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SUROP provides research opportunities for students

Throughout time, scientists have discovered that research is one of the major factors in keeping the human race alive. From trying to find cures for sicknesses, to discovering new diseases or vaccines, research is constantly being used to enlighten the world.

When one thinks of researchers and discovering new cures for different diseases and sicknesses, one may picture well-educated adults with masters, doctorates, and other higher education degrees. Here at UMKC, administrators provide grants, called the Search and SUROP (Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity) Grant, to give students the opportunities to conduct their own research in their own areas of interest.

“The Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity (SUROP) was introduced to UMKC in Summer 2014,” said Professor Jane Greer. “In order to help students stay connected to UMKC and to faculty mentors throughout the entire year, UMKC’s Office of Undergraduate Research opted to direct some of the strategic investment funds toward opportunities for students to focus on research projects during the summer . . . and SUROP was inaugurated.”

Before students can start doing their own research, there are a few steps to follow to receive the grant, such as taking EUReka classes — Experiences in Undergraduate Research.

“These EUReka courses incorporate the 4 key characteristics of undergraduate research into the class,” Greer said.  “The first two EUReka classes–sections of Discourse 200 offered by Sheila Honig and Musicianship IV offered by David Thurmaier–are being taught this semester.  In the fall, there will be EUReka classes in Biology, Political Science, Mathematics, and Honors/History, pending course approvals.  And hopefully, even more EUReka courses will be offered in Spring 2016.”

The next step is to decide on an area of interest for the research. Students are advised to research topics that they’re passionate about. This step is very important, because students will be continuously researching for one or two semesters.

Another step is to find a faculty mentor.

“There are 4 key characteristics that make undergraduate research a high impact educational experience, and #1 is that students connect with a faculty mentor,” Greer said. “Having a faculty mentor is absolutely critical for undergraduate researchers.  A mentor helps a student define a project, locate resources, troubleshoot problems, prepare for presentation or publication and model what it means to be a part of a research, scholarly, or artistic community.”

The last step to receiving the Search and grant is filling out the application. To complete the application, students need to provide their personal information, a research proposal, a mentor recommendation, and read over the guidelines and regulations of the Research and SUROP Grant.

“SUROP applications are only accepted during the spring semester,” Greer said.  “During the fall semester, students can apply for SEARCH funding to support undergraduate research projects they might undertake in partnership with a faculty mentor through the academic year.”

The SUROP grant deadline for this year is March 3. All applications must be turned in by this date in order to be considered for the grant. If interested, students can find more information on the undergraduate research website at http://www.umkc.edu/searchsite/ and also on the Undergraduate Research – UMKC Facebook page.

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