Office of Undergraduate Research

Pursue Your Interests



Video: UT Summer STEM Symposium

Undergraduate students, teachers, and young scholars participated in a six-week summer research program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, culminating in a STEM symposium at Ayres Hall Friday, July 18, 2014. There, groups and individuals presented their research projects conducted while collaborating with NIMBioS, CURENT, TNSCORE, and NICS at research centers from all over the world.Posters spanned science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

 


Undergraduate Summer Research Internship Recipients 2014

In an effort to increase the participation of undergraduate students in the research enterprise, the Chancellor’s Office and the Office of Research &http://ugresearch.utk.edu/wp-admin/post.php?post=1295&action=edit#amp; Engagement fund internships of $2,000 each to support students working on research or creative projects with a faculty mentor for two months during the summer. Below are the 2014 recipients. See also 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 recipients.

Student Name

Discipline

Faculty Mentor

Lindsay Elizabeth Rogerson Food Science and Technology Svetlana Zivanovic
Heather Dean Lowery Plant Sciences Dean Adam Kopsell
Peter Zackery Giddings Architecture R Mark Dekay
Cayce Davis Architecture Gregor A Kalas
Brayan Zavala Art Sarah Lowe
Gennifer Michelle Goad Anthropoloty Joanne Lorraine Devlin
Alana Marie Burnham Geography Micheline Van Riemsdijk
Alexandra Perry Chiasson English William J Hardwig
Kendall Nicole Jaggers English La Vinia Delois Jennings
Jeremy Murphy Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures Adrian Del Caro
Summer Ghasan Awad Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures Drew Paul
Charlie Nicole Waddle Economics Benjamin Hasty Compton
Hanna Paige Lustig Communications Eric Smith
Sinead Doherty Child and Family Studies Elizabeth Inez Johnson
Cody Klecka Theory and Practice – Teacher Education Jeffrey E Davis
Emmitt Lee Turner Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures Laura Meschke
Katie Louise Rogers Materials Science and Engineering Wei He
Joseph Benjamin Webb Mechanical, Aeronautical and Biomedical Engineering Matthew M Mench
Douglas Edward Temples Jr Music Hillary Herndon
Inna Atanasova Karsheva Nursing Miroslav Petrov Hristov
Jasmine Mitchum Nursing Sharon Keck Davis
Lauren Rae Speck Nursing Sadie Pauline Hutson
Victoria Anderson Nursing Karen Lasater
Eric E Sorrels Theatre Terry Deane Silver-Alford
Valerie Allison Michno Galloway Biochemical, Cellular and Molecular Biology Gladys Alexandre
Russell Ryan Fling Public Health Jiangang Chen
Enolia Marr Biomedical Engineering Steven Ripp
Alexander Crittington Parrott Chemistry Bin Zhao
Kenna Rewcastle Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Aimee Taylor Classen
Sneha Avinash Patel Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Classen, Aimee Taylor


Submit to Pursuit

Pursuit LogoPursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee is currently accepting submissions for the Spring 2014 (Volume 5, Issue 1). The priority deadline for submissions is November 27, 2013. All submissions must be received by January 10, 2014, to be considered. Pursuit accepts advanced, original, research-based submissions from undergraduate students in all academic colleges at the University of Tennessee. Graduates may submit their work within one year of their graduation date.

All submissions must be double spaced and must be no longer than 30 pages (for Humanities and Social Sciences papers) or 15 pages (for Science and Engineering papers). Please use endnotes instead of footnotes. Submissions in the Sciences and Engineering fields should be written in the third person and should contain the following categories: abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion/conclusions, and references.

Submit your work on the Pursuit website.


Jeffrey Becker

Jeffrey BeckerChancellor’s Professor and Department Head, Microbiology
College of Arts and Sciences
Faculty Website

Where and when was your research/creative experience as an undergraduate?

Emory University, Atlanta, GA
1961-1965

What did you do?

I remember cutting and dissecting worms. My mentor was Chauncey Goodchild, who literally wrote the book on invertebrate biology. I remember that he was very proper, always coming to class with a white starched shirt, bow tie and lab coat. I took his course and asked to do research.

How did your mentor help you?

Dr. Goodchild opened up the idea of being in a lab. As an undergraduate, I didn’t understand what research was, where you started, or what discovery was all about. It was very intimidating. He helped me to understand what was possible. One of my professors, Dr. Raymond Damian, also impacted my career. He taught molecular biology when it was at its beginning, less than 10 years after the discovery of the structure of DNA. He helped me get excited about the field of microbiology.

What is your favorite memory from that time?

My favorite memory is actually a somewhat negative one. I remember Dr. Damian talking about human disease in which there was a deficiency in an enzyme. He asked us how we might cure that disease. I suggested that we just make the enzyme and have a person eat it. That was answered by lots of laughter. I wasn’t taken seriously. I remember feeling really embarrassed. But today, that is exactly what’s being done for some enzyme deficient diseases.

