This is the place to turn your passion into a project
That’s exactly what Dylan Willard was able to do when his love of skateboarding led him to look into the possibility of recycling skateboard decks. An initial inquiry into whether he could use the facilities at the Brooks Forest Products Center turned into a formal research project in which he created wooden panels made of strips of skateboards and tested the samples for various qualities. As result of this work, Dylan wrote and published a research paper with his professor, Joseph Loferski.
You’ll meet plenty of undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Natural Resources and Environment who are doing their own research projects or working with a faculty member. Check out Dylan’s video and talk to a faculty member about your own research niche.
Combining research and a good cause
Geography major Emily Gregory wanted to spend her summer pedaling with Bike the US for MS but also wanted to complete a research project, so she found a way to combine her two passions. While completing the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, Gregory used GIS, field observations, and interviews to explore the link between food deserts and socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. She earned credit for her research and later presented her findings at a regional meeting of the American Association of Geographers.
Student research in the news
Article ItemFralin Undergraduate Research Fellow investigates microplastics in local fish , article
Virginia Tech senior and marine fish conservation major Gwyneth Martin is studying microplastics and their frequency in freshwater fish as part of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute’s Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship.Date: May 25
Article ItemIsaiah Moore named 2021 Outstanding Senior for the College of Natural Resources and Environment , article
Early experiences motivated Moore, who will earn dual degrees in meteorology and geography, to study both the science of weather and the human impacts that extreme weather events can have.Date: May 11
Article ItemLeaping lemurs and hidden hellbenders: Class of 2020 graduates get up close to wildlife , article
Giovanni Walters and Margot Breiner each got valuable hands-on experience outside the classroom while to completing their degrees in wildlife conservation.Date: Apr 27
As a wildlife conservation major, Deirdre Conroy built much of her undergraduate career around research. She began working with Professor Marcella Kelly during her freshman year, entering data for a camera trapping project. After completing projects on bat composition and diversity, she traveled to Belize to study how sustainable logging impacts jaguars.
Find your research niche
Our research happens on local, regional, national, and international scales. It’s applied, practical, and often interdisciplinary. And it focuses on the most important issues of our time. Visit these sites to learn more about opportunities for conducting undergraduate research:
Students tackle real-time packaging challenges
At the college’s Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design, students are asked to find solutions for packaging problems that companies face. The result is a collaborative effort that connects leading companies with expert professors and students eager to take on the challenges of the packaging industry. The center also hires paid student interns who work on research projects brought to the center while simultaneously gaining certifications they can carry into the job market.
For graduate students
Independent research is a critical part of the program of study for most graduate students. Check out our list of faculty experts and connect with those who may have projects in your area of interest.