ST. GEORGE, Utah, Oct. 5, 2016 – With an understanding of the positive impact undergraduate research has on its students, Dixie State University is increasing efforts to encourage undergraduate research through the Undergraduate Research (UR) Office, now in its second year.
The UR Office acts as a resource for students as well as faculty. Engaging in research opens a variety of doors for students including opportunities to network with faculty advisors and co-researchers, possible internships and a higher likelihood of being accepted into graduate school. Rico Del Sesto, a Dixie State assistant professor in chemistry and newly appointed Director of Undergraduate Research, leads the office.
“There is increased critical thinking and innovation that happens when students participate in research that a majority of classrooms don’t give,” said Del Sesto. “My goal is that undergraduate research has more of a presence on campus.”
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The office aims to change the misconception that research can only be done by graduate students or by professionals in the sciences. Currently, for example, the College of the Arts develops and re-envisions historical plays. The students and instructors also test the effects of different elements within glazes on pottery, a collaborative effort between both the Art and Chemistry departments.
Del Sesto emphasizes that the addition and implementation of the UR Office is not aimed at changing Dixie State into a research institution, but rather to act as a resource for students to further their experiential education while obtaining their undergraduate degree. This aligns with Dixie State’s motto of “active learning, active life.”
Additional efforts from the UR Office will include holding workshops on various research topics, partnering faculty and staff mentors with students, connecting students to internships and building a database of research happening locally as a resource for students and faculty.
If students or faculty members have an interest in beginning research, they are encouraged to speak with advisors of their department. The UR Office works to educate all advisors about available opportunities and where they should send interested individuals. Starting research endeavors within a department also facilitates mentorship between faculty, staff and students as they work together on research in their field.
For more information on the Undergraduate Research Office’s work or to donate or sponsor a research scholarship, contact the Director of Undergraduate Research Rico Del Sesto at firstname.lastname@example.org.