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Undergraduate Student Research

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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.

A female transcontinental bicyclist for Bike the U.S. for M.S. with outstretched arms a lake and tree covered mountains in the background.

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

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 and locate funding

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

Packaging students monitor and measure a pallet test hero

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.