CUR https://cur.aa.ufl.edu Center for Undergraduate Research Wed, 18 Nov 2020 19:34:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/cropped-UF-CUR-Favicon-192x192-1-32x32.png CUR https://cur.aa.ufl.edu 32 32 CUR in the News https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/18/cur-in-the-news-fall-2020/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cur-in-the-news-fall-2020 Wed, 18 Nov 2020 19:32:09 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=29236 Fall 2020

Dr. Anne Donnelly, the director of the Center for Undergraduate Research, was recently interviewed for the article “Doing Undergrad Research in the Time of COVID“. Published by inChemistry, an American Chemistry Society student member magazine, Dr. Donnelly highlights the importance of getting involved in research during your undergraduate career. We’ve included an excerpt of the article below:

“If a student says: ‘I’m not looking for research opportunities because I don’t think I’ll get any,’ I say: ‘Why are you not trying?’,” says Anne Donnelly, director of the University of Florida’s Center for Undergraduate Research. Fear of failure is common, but it’s an important hurdle to overcome. You certainly won’t find new opportunities without leaving your comfort zone. Failure is just part of the process (as well as part of research).

The benefits of undergraduate research are worth the effort. “The upsides are so, so many in terms of professional development,” Donnelly says. Independent research has been shown to sharpen technical, problem-solving, and communication skills, she adds. Donnelly, who earned a Presidential Award in 2015 from President Barack Obama for her science, math, and engineering mentorship, also finds students have more fun learning chemistry with research than with class.

Regardless of whether you go on to graduate school, research helps you decide what you want to do with your life, she adds. You might not really even know what a professional chemist does until you hang out with one. Or you might find out that lab research isn’t for you. “Let’s say you find out that you absolutely hate research. That’s a good thing to learn before you get into graduate school, right?”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Rick Kates, PhD https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/16/rick-kates-phd/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rick-kates-phd Mon, 16 Nov 2020 17:08:07 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=29170 Alumni Spotlight: Jamarcus Robertson https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/06/alumni-spotlight-jamarcus-robertson/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=alumni-spotlight-jamarcus-robertson Fri, 06 Nov 2020 15:20:59 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=29014 Fall 2020

Jamarcus Robertson, a graduate student in the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters to PhD Bridge Program, graduated in 2018 with a degree in microbiology and cell sciences. During his time at UF, Jamarcus completed research as a McNair Scholar and Florida Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FLGSAMP) Scholar. He also worked as a student assistant for the Center for Undergraduate Research, assisting in a variety of events and research scholarship programs.

Why did you get started in undergraduate research? I got involved with research to become a pursue my career goals and find a community at the University of Florida.

How has your research experience shaped your career? CUR was one of the first departments that I had interacted with during my freshman year at UF and they had a major impact on my undergraduate career. CUR has provided multiple leadership and scholarship opportunities that allowed me to grow as a student and a researcher. The CUR office also provided me a community that I could call home at UF.

What advice would you give someone interested in undergraduate research? Always challenge yourself when you are conducting research try to gain a more active role in the lab.

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Marina S. Ascunce, PhD https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/03/marina-s-ascunce-phd/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marina-s-ascunce-phd Tue, 03 Nov 2020 15:55:17 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=28836 Emily Miller-Cushon, PhD https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/03/emily-miller-cushon-phd/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=emily-miller-cushon-phd Tue, 03 Nov 2020 15:43:35 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=28828 David W. Mazyck, PhD https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/03/joni-splett-phd-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=joni-splett-phd-2 Tue, 03 Nov 2020 15:25:47 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=28804 Student Spotlight: Kashfaa Tasmim https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/02/student-spotlight-kashfaa-tasmim/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=student-spotlight-kashfaa-tasmim Mon, 02 Nov 2020 20:34:10 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=28786 Fall 2020

Kashfaa Tasmim is a Junior at the University of Florida in the Emerging Scholars Program. Her research project is called: Increases in County-Level Opioid Prescribing in the United States despite National Declining Rates. When she’s not working on her research under Dr. Juan Hincapie-Castillo at the College of Pharmacy, she can be found all over campus as a member and leader of multiple UF clubs: the Executive Vice President of the Multicultural Greek Council, Historian of the Bangladeshi Students’ Association, Marketing Director of Project Sunshine, CUR Ambassador, Sisterhood Chair of Delta Phi Omega Sorority, member of the Primary Care Committee of AMSA, member of J.O.Y. Volunteering, and member of Islam on Campus. Keep reading to learn more about Kashfaa’s undergraduate research experience and her plans for the future.