How did your experience benefit you?

I remember Dr. Damian talking about a very well-known experiment that dealt with DNA replication by a semi-conservative model. The experiment was so beautiful, so simple, and proved the principle I thought then “I want to do that.” I’m still working toward that goal.

How does that experience impact your student engagement today?

Dr. Damian challenged us. We worked in small groups, and it was fun. That’s how I work in my lab now – challenging and engaging three to five undergraduates at any given time.

What advice would you offer to students today who seek a similar experience?

Students have to be proactive, take the initiative, visit faculty websites, knock on doors. I look for enthusiasm and desire; others look for experience. That can be a Catch 22 – how do you get that experience? I look for students with the desire. Once they get in and show they can learn, I give them more responsibilities.

Why should students seek such an experience?

It will be the best experience they’ll have as an undergraduate. It will help them understand what learning is all about, the thrill of discovery, struggling with new ideas and concepts. Experiential learning is what it’s all about.

What interesting fact about yourself might surprise your students?

I like to play poker!


Josh Emery

Josh Emery Assistant Professor, Planetary Science
College of Arts and Sciences
Faculty Website

Where and when was your research/creative experience as an undergraduate?

Boston University
1991-1995

What did you do?

As an astronomy major, my research was astronomy-based. One project dealt with the cataloging data and a little analysis of the aurora in the upper atmosphere, using a camera with a fisheye lens. Another, later project involved designing and building a telescope at the McDonald Observatory near El Paso, TX. That then morphed into looking into the thin atmospheres around the moons of Mercury and the Moon, tracking motions of molecules.

How did your mentor help you?

Dr. Michael Mendillo was fairly hands-off, supportive and clear where our research jobs fit within our academic pursuits. Our grades weren’t allowed to slip. Ultimately, however, I interacted more with the research staff than directly with my mentor.

What is your favorite memory from that time?

After helping to build a 24-inch research telescope, I got to travel to McDonald Observatory (in western Texas) to set it up and use it to observe the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet impact Jupiter in 1994. It was my first trip to a big observatory and my first time doing research-quality observing. Plus, the dormitories were full, so we stayed at a dude ranch a few of the nights.

How did your experience benefit you?

It was absolutely critical for me. I was the first person in my extended family to go to college. I became an astronomy major because I was always interested in space. I had no idea about research or a career choice. My undergraduate research experience made it possible to go to grad school. These days, undergraduate research is almost a prerequisite for grad school. I applied and was accepted to several places, so I had options.

How does that experience impact your student engagement today?

Since I see that as such a critical point in my life, I especially enjoy giving undergrads opportunities today. It’s important to my position here.

What advice would you offer to students today who seek a similar experience?

Just do it! Knock on a professor’s door and see what opportunities are available. Then take it and show up!

Why should students seek such an experience?

There is a lot you can learn from practical applications that is difficult to learn in a class or class-related lab. Having a long-term project, whereby you learn how to research the background, come up with a hypothesis, how to design your test, how to execute the test and bring the project to conclusion is valuable, even if you decide not to pursue a career in science. You learn a common-sensical way of thinking that is important for all of us

What interesting fact about yourself might surprise your students?

I get to travel all over the world. I just got back from Chile, leave for Hawaii tomorrow and in the fall, I’m headed to France.


Gregory Reed

Associate Vice Chancellor of Research
UTK Office of Research & Engagement

Where and when was your research/creative experience as an undergraduate?

University of Arkansas
1969-1971

What did you do?

I was lucky.  My research was connected to a co-op at Central Transformer Corp.  I conducted research on heat transfer and the mechanical reliability of electrical transformers.  My work revolved around placing thermocouples (a measuring device) and then collecting, analyzing, drafting and validating data.

How did your mentor help you? 

Dr. Cole gave me the opportunity before undergraduate research was cool.  There was no undergraduate program then.  He talked to me after class and told me that the co-op company was also funding research.

What is your favorite memory from that time?

The interaction with graduate students and professors at the university and with professionals at the company.

How did your experience benefit you?

It made it clear that I wanted to be a part of discovery and that I needed to go to grad school and prepare to be a researcher.

How does that experience impact your student engagement today?

In my case, that’s why I want to use my administrative position to help students today.  My experience was life-changing.  Without this experience, I wouldn’t be here; I had planned to be a manufacturing engineer, like my father.

What advice would you offer to students today who seek a similar experience?

My first piece of advice would be to seek it!  Try it!  For those who do, be as curious as you can possibly be.  Learn the most you can possibly learn.

Why should students seek such an experience?

It might open up opportunities you’d want to purse that you never even knew existed.

What interesting fact about yourself might surprise your students?

That I’m a thespian at heart, performing skits at church.

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