Cultivating a spirit of discovery among undergraduates

Gilson Capilouto, PhD, is a respected clinician scientist. She teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the communication sciences and disorders program, as well as doctoral students in rehabilitation sciences. Capilouto hopes to instill a spirit of discovery in CHS undergrads through her position as director of undergraduate research at the College of Health Sciences. In the Q&A below, she explains why research experience is necessary for all students seeking a career in health care. 

Why do you think it is important for undergraduates to engage in research?

I believe the scientific process is a mirror of the healthcare professional's approach to clinical work. When we see a patient, we are gathering information, developing hypotheses based on that information, and then testing those hypotheses via selected treatments. Based on those results- we either confirm our original idea(s) or adjust our hypotheses and start the process again. 

How can research help our graduates progress in their academic journeys and into their future careers?

Participating in research helps students develop critical thinking skills necessary to their practice as healthcare professionals. They better understand the fact that research informs what they do clinically and they also develop the necessary skills to be critical consumers of science as part of their commitment to life long learning.

What makes the undergraduate research program at CHS unique?

The hands-on support for both faculty and students is the hallmark feature of the CHS UGR program. I think the depth and breadth of the College's research portfolio is another unique  feature; students can engage in a wide range of of human health science topics- from basic science research to research focused on health care policy. And of course, we have the undergraduate certificate in research - the only one on campus.

Why is research important to you?

Research is paramount to everything we do as healthcare professionals. The better we are at helping students understand this synergy, the better prepared they'll be going out into the world. And besides, it's great fun!