Summary of Research Project: In this project, I analyzed opioid prescribing rates in counties all over the United States and although prescription rates at the national level decreased, several counties remained with a high opioid prescribing rate. By focusing on the counties that experienced an increase, it provides insight into the effect of policies at a local level.

Why did you get started in undergraduate research? I got started in undergraduate research and my project because I was curious about the opioid crisis in the United States. I wanted to learn more about it on a county basis so that potential programs that may be implemented can be discussed and how to prevent further increases in prescribing rates.

How has your research experience shaped your undergraduate career My research experience has been an integral part of my undergraduate career because it has allowed me to grow as a student and helped me gain knowledge of subjects I am interested in.

What advice would you give someone interested in undergraduate research? Some advice I would give to someone interested in undergraduate research is to find research that interests you and reach out to multiple professors or labs. I strongly believe passion drives research and finding a research project or topic you’re interested in will keep you motivated.

What are your plans for the future? My plans for the future include graduating with a B.S. in Biology and applying to medical school, specializing in internal medicine. I am passionate about pursuing a career in healthcare and becoming a future physician so that I can serve my community.

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Student Spotlight: Aubrey Marie Mys https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/02/student-spotlight-aubrey-marie-mys/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=student-spotlight-aubrey-marie-mys Mon, 02 Nov 2020 20:14:24 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=28774 Fall 2020

Aubrey Marie Mys is a Sophomore at the University of Florida in the University Scholars Program. Her research project is entitled: Virtual Human Colorectal Cancer Screening Intervention Comparing and Coding the African American and Caucasian Data Sets. When she’s not working on her research under Dr. Janice Krieger at the College of Journalism and Communications, she can be found on campus working with the Beyond 120 Young Professionals Communications Committee. Learn more about Aubrey’s research project and her plans for the future below.

Summary of Research Project: The purpose of this study is to develop and qualitatively test via focus groups and one-on-one interviews a tailored intervention utilizing virtual human technology (VHT) to improve communication with rural and ethnic/racial minority patients and increase CRC screening to help show the differences between Caucasian and African American and to help to bring awareness of the health disparities between the two communities. to better improve and evaluate translational communication interventions. To better equip various stakeholders in the healthcare field with improving the translation of science.

Why did you get started in undergraduate research? The medical field has always fascinated me. I wanted the opportunity to understand more what research was and how its benefits fields and the process. I remember I started searching for opportunities and saw the position available to study the sexual differences in our cognitive abilities and got the position it fascinated me the process of research and how it was conducted.

How has your research experience shaped your undergraduate career Research has shown me how much I enjoy research, it is constantly learning and trying to understand questions that we have about life and the ways things work. It also involves improving people’s lives and that is something I want to do in my career. It has also shown me that I can continue to work hard I can make opportunities for myself in life and that research helps to build lifelong connections. It has also inspired me to continue to work hard despite my circumstances and continue to show my son that you keep going no matter what and can shape your life into what you want it to be.

What advice would you give someone interested in undergraduate research? Advice that I would give someone interested in undergraduate research is to reach out to a professor who has a project in a field you are interested in it never hurts to try and make a connection. I would also recommend being open to learning. You might not have a lot of experience in research – I had none when I applied for my first research position, but I was open to learning and I showed that willingness to learn and wanting to help. Always try and work hard in whatever you do in the research field and it will show.

What are your plans for the future? My plans for my future are to go on to graduate school and continue my education. I am also hoping to continue my research as an undergraduate student and I am currently working on a thesis paper noting the sexual difference between white females and white males in how they perceive figures in the health care field.

