Faculty Testimonies

“I have had uniformly positive experiences with the URSA Engage program. As a theorist, the barriers to entry on some of my research problems can be high. My URSA students have been highly motivated and unafraid to tackle problems well outside the scope of their coursework. One of my Engage students has remained with me after the program ended and is working on her first manuscript. When I was an undergraduate, I was introduced to research and mentored by a physics professor and it launched my research career. My hope is to be able to do the same for undergraduates at OSU who are in the same position I was years ago."

"Thanks to URSA, Buddy Terry was able to produce a documentary film about the Intercultural Learning Community on Food, Culture and Social Justice in Oregon and Ecuador and this led to an internship producing a series of films for the indigenous Cañari people in southern Ecuador. The first film, “Food Connections across Borders” was shown to great acclaim at the conference, De la Chacra a la Mesa, in Cuenca, Ecuador in December 2017. In the following months it was shown at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute in Quito, Ecuador and at an anthropological film festival in Denmark, as well as on the OSU campus. I have used the film at several conferences and to inform prospective students. During his internship, Buddy filmed several Cañari community festivals and assisted Judy Blankenship in the compiling and digitizing of a photographic archive. When Buddy graduated from our Anthropology Department we asked him to tell us in writing what he planned to do next.

He said he wanted to continue creating videos for a living: “My subject is always people reciprocating knowledge, expressing talents, communicating thoughts, interests, and feelings with one another. As the person recording all of those things, as anthropologist and cinematographer, I can’t help but be absolutely fascinated by that...This is my passion, motivation, and the reason that I love the way that these two disciplines/skill sets marry together. In the future, I want to be always creating images that change the way people think about and understand the world around them.” Buddy has kept me up to date via Facebook on his career since graduation. I am happy to report that he now makes a living as a videographer (with an anthropologist’s eye!)."

"I can honestly say that I’m inspired by the drive and commitment shown by my URSA mentees, particularly in this uncertain time of COVID19. Jessica and Morgan have become an integral part of the lab, conducting interesting and relevant research, communicating their work to scientific audiences, and conducting themselves professionally. But more importantly, I’ve gotten to know them on a personal level as we support one another during this difficult time. I hope they remain in our research group long after their internships are done because they are part of the our science family now."

"It’s such a mutually beneficial partnership! I was thrilled to have some help on a project and benefited from their perspectives, and I know that these types of experiences are incredibly valuable for students. I didn’t get experiences like this until later in undergrad so it’s really cool to kick off a student’s first year with this type of experience which will hopefully help reduce the stigma of getting involved with other similar opportunities throughout their college experience."

"In response to the 2019 call for the URSA Engage Program, Theresa and Sydney expressed a desire to better understand the process of learning and factors that influence it. Given my Applied Social Cognition (ASC) lab focuses on teaching and learning had ongoing work on this topic, it was a natural fit. Combined with my interests in study behaviors, Theresa brought her interests in how studying varies by different classes, and Sydney brought her interests in distractions. Senior undergrad Matthew added his interests in grit and we combined to do a comprehensive study of learning. The students developed the survey, took full part in the IRB process and then all analyzed the data. They then all wrote sections of the paper that after a round of revisions was published online this week. This research publication is a testament to OSU's strong efforts to foster and catalyze undergrad research."

Student Testimonies

"URSA Engage has been an invaluable experience for me at OSU. The program is an easy and effective way to begin participating in research as an undergraduate, and it opens many doors for the rest of college. URSA Engage gave me access to an experienced mentor who provided guidance for both the research we were completing as well as my professional goals (searching for internships, applying for scholarships, preparing for conferences). This program gave me a strong start in academic research that has prepared me for future research opportunities. Not only did participating in this program improve my technical skills, it also demonstrates my ability to complete research to graduate schools and future employers. I recommend this program to any student who is considering doing research but is unsure of where to start. This is where you should start."

(Parker won 2nd place in the undergraduate category at the 2020 College of Engineering Virtual Showcase for his URSA Engage presentation).

"URSA Engage has been more than a research program. Through URSA, I have gained mentorship skills, been exposed to an immense amount of research, and acquired knowledge on things that I never thought that I would learn. As a STEM major, I could not ask for more. This opportunity has enhanced my interest in health sciences and has expanded my options."

"The URSA Engage program has helped me find a sense of community, as well as allowing me to explore the various fields in which I was interested. Before coming to OSU, I didn't know what I wanted to do, because it felt like there were so many options, and I felt pressured to find something right out of high school. After arriving, I wasn't sure about which major would be the best to declare, and I was overwhelmed by the options that were before me.

When I entered the URSA program to find a research project, I talked to the professors, who were welcoming and willing to help me understand their projects. This openness and accepting nature towards incoming students, regardless of whether they knew their final goals or not, was a unique experience that gave me more confidence to partake in other on campus opportunities. Not only this, but through the actual research that I was able to do, I learnt a wide range of applicable and transferable skills, which I would be able to use for various other positions. Overall, I feel that this program is an amazing opportunity for students to feel better in discovering their passions and skills that are applicable to other fields in their lives."

"The URSA Engage Program helped me find research in the field I want to go into in the future, as well as gave me a direction for my Honors Thesis. I knew that I wanted - and would need - to do research during my undergraduate degree, but I didn't know how to get started. The URSA Engage Program gave me an easy way to enter in to the research community, and get paid for it! Through my research, I have gained experience I wouldn't have otherwise, and met other people who are interested in the intersection of music and computer science."

"This program was incredibly valuable to me because, as a freshman in college, I was not sure how to approach the topic of research on my own, but with the help from this program and my mentor, Dr. Regan A.R. Gurung, I was able to explore the field of psychological research in such an interesting way. I worked with Dr. Gurung over the summer to expand on my work and publish a paper titled "Predicting Learning: Comparing Study Techniques, Perseverance, and Metacognitive Skill" in the journal Teaching of Psychology, which is a top journal in my field! I am thrilled about the networking and career opportunities this achievement will open for me, and am so thankful to have been a part of this."

"The URSA Engage Program enabled me to make tremendous progress in my new major. Without any first-hand experience, I was able to learn the best from a top scholar in educational psychology, and I got published as an sophomore in one of the foremost journals in my field, Teaching of Psychology (click here to read the article). Looking back, I realize that, through this program, you become part of a research lab and a greater community that both believes in your potential and knows how to elevate it to the next level.

At its core, the URSA Engage Program is a great place to start, whether you want to explore or dive deeper in your interests! Because of this program, you will gain relevant, paid experience that can set you up for success in any endeavor you pursue, and the mentorship you will receive is top-notch. Even if you feel a bit iffy about applying, just apply!"