All students now eligible for grant funded research

Honors students are not the only ones able to pursue funding for undergraduate research through the University.UVM now offers up to $500 in funding for each student interested in pursuing undergraduate research for faculty-mentored undergraduate research in all disciplines.UVM Mini Grants, introduced this semester, offer students a chance to receive University money for expenses in any area of academic interest — including expenses associated with creative projects, according to the Honors College website.Undergraduate Research Coordinator Gayle Bress said that the research can range from compiling a short documentary film, investigating modern art or composing and recording a folk/rock record, she said.”We’re hoping to fund as many creative proposals as we can,” Bress said.There are 20 awards of up to $500 each available through this grant per semester, she said.According to the Honors College website, 17 Mini Grants were awarded this spring, including 11 in the hard sciences.  Students pursuing creative research are happy to be exploring different options outside of the classroom and designing part of their education.”Much of the time, it seems we as students and even individual learners are driven toward knowing a fact, being able to solve an equation and arguing a point effectively whether we agree with the point or not,” senior Katie Moritz said.Left-brain activities are not always the most educational tools, however.”I have found that sense of creativity again in my senior year as I make my way through writing a collection of short stories focusing on how we experience our bodies in foreign environments,” she said.Moritz said that this feeling was ignited by her relationship with her faculty mentor, Lisa Schnell, who encouraged and inspired her to take her creative work seriously. Undergraduate students in all disciplines also have the opportunity to apply for URECA Grants, which are designed to promote mentored undergraduate research.  These grants offer up to $4,000 of support for students, including a $1,000 outright award and up to $3,000 in research expenses.These competitive grants are “structured to mirror both the application process and the execution of a program that would typically be funded by an external granting agency,” according to the Honors College website.For students interested in doing scientific research in labs, there are additional funding opportunities.   One instance is the Science Summer research grants that offers funding for students in the sciences to pursue internships.  According to the Honors College website, there is a total of up to $4,500 available per student under these grants, including a $3,500 stipend.  There is not yet an equivalent grant for research in the humanities, however.”It often costs more to do basic undergraduate scientific research than it does to do the same level of humanities research,” senior Morgan Moeglein, who is pursuing a thesis research in plant biology said.”However, there are many avenues for motivated science students to gain funding if they need it,” she said.    Senior Tyler Mayo, who is working on a thesis in the classics, said he believes it is normal for scientific work to receive more funding.”It seems like undergraduate research in the sciences is given a higher priority, whereas undergraduate programs for the humanities are focused more on having students just get their feet wet,” he said.  “It would be nice if there were more accessible opportunities, but I have been able to do most of my research through getting books on interlibrary loan.”