Image Credit: Aubrey Marie Mys 2020.
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Alumni Spotlight: Alexis Brake https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/02/alumni-spotlight-alexis-brake-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=alumni-spotlight-alexis-brake-2 Mon, 02 Nov 2020 19:53:31 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=28758 Fall 2020

Alexis Brake, former Executive Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research Board of Students (CURBS), graduated this past spring with a degree in biomedical engineering. During her time at UF, Alexis completed research as a University Scholar, which led to internships with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institutes of Health. Now, she is a Postbaccalaureate Researcher in the Translational Neuroradiology Section in the NINDS at the National Institutes of Health. Her current research focuses on using advanced MRI to understand the pathobiology of tissue damage in the context of multiple sclerosis.

Image Credit: Alexis Brake 2020.

Why did you get started in undergraduate research? I first got involved in research because I wanted to be able to apply my interests in science to the real world and make a difference in the lives of others. My curiosity for research was piqued in high school when I saw a video demonstration of the BrainGate system. In the video, a tetraplegic patient was shown feeding herself for the first time in over 15 years. This was made possible by a novel implanted electrode system that allowed the patient to use her thoughts to control a robotic arm holding a cup of coffee. I was captivated by the technology, but I was even more captivated by the smile that stretched across the patient’s face after independently taking her first sip of coffee in over a decade. That moment prompted me to seek out my first research position, and I haven’t looked back since.

How has your research experience shaped your career? After becoming involved in research, I quickly learned that an intellectual challenge and opportunity for human impact was not all that undergraduate research had to offer. By being involved in research all four years of undergrad, my research reinforced the content I learned in lecture (and vice versa). I also gained a network of mentors and teachers from my lab’s principal investigator and graduate students, explored different research avenues to solidify my career aspirations, and developed skills in scientific communication and experimental design that will continue to support me in my future research endeavors. Because of my experiences in undergraduate research, I am wholeheartedly confident in my next steps toward my career goals.

My involvement in undergraduate research also allowed me to seek opportunities beyond UF including internships at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Institutes of Health and presentation opportunities at large conferences like the Society for Neuroscience and the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meetings. CUR provided me with the support I needed to make many of these endeavors possible. Dr. Donnelly’s mentorship helped my land my first internship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology the summer of my freshman year and through the University Scholars Program, I obtained travel funding to attend the conferences I’d had abstracts accepted at.

CUR also allowed me develop myself as a leader through the Center for Undergraduate Research Board of Students (CURBS). As an ambassador, executive board member, and eventually as the Executive Director, I had the opportunity to give back to UF’s research community and to help my peers advance their undergraduate research experience all while learning how to be an effective leader. To this day, my involvement in CURBS remains my most influential and treasured experience from my time at UF.

What advice would you give someone interested in undergraduate research? Undergraduate research is for everyone! Regardless of your year, major, career aspirations, or interests, undergraduate research is one of the best ways to set yourself apart, diversify your skills, and enrich your learning experience. If you aren’t sure where to begin, let a CURBS Peer Advisor help you get started!

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Alumni Spotlight: Muna Oli https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/11/02/alumni-spotlight-muna-oli/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=alumni-spotlight-muna-oli Mon, 02 Nov 2020 19:23:52 +0000 https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/?p=28730 Fall 2020

Muna Oli, a member of the Center for Undergraduate Research Board of Students (CURBS), graduated in 2016 with a degree in psychology and a minor in bioinformatics. During her time at UF, Muna completed research as a University Scholar. Now, she’s back in Gainesville as a Resident physician in Anesthesiology with UF Health.

Why did you get started in undergraduate research? It’s fun, you learn a lot, changed how I view medicine, I made a lot of like minded friends through research.

How has your research experience shaped your career? I made friends, found mentors and was able to help grow CURBS into what it is today.

What advice would you give someone interested in undergraduate research? Don’t give up when professors don’t respond the first time, be actively involved, don’t just passively do what you’re told.

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