Twenty-five UGA undergraduates are using their summer vacation for individual research projects, guided by faculty mentors, with the help of $2,500 research fellowships competitively awarded by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities.
“Our students are increasingly aware of the importance of developing relationships with professors as part of the undergraduate experience. Often these relationships lead to the students competing favorably for these immersive, intensive research experiences,” says Pamela Kleiber, CURO coordinator and associate director of the Honors Program. “Professors at this university are incredibly generous in their one-on-one mentoring of students as researchers. The best part is that the students rise to their expectations!”
The fellowships are supported by the provost’s office, the Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Four other summer fellowship opportunities have been added, to work with faculty mentors in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program.
Kimberly Ann Coveney, a senior biology and psychology major from Atlanta, is the first recipient of the interdisciplinary toxicology fellowship. She is studying how chemotherapeutic agents kill cancer cells, in order to determine ways these drugs may be made more effective.
“I decided to apply for this program because I felt as though a research project in cancer studies could help me further explore my interest in oncology,” she says. “I hope that this experience will help me better understand cancer, the way it works and the methods available to combat this horrible illness.”
Her faculty mentor is Brian Cummings, a professor in pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.
“The CURO summer fellows research program is an invaluable resource for finding these students and matching their interest to specific mentors,” Cummings says. “Kimberly is a classic example of dedicated and passionate CURO student, two key traits for success in any area.”
Kelly Proctor’s dream of becoming a foreign correspondent in Asia meshes well with her research project, comparing coverage of environmental issues in Chinese newspapers with that in the New York Times. Her summer fellowship placed her in direct contact with Lee Becker, director of UGA’s Cox Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research. Becker’s specialty is conducting training workshops for international journalists.
“I’ve learned so much about the media in both countries, and I’m learning a lot of Chinese in translating the articles,” says Proctor, a senior publications management major from Urbanna, Va.
Carey Kirk, a senior from England, combines her psychology major and her interest in drama therapy at the ArtReach Foundation in Atlanta. With the guidance of David Saltz, a professor in theater and film studies, she is investigating the Foundation’s efforts to use drama therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in children affected by the war in Bosnia.
CURO research projects, which can be in any discipline, often become the capstone of students’ academic careers in the form of symposium presentations, senior thesis papers or journal articles. Summer fellows present their research at the undergraduate research symposium CURO holds on campus every spring.