Hamline University
October 10, 2012

Undergraduate Researchers Participate in Fall Symposium

HHMI Main

Students participating in undergraduate research had the opportunity to present their projects to others in the local scientific community during Hamline’s first annual Fall Research Symposium. The event was sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) which recently provided Hamline with a $1.1 million grant to support undergraduate research in the sciences.

“It’s always exciting for us when our research students are able to share all their hard work,” said Biology Professor Jodi Goldberg. “They’re working ten weeks, 40 hours a week, spending a lot of time in the lab, experiencing the ups and downs of research, and I think this is a really good way to learn how to present data and share findings with the scientific community.”

The grant from HHMI is being used to develop a new program called Engaging Science Students through Investigative Research. This expands the university’s science education programs and funds additional research opportunities for undergraduate students pursuing degrees in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, pre-med, and pre-health science. This is the largest grant Hamline’s science department has ever received and allows for 22 additional students to conduct summer collaborative research projects.

“Especially in the sciences, doing a real research project is a significant experience and one that undergraduates will remember,” Chair of the biology department, Dr. Pres Martin said. “It gives them a lot of insight into what a research career may be like.”

Students participating in research projects dedicate their summers to the work in order to find answers to common problems.

“It’s exciting. You spend the whole summer trying to figure everything out and the reward is presenting it,” said Lynn Sandhofer, a student researcher.

Students at the fall symposium presented their findings, whether they were preliminary or final, on posters set up around the room which explained their topics, research methods, and conclusions. Among the dozens of projects, student Ingrid Haugan presented her research about how water interacts with different surfaces.

“If we understand this, we can engineer bridges that don’t rust and other structures that need to be resistant to water exposure” Haugan said.

Among the other opportunities for Hamline research students throughout the year is the chance to present their findings at academic conferences across the country. Hamline traditionally sends one of the largest groups of students to the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

Find out more about the HHMI grant

To find out more about what it's like for students to present their work at conferences like NCUR, watch the video below.