Purpose of the award
The award is designed to provide research and creative activity experiences to students who have been historically underrepresented in undergraduate research. In doing so, the program seeks to enhance the academic experience, educational outcomes, and future educational pursuits of students of all identities.
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement (2017) there are gaps in undergraduate research participation for students of diverse racial and socioeconomic identities.
- Nationwide, students who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black or African American, LatinX, and Asian Pacific Islander report participating in research with faculty at lower rates compared to other students.
- Only 18% of first-generation students reported being involved in research with a faculty member.
- Only 4.5% of all first-year students report intentions to get involved with undergraduate research during their first year.
The program seeks to address these inequities by encouraging participation in undergraduate research for students holding these diverse identities.
More importantly, undergraduate research has been identified as a High Impact Practice for students, which can have an impact on student success.
A pipeline of students engaged with research during their first year prepares them for future opportunities including Undergraduate Research awards, McNair Scholars and graduate school.
Lastly, developing strong academic and social connections during the first years of college is critical for long-term student success, which is why the program focuses on first and second year students.
Students will work on projects designed by the University of Nevada, Reno faculty mentors.
Projects should be scoped to be appropriate for freshmen and sophomores with limited prior research experience. Projects are welcome in all fields – Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and STEM – with particular emphasis on the need to provide more STEM research opportunities to those typically underrepresented within these fields. Listing of suggested minimum skills or areas of academic interest is advisable to attract suitable candidates.
Successful candidates will work for a total of 148 hours in a semester on the project and produce a poster or other suitable presentation to be given at the annual Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium held each spring semester.
Solicitation and application
The projects will be advertised by Undergraduate Research to students, who will then complete an application. All applicants for a specific project will be reviewed by the mentors and the candidates will be ranked. Final selection of candidates will be made by Undergraduate Research in consultation with the mentors.
An award of $1,800, provided by the University, will go to the student in the form of salary as a student worker. Students will work approximately 10 hours per week over a 15-week semester.
These projects will be conducted roughly between January 20-May 15 (finalized dates will be determined between the students and mentors). Students will be paid biweekly for hours worked during the spring semester.
- Attend the program orientation.
- Complete a “plan for research form” with your student.
- Attend the Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium to support your student.
- Students and faculty mentor will have to complete two progress reports during the spring semester.
The projects will be conducted over the spring semester from approximately January 20-May 1.
- Projects must be in by late August. (This date corresponds to the date the application is available to students.)
- Students will apply by the end of October.
- After the application period, mentors will have time to review student applications, set up interviews (optional), and decide on their top picks.
- Student-mentor matches will then be determined and decisions will be disseminated to students and mentors by the beginning of November.
Due to budget constraints, not all projects proposed for funding will necessarily be funded. Funding decisions will be based on available funds, number of applicants and number of projects funded per mentor.
Participating mentors & projects for spring 2021 (applications due fall 2020)
- Won-Gyu Choi: Targeted gene-editing in plants
- Eric Crosbie: Analysis of food and beverage industries interference in health policy
- Ran Duan: Communicating climate change in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Staci Emm: Native American Food Sovereignty
- Staci Emm: Nevada farm market demographic study
- Laina Geary: Electrocatalytic oxidation of molecules
- Colin Grudzien: Reproducible scientific software development for predictability
- Monika Gulia-Nuss: Developing an anti-tick vaccine
- K.D. Joshi: Analysis of unequal gender representation in information technology
- Sarah Keyes: Understanding how Western women’s suffrage impacted gender, race, and citizenship
- Jose Miguel Leon: The future of The Center
- John Louie: Assembling 3D earthquake modeling results for Nevada cities
- Julie E. Lucero: Understanding the impact of gentrification on housing security and health within local Latinx families
- Casey Lynch: Social impacts of robots in public and private spaces
- Sarah Mitchell: Intersecting identities and relationships study
- Ignacio Montoya: The Pyramid Lake dialect of Northern Paiute
- Tin Nguyen: Multi-omics data integration and cancer subtyping
- Jenny Ouyang: Analyzing effects of artificial light at night on animal function
- Maryan Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh: Engineering therapeutics for targeting of metalloproteinases
- Maryan Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh: Engineering stimuli-responsive therapeutics for developing novel therapeutics and drug delivery tools
- Teresa Schultz: Improving the University’s library spaces for first-generation students
- Mariann Weierich: Mechanisms of trauma-related phenomena
- Thomas White: Understanding the behavior of planetary interiors
- Jun Zhang: Developing a humanoid robot with artificial muscles
- Mentor project submittals: Through late-August
- Student’s application due date: Monday, Oct. 19, 2020
- Student-mentor matches finalized: Early-November
- Projects conducted between: Jan. 20-May 1, 2021
The list of PREP projects is updated as mentor projects become available. Once the application is available to students, no new projects will be added for that semester's solicitation.
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