UMKC awarded select undergraduate researchers with Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) grants and an opportunity to present posters Thursday at Miller Nichols Library. The program provides funding for student research projects.
SUROP funded roughly 20 students this summer. Upon their return to UMKC, they all stood eagerly by their posters to demonstrate the summer’s hard work and accomplishments.
Dr. Jane Greer, UMKC’s Director of Undergraduate Research, expressed her amazement.
“If you take the time to talk to the students, you realize how passionate they are about the projects they’ve done. You realize how much they’ve learned. When you do authentic research, it creates some sort of power and agency.” said Greer.
“You only get one SUROP grant in your undergraduate degree” explained Deena Essa, a Political Science major at UMKC who received a grant this summer. “My research was about civic organizations in India. We did a case study of the cattle industry in India, because some new laws have been passed to ban the slaughter of cows, which hurt a lot of the minority Muslim-owned businesses in India.”
Students from all disciplines can apply for a SUROP grant.
Nathan Hay, a Geology major, was able to conduct some research on Maar volcanoes, which are created by ground water underneath the surface of the Earth with magma pushing up from below the water.
“It was great and one of the best learning experiences,” said Hay. “I’m trying to get into graduate school, so research is a huge component of being accepted into grad school.” His experiment was conducted inside an acrylic box, so he could tell the deformation change that occurred after an eruption.
“Creating a model, or predicting it, is something I was trying to do, but this is such a rudimentary experiment that it’s kind of hard to do that with the data points I had,” Hay explained.
Meanwhile, Kennady Gales, an English major with an emphasis on Language and Rhetoric, was able to travel to Washington, D.C. with the SUROP grant. She worked with the University of Maryland to see how regionalism could affect texts in zines, which are hand-made or self-published magazines.
“It’s really important to view a text by its region, because often times we consider race, ethnicity and socio-economic background as the big pickers for how we look at a text, when region is just as important.” said Gales.
Psychology major Karla Vega studied the difference between people of color and Caucasians when it comes to seeking mental health treatment.
“The results were that only age, time since death and depression were associated with considering mental health treatment, but being a person of color did not.” said Vega. “I’m really grateful that we have something like this [program] on campus, because we, as students, should gain a lot of experience and knowledge. I feel like we also developed networking skills and we learned a lot from our professors.”
Similarly, UMKC also offers SEARCH grants, which stands for Students Engaged Artistry and Research. It is similar to the SUROP program, but they are able to conduct their projects over the course of the academic year, rather than just the summer. The deadline for SEARCH applications is on September 15, 2017.