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"Evidence shows that students who engage in undergraduate research perform better academically"

David Lee
Vice President for Research


For the Record

UGA Embraces
Undergraduate Research


Undergraduates attending a research-intensive university have the opportunity to enhance learning through direct participation in research and scholarship. At UGA, these opportunities span the gamut from the physical, life, and social sciences to the arts and humanities. They enable undergraduates to participate in ground-breaking research, often as part of a team of graduate students, fellows and faculty. The resulting experiences expose students to the highs—and lows—of cutting-edge research and provide valuable lessons and perspectives that remain with students for the rest of their lives.

David LeeEvidence shows that students who engage in undergraduate research perform better academically, and of course we hope that some students become so enamored with research that they devote their lives to advancing knowledge through discovery and innovations. This was true in my own case, when, as an undergraduate uncertain of my future path, I wandered into a laboratory at my alma mater. Little did I know then that I would spend my last two undergraduate years working every available hour in the lab, as I got completely hooked on the research and the unique camaraderie a research team can provide. Helping to recruit the next generation of researchers should be high on the priority list of every great university, as there is no more important function than ensuring the future of scholarly enquiry.

Among the impressive attributes of UGA is the campus-wide enthusiasm and commitment to undergraduate research. It is not uncommon for UGA research groups to include up to a dozen undergraduates simultaneously. More than one UGA faculty member has told me that they couldn’t continue their research operations without these teams of undergraduates.

The heart and brain of this thriving effort is the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO), a jewel in the crown of the UGA Honors Program. Under the able guidance of Pam Kleiber and Honors Director David Williams, CURO has developed a remarkable array of programs to not only engage UGA undergraduates, but also to provide opportunities for promising high school students. CURO also hosts an annual research symposium, helps students attend national research meetings, and sponsors an online journal that provides students the important opportunity to publish their research. A second, international annual CURO symposium, held in Costa Rica, provides an invaluable international context for student research endeavors. Given this level of commitment and opportunity, it is no surprise that CURO alumni are among the most accomplished and honored UGA undergraduates, including many of those who win major national awards and scholarships.

CURO reflects the very best of what a great university should provide for its students and its society. UGA can be justifiably proud of the CURO record of accomplishment, and we are pleased to feature CURO undergraduates in this issue.

David Lee
Vice President for Research


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Research Communications, Office of the VP for Research, UGA

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