by Matt Kelly
Hurd and Ed Ayers
New office champions undergrad
By Matt Kelly
University is expanding the College Fellowship Office in Garrett
Hall to encompass undergraduate research.
office, to be managed by Nicole Hurd, will act as a clearinghouse
for information about undergraduate research opportunities, both
at the University and around the country. Aside from promoting
research opportunities, it will also support students in their
research, work with them on grant proposals and showcase their
work. Hurd, who has been working part time, will now become a
new office, to be called the Office for Fellowships and Undergraduate
Research, was announced at the presentation ceremony for the Harrison
Undergraduate Research Awards, in the Rotunda Dome Room Feb. 14.
chair Robert Grainger was joined by Arts
& Sciences Dean Edward L. Ayers and Vice
President and Provost Gene Block, in describing the new effort.
office was the brainchild of President
John T. Casteen III, former Arts & Sciences Dean Melvyn Leffler
and former assistant dean Steve Plog. It was brought to fruition
by Grainger, Ayers and Block.
also praised Shadi Kourosh and Lauren Purnell, students who helped
create the Undergraduate Research Network, for their efforts generating
and pursuing the idea. The network will be a student-run component
of the office.
spoke about how she and Kourosh worked out details of what undergraduate
researchers need on a chalkboard in an old barn in Italy last
said the two students approached him and later made a presentation
to the Faculty Senate about the network idea as a way for students
to share information with each other. Then Grainger talked with
Ayers and Block about an office of undergraduate research. Everyone
was enthusiastic about it, but there were concerns about funding.
Grainger credited Ayers and Blocks offices with supporting
the effort, along with Casteen who contributed some money from
the David A. Harrison Trust.
of the outstanding characteristics of U.Va. what Ayers
called a joy is combining the benefits of a
research school with those of a four-year liberal arts college.
The new office adds another piece to that picture. He praised
Hurd and assistant deans William M. Wilson and Lynn Davis, who
act as advisers for the fellowship office.
benefit from having faculty members whose teaching enthusiasm
is enhanced by the research they perform, even if it sometimes
cuts into time with students, Block said. Undergraduate researchers
also benefit from working closely with senior faculty members
in the lab, and the faculty can be energized by students
zeal for research. He noted that student authors had been listed
on research papers from his department.
think its spectacular, terrific, said Block. This
will coordinate undergraduate research opportunities.