr. Fernando Monroy
Current research: Does mucus play a role during infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii?
UGR research activities: Undergraduate Research Mentoring program; Hooper Undergraduate Research Award; Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates; HON490; BIO485
Why I do this: The best part about engaging in undergraduate research is the opportunity to conduct and take responsibility of scientific projects and to experience the scientific method first-hand.
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies: Speech Science and Technology
Mentor: Dr. Trina Spencer
Current research: Assessment of story comprehension for preschool aged children in Flagstaff and adult-child communication interactions within different ethnic groups.
UGR research activities: DIS485
Why I do this: The best part about engaging in undergraduate research is working directly with a professor and other currently employed people within my area of study. I owe my success in college to my research team; without their support, I would still be trying to figure out my major.
G. Brett Velez
Mentor: Dr. Chad Woodruff
Current research: My project explores the neurological manifestations of self-other discrimination in empathy.
UGR research activities: Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates; PSY485; applying for a HURA and a NASA Space Grant.
Why I do this: You build an amazing relationship with your faculty mentor and you learn if a research career is right for you.