Student Experiences

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Experience Undergraduate Research - Student Stories


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2017 UGRAS Award Winner

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William Tan, Finance and Accounting, Awarded as a Junior

"As a Global Scholar, majoring in Finance and Accounting, minoring in International Business, my immersion in Malaysia (a predominantly Muslim country), among the top financial center in Asia, I gained invaluable knowledge and vantage perspective pertaining to their banking industry. The banking industry in Malaysia operates on a dual banking system (conventional and Islamic banking) which harmonizes both the civil and the Shariah law. I had the opportunity to develop familiarity with their local and international standards and laws, and cultivated understanding and respect for their culture’s political and economic systems. 

I have learned a great deal from my research abroad experience. Academically, this experience provided me with an opportunity to be a part of a research project pertinent to my major field of study that is applicable to my future career endeavor. I learned valuable life-long lessons from my mentor and colleagues, who not only advised me on my research, but also acted as a professional mentor to me. Embarking abroad, away from a familiar environment has helped elevate my personal maturity, resilience and further develop adaptability and problem solving skills."



2017 Summer Research Grant Recipient

MarthaTillson1.jpgMartha Tillson, Social Work and Psychology, Awarded as a Senior

"In the course of the research that I have undertaken this summer, I have had the opportunity to craft a research question, design measurements to address it, collect data from participants, and perform analyses to address my inquiry. As an undergraduate, the opportunity to engage in primary data collection with human subjects, particularly with such a unique population, is a rare and valuable experience; it has been enlightening and empowering to control each step of the research process, and invaluable to work so closely with an experienced and knowledgeable faculty mentor."

Martha's research has been published - listed as First Author in publication.

Tillson, M., Strickland, J., and Staton, M. (2017). Age of First Arrest, Sex, and Drug Use as Correlates of Adult Risk Behaviors Among Rural Women in Jails. (In Press, Women & Criminal Justice).  


Undergraduate Research UKNow

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2015 UGRAS Award Winner

Faith Van Meter, Psychology, Awarded as a Junior

“Having the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Cambridge was life changing, both personally and for my future career. I was able to learn about myself and become a more independent person while simultaneously working with other researchers about topics that I was interested in. I developed a deeper understanding and passion for my research and made several really great memories and friends along the way!”


Publication Success

Samuel Potter, Biology, Junior – listed as First Author in publication.

Potter, S., Krall, R.M., Mayo, S. Johnson, D., Zeidler-Watters, K., and Cooper, R.L. (2015). Population dynamics based on resource availability and founding effects: live and computational models. (In Press, The American Biology Teacher).


2015 Research Travel Grant Recipients 

Esias Bedingar, Biology and Public Health, Awarded as a Freshman 

"Before starting research, I didn't know that it would be an important part of my undergraduate life. Research is totally different from being in class; it is a matter of understanding rather than memorizing. As I want to pursue an MD/PhD, it gave me a better perspective of what I want to do and how to achieve it. Thanks to research, I am also able to network with faculty members and researchers. When you do research, you will need to share your findings with other scientists through presentations and conferences. That's when the travel research grant was really helpful to me. The Office of Undergraduate Research here at UK helps you financially to go and present your research at any conference. Take advantage of it!"



Shelby ​Meier, Biology, Awarded as a Senior 

"Participating in undergraduate research had such an incredible impact on my undergraduate career, and even influenced me to pursue a PhD in Physiology! Outside of the knowledge I gained on neurodegenerative diseases, I gained confidence in myself and my ability to think critically. Presenting my work at national and international conferences showed me how exciting and dynamic research can be. Receiving a travel research grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research helped make that experience even better. I would highly recommend participating in undergraduate research and applying for a travel award through the Office of UGR."


Student Research Testimonials 

Joshua Morgan, Electrical Engineering 

“I’ve been working in Dr. Cooper’s lab for just under a semester now, and I have really enjoyed seeing how my engineering education is able to be used in my research work. We are working on a project to measure neurotransmitters within live animals. It turns out that these biological systems can be modeled and understood as electrical circuits! The technique we are using is called in vivo electrochemistry – we apply voltage within the animal and measure the resulting electrical current.  Before working on this project, I was not aware of how closely neurological systems matched those of electrical systems. Although I am less familiar with the biology/chemistry aspects of these systems, I can quickly understand the electrical aspects due to my electrical engineering background. It has been very exciting to join the neuroscience and engineering fields in our project, and I hope to work in a similar capacity in my career. “


Madison Sanden, Mathematics 

“I never realized until working with Dr. Cooper that math was used so regularly in biological research and investigation. I’ve enjoyed putting together presentation materials that demonstrate the education module to students so they can use it in their classrooms. While I was in middle school and high school, I was never introduced to the ways in which biology incorporates math, but after working with this module, I’ve seen many benefits to its incorporation in classrooms. Many students, like myself, feel that they have to choose one route, be it math or science. In reality, the two fields actually have much overlap, and it’s important for students to see this early on while they are still developing their passions and areas of interest. While it may be a seemingly unnatural fit for a math major to spend time in a biology lab, I feel my work is actually at the forefront of where math and science are going.”