University News

UTRA awards constant from last year

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, March 19, 2010

Applicants for summer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards were informed of decisions March 12, and the number of awards remained the same as last year, said Besenia Rodriguez, associate dean of the College for undergraduate research.

In February, Rodriguez said the University would not be able to expand the UTRA program because of financial constraints.

“Given the economic crisis, we are proud to have been able to keep our funding rate at slightly over 200” awards, Rodriguez wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. 

She added that this number included 16 international awards for students going to places such as Mexico, Mali, Israel, Palestine, France and Indonesia, among others.
Interest in undergraduate research among social science and humanities concentrators has increased since last year, Rodriguez wrote. Her office saw a 4 percent increase in these applications relative to those in the physical and life sciences, she wrote. Last month, Rodriguez told The Herald that her office wanted to “increase the visibility of UTRAs among humanities and social science students.”

Shannon O’Brien ’12 will spend her summer conducting anthropological research in the Oaxaca region of Mexico, she said. She said she will study “the role of language difference in ethnic violence” under Paja Faudree, an assistant professor of anthropology.

Chloe O’Connell ’12 said she plans to work with a psychiatrist at Butler Hospital this summer.
O’Connell said her research will involve statistics, computer programming and computational biology. “We’re trying to figure out if there’s a genetic cause for schizophrenia and, if so, what it is,” she said.

The cooperation between students and their mentors represents a major part of the UTRA program, which pairs students with a faculty member.

Katie Pleet ’12, who will spend the summer researching “Internet-initiated sexual assaults of minors,” said she is “really excited to be participating in a collaborative research project with a professor.”