Undergraduate Researchers Visit the Capitol
Legislators learn about diverse research at all four university campuses.
Some of the state’s most inquisitive minds gathered today, March 7, for the University of Missouri System’s annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in Jefferson City.
A total of 40 students from the university’s four campuses discussed their work with their local legislators and other visitors. Each student was selected in a competitive process and recommended by his or her campus, including 22 from the MU campus; one from UMKC; 11 from Missouri S&T; and six from UMSL.
The students showcased their research from a variety of disciplines, including biochemistry, business and information science, anthropology and the plant sciences. In addition to visits from their legislators, students also described their work to UM System President Tim Wolfe, who spent the morning checking out their research posters on display in the Capitol rotunda.
“I am continually impressed by the ingenuity, determination and skill shown by our students, and I’m proud that our students—even at the undergraduate level—have the opportunity to do research with world-class scholars,” Wolfe said. “Not only does this expose students to the wonders and possibilities of research, and the importance of discovering ‘new knowledge,’ it also helps develop them as future scientists and budding entrepreneurs whose work one day could result in new businesses and more jobs, as well as improve the quality of life for our fellow citizens.”
Some of the research topics presented at Research Day included environmental research in Phelps County; an analysis of data management in banking and insurance; a study of trade patterns during the Mississippian period; and research on a test aimed to improve breast cancer detection.
“What we saw here is the beginning of ideas that could lead to important solutions to issues we face every day,” said Steve Graham, UM System senior associate vice president for academic affairs. “Our university is fortunate to have one of the nation’s most robust and diverse research programs, offering both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to test their ideas in real-world settings.”
In an effort to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, the UM System in 2010 granted students the rights to their intellectual property developed while enrolled in one of the University of Missouri System’s campuses. Unlike many other universities, students may own any copyrightable or patentable works developed during their enrollment as a student.
Research has been a part of the mission of the University of Missouri since it became a land-grant university more than 150 years ago. Today, the university’s four campuses and network of research parks and incubators account for 95 percent of all research under way in public higher education institutions across the state. Although much of this research is conducted at the graduate and professional level, opportunities are available for undergraduates to be involved in various research experiences.
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