UGA freshman Alex Orellana knows from personal experience how painful and intensive the rehabilitation process can be when he suffered serious leg injuries after playing competitive soccer for many years.
Now as an apprentice with UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, he is working in UGA’s biomechanics laboratory with kinesiology professor Cathleen Brown, assisting in a study of participants with various levels of ankle instability. Orellana is one of 24 freshmen and sophomores selected for the apprentice program this year.
“Before I began this project, I had never done anything related to exercise and sports science academically, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to learn about the field, while gaining first-hand experience,” said Orellana.
Through CURO, the Honors Program has been promoting these research partnerships at the onset of college so that the students can delve right into their fields of interest and explore various options of their chosen career paths. The apprentices attend a weekly interdisciplinary seminar with a strong writing component that focuses on issues and methods related to conducting research.
Invited speakers such as Jay Hakes, director of the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta, provide an expert perspective on timely national topics and encourage further debate and discussion among the apprentices.
“The small weekly seminar provides the support and encouragement for these undergraduates who are undertaking the challenge of research,” said Pamela Kleiber, associate director of the Honors Program. “CURO apprentices may decide to don white lab coats to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with nationally and internationally recognized research faculty, while other apprentices prefer to create art or investigate psychological or social problems, political processes or international affairs.
Diversity of individuals, programs of study, thought and approach is integral to the CURO apprentice program.”