How can we prevent the death of brain cells in Alzheimer’s patients? How can we enhance learners’ motor skills? How can we create interactive theater using drones? These are just a few real-world problems that research and creative activity at UNLV recently sought to address.
Even more remarkable than the solutions sought, however, are the people doing the seeking.
Undergraduate students are taking on these and many other research endeavors and creative activities at UNLV, and they have a new partner to support them in their efforts: the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). One of the newest units within the Division of Research and Economic Development and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, OUR works to inspire and nurture undergraduates in their efforts to discover, innovate, create, and experience research and creative activity at UNLV. OUR provides undergraduates with resources such as faculty mentors and professional development programs that these students need to successfully conduct advanced research and produce creative output.
Last year, undergraduate Sarah Beth Brooks teamed up with Jacob Thompson, director of UNLV's award-winning Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum as well as an associate professor in residence in the department of communication studies. Brooks explored a method for analyzing large documents — for instance, the nearly 5,000 pages of grand jury testimony that resulted in the determination regarding indictment in the death of Michael Brown.
With the mentoring of Ai-Sun Tseng, assistant professor in the school of life sciences, undergraduate Philip Hyunbae Son examined the effects that exposure to methylisothiazolinone, a strong preservative commonly found in household products like cosmetics and bath soaps, has on neural behavior.
Both student researchers were among the first-place prize winners in last semester’s Undergraduate Research Forum.
Students like Brooks and Son who are engaged in research and creative activity develop practical skills in a hands-on environment alongside UNLV’s top-notch research faculty, which prepares them to be leaders in the community and beyond.
Find out more about the innovative undergraduate research taking place at UNLV and how you can get involved on the Office of Undergraduate Research website.