Undergraduate Research

Building a Foundation for Discovery

Published Mar. 25, 2015

At RIT, student-centered research means that undergraduates are in the driver’s seat, conducting research assignments that their peers at other universities often don’t see until graduate school. This hands-on experience at all undergraduate levels is consistent with RIT’s history as an experiential learning university, exemplified through its world-renowned cooperative education program. By providing undergraduates the opportunity to do genuine research work, students learn the following at RIT:

  • Research project planning
  • Project troubleshooting
  • Real problem solving
  • Research assessment

These hands-on skills become the foundation of scientific research.

To show its commitment, RIT wants to increase the number of students pursuing careers in science and mathematics by establishing a $1 million undergraduate research fund in its College of Science.

The Fred L. Emerson Foundation (http://www.rit.edu/development/giving/whygive/priorities/EmersonChallenge) has offered to give the university a $250,000 challenge grant contingent upon RIT raising the remaining $750,000 in new gifts and pledges by Oct. 1, 2015. The university is actively seeking commitments from trustees, alumni, faculty, corporations, foundations and the community.

“The challenge grant presents us with an opportunity we at RIT—and the rest of the nation—cannot afford to pass up,” said Sophia Maggelakis, RIT Dean of the College of Science. “Our nation needs more students studying the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines if we are to keep up with the growing complexities and demands of the future. RIT is currently second in the nation among private universities in the number of STEM graduates annually, and this fund will go a long way to help us achieve our goal of being No. 1.”

The fund, to be called the Emerson Endowed Fellowship Program for Undergraduate Research in the College of Science, will allow RIT to double the number of undergraduate students conducting fulltime scientific research during the summer. The new fund will support 30 undergraduate researchers. Current funding is limited to 15 College of Science students during the summer.

To learn more about the Emerson Foundation Challenge, visit: http://www.rit.edu/news/story.php?id=51085