Undergraduate Research = Life-changing Opportunities

Luke (second from left), with graduate students and post-doctoral researchers at a conference at the Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul, Brazil

When Luke Shadler ’17 came to RIT as a freshman, he didn’t envision traveling the world as a sophomore. As he continues his bachelor’s degree studies in physics, his involvement in undergraduate research has not only taken him to new lands, it has provided him opportunities that most graduate students don’t have.

Luke’s undergraduate research work has been as a team member on an ongoing project in RIT’s Astrophysics department. As part of Luke’s research work, and under a Ph.D. mentor’s teaching, he became expert at the unique and highly complex data analysis needed to support the research project – so expert, in fact, that when it came time to attend a workshop with collaborators on the project  from around the world, Luke presented the data analysis. In May 2015, Luke was in Brazil presenting alongside Thaisa Storchi-Bergmann, head of astrophysics research at the Federal University of Rio Grande Do Sul. Luke was the only undergraduate in the room, presenting research analysis normally addressed by Ph.D. candidates.

“A fellow researcher emailed me afterward and referred to me as ‘Dr. Shadler,’ “ says Luke. “I had to explain to him that I wasn’t a Ph.D. – I was still a teenager!”

The undergraduate research program in the College of Science gives invaluable opportunities to students in scientific fields. Just like co-op positions provide real-world experience to students across RIT, undergraduate research projects provide the real-world exposure needed for those pursuing research-intensive advanced study and careers.

You can support undergraduate research in the College of Science by making a gift to the Emerson Challenge.

Luke presenting astrophysics research analysis in Brazil