A new organization on campus meets monthly to provide a forum for all types of undergraduate researchers.
Sponsored by the Texas Tech Center for Undergraduate Research, which was established two years ago, the Undergraduate Research Organization meets the third Thursday of every month. Director Jeannie Diaz believes visiting and joining the URO is the first step to getting involved on campus.
She said they also have added a Facebook page to become more aactive with students.
“Texas Tech can increase opportunities by making (them) aware that opportunities do exist,” Diaz said. “There is often confusion, and the Undergraduate Research Organization gives the opportunity to learn more about getting involved.”
The president of URO, Alexander Bingham, an architecture major from Dripping Springs, was part of the Center for Undergraduate Research last year when he participated in research titled “The Study of Carbon Footprints of Two Proposed Sights.”
Bingham understood that his research was interdisciplinary, and enjoyed the diversity of the majors of the members of his research team and believes that it was an integral part of their success.
“URO allows a number of different students across campus to apply and be plugged into the Center for Undergraduate Research,” he said.
The program’s benefits vary from developing relationships with faculty to increasing enrollment in graduate programs and becoming aware of new theories or real-world problems, Diaz said.
Recently, Diaz said, 17 Tech students were accepted to share their research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research.
“We offer money for student researchers to travel to conferences to present their findings,” she said. “There they can network with other researchers and faculty.”
Anna Thomas, the unit coordinator for the Center of Undergraduate Research emphasizes the importance of getting involved early.
“Get registered in our database and start networking with faculty,” Thomas said. “Be proactive. It is a time commitment, but it’s worth it. It opens up a lot of doors.”
Thomas also sees URO as a place where students can start understanding the concept of research and stop thinking of it as an abstract idea. She said URO is for students of every major and is the organization to join to find out what type of research is best for a person’s particular interests.
Diaz said every research project is based on the individual and students should not come to college believing that undergraduate research is unattainable or that it is only for science majors.
When a student joins URO, they are able to become as involved as they want until they apply for their personal research project, Diaz said. She added that when students miss the deadline for applications, the center can direct them to URO until the next year.
The Undergraduate Research Organization will also be involved when Texas Tech hosts the annual research function in April to allow the students to share their findings. This year they will open it up to students from other campuses.
“Research goes beyond reading,” Bingham said. “It is the critical inquiry we have of our surroundings. Research is for knowledge and own personal success.”
More information can be found by stopping by the Center for Undergraduate Research in the Administration Building Room 341 or at www.undergraduateresearch.ttu.edu.