OUR is readily engaged in every aspect of student success in research and creative sholarship. The students we help go on to lead long successfull careers, some continuing on in research.
Lauren Cashman, Graduating Biological Systems Engineer, is one that was truly affected by her participation in undergraduate research.
"I spent my sophomore year in the Bickford Lab (fall 2013-spring 2014) and have now been in the Pediatric Medical Device Institute since August 2015. My project with Dr. Bickford was investigating photo thermal therapy using gold-gold sulfide nanoparticles, and particularly how that could elicit anti-tumor immunity. In PMDI with Dr. Muelenaer, my project is the development of a system for wireless temperature monitoring for malnourished infants in low-resource hospitals, because malnourished infants present high risk for hypothermia. I worked with Dr. Bickford in Kelly Hall and with Dr. Muelenaer in Dr. Al Wick’s mechatronics lab in Goodwin Hall.
Undergraduate research has taught me so much about both autonomy and collaboration. It takes lots of trust from professors to allow students to be innovative with their ideas and funding, and it has taught me to perform confidently in that trust and to produce some creative engineering. Simultaneously, I have learned about the many different resources students have available to learn from, primarily other students in other disciplines. It is a blast to work on a project with someone from a different personal and educational background. Undergraduate research is the key to understanding the variety of opportunities a degree can bring. By actually applying what you're learning and meeting other students and academics who are doing that, it makes pursuing a degree much more relevant to the future and fun. Plus, research opens the door to fun opportunities like projects, competitions, and conferences!"
We hope that each student engaged in undergraduate research here at Virginia Tech comes away with experiences like the ones Lauren did.