10 YEARS OF UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH 2004-2014 The Aresty Research Center provides opportunities for undergraduates to engage in hands-on research in all disciplines.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
10 Years of Undergraduate Research—and Much More to Do __________________________________________ 1
The Aresty Center’s Unique Model _______________________________________________________________________ 2 The Aresty Research Pathway _____________________________________________________________________________ 3
Measuring our Impact ____________________________________________________________________________________ 4
Aresty-Byrne Seminars ____________________________________________________________________________________ 5
Summer Science Program _________________________________________________________________________________ 6
Research Assistant Program ______________________________________________________________________________ 7
Undergraduate Research Fellowships ____________________________________________________________________ 8
The Undergraduate Research Symposium ________________________________________________________________ 9
Peer Instructors and Student Leadership ________________________________________________________________ 10
What Students Say: Comments from Aresty’s Student Survey __________________________________________ 11 The Aresty Center – By the Numbers ____________________________________________________________________ 12
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER 10 Years of Undergraduate Research—and Much More to Do Last April, the Aresty Center hosted the tenth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at Rutgers. With over 500 student presenters from more than 70 departments, institutes and centers across campus, the Symposium was a testament to the Aresty Center’s now-essential role in undergraduate education at Rutgers. As our programs have grown, the Aresty Center has become synonymous with intelligent, highly motivated undergraduates. This year, 1200 students applied and 350 were accepted into the Aresty Center’s Research Assistant program. Last summer, we admitted 60 sophomores—out of over 400 applicants—into the prestigious Aresty Summer Science program. And in October 2014, another 200 students applied for Aresty Fellowships to support their thesis research endeavors. Across its programs, the Aresty Center will make it possible for a combined 800 undergraduates to gain research experience in 2014. In its ten year history, it has contributed over $3 million to undergraduate researchers, and is a hub of intellectual community and undergraduate research at Rutgers. Where does the Aresty Center go from here? We are committed to increasing access to research opportunities for undergraduates. Aresty serves many of the best and brightest undergraduates at Rutgers: professors want to work with them, and we will add to the 250 active faculty mentors in our program—especially in the disciplines most in demand by undergraduates. The Aresty Center will also continue acting as a thought-leader at Rutgers, and we will push on innovative models for exposing undergraduates to research experiences and best practices for incorporating research into the classroom. Thanks to Jerome and Lorraine Aresty and their family, undergraduate research is thriving at Rutgers. The Aresty Center has offered tremendous service to Rutgers for the past ten years, and even more is yet to come.
Chuck Keeton Associate Professor, Department of Physics & Astronomy Faculty Director, Aresty Research Center for Undergraduates
Brian Ballentine, Ph.D. Executive Director, Aresty Research Center for Undergraduates
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER The Aresty Centerâ€™s Unique Model The Aresty Model vs. the Traditional Approach to Undergraduate Research The Traditional Approach
The Aresty Approach
Research is for faculty; classes are for students.
Research is integral to the learning experience.
Students must find research through their own initiative.
Finding research opportunities should be a transparent, student-friendly process.
Only advanced undergraduates should pursue research.
Students have to figure out how to do research on their own. Research is primarily preparation for graduate school.
Students should engage in research as early as possible.
Like academics, research follows a curriculum that includes advising and mentoring. Research is preparation for life.
Traditionally, universities have treated research as the terrain of faculty and ambitious students who are pursuing academic or research-focused careers. Finding a mentor and finding research opportunities have been viewed primarily as the studentâ€™s responsibilityâ€”with little, if any, consideration about the quality of mentoring or the outcomes of research for the student. Yet mounting evidence shows that participation in research provides benefits to students that the traditional classroom cannot. Through research, students discover and confirm their passions and gain the professional skills they will need after graduation. At the Aresty Center, we use a structured and transparent process to ensure that students can find the right research projects and have confidence in the mentoring they will receive. At Aresty, we also know that even the best students struggle in their first experiences with research. Students need guidance around the soft skills that lead to success in a research setting: like time management, making project plans, clarifying expectations and navigating interpersonal relationships. Students gain technical expertise in specific fields through research, but the lessons and skills from research are much broader. At Aresty, we emphasize skills that translate into a range of professional settings, both within the university and beyond it.
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER The Aresty Research Pathway First-Year Aresty-Byrne Seminars Introduce 200 students annually to hands-on faculty research
Research Assistantships • •
Summer Science Program: 60 students, 60 professors Research Assistant Program: 350 students, over 200 professors
Undergraduate Research Fellowships The Aresty Center supports 200 student-led research projects annually
Peer Instructors Aresty employs 45 undergraduate peer mentors annually
The Aresty Center has created a pathway for students at Rutgers to participate in research. In their first-year, students gain exposure to major research questions through the Aresty-Byrne Seminars—research-focused seminars led by many of the best research professors at Rutgers. Through the Summer Science and Research Assistant programs, students earn positions working with faculty in labs and archives across campus. As advanced students approach their senior theses, juniors and seniors can apply for competitive Undergraduate Research Fellowships to fund materials, field work, and travel to archives. Finally, the Aresty Center employs 45 exceptional undergraduate researchers as Peer Instructors, guiding new researchers through a discussiongroup curriculum focused on the soft-skills necessary to succeed in a professional research setting. Through this pathway, Aresty supports students from their first exposure to research through their thesis work as seniors. Our extensive support makes the Center the academic and intellectual home to many of the brightest students at Rutgers. Indeed, over the past three years, nearly 40% of the 130 students at Rutgers who have won prestigious fellowships—like the Fulbright or Mitchell scholarships—have been Aresty Center participants.
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER Measuring our Impact Since 2005, nearly 2000 students have been supported through our Research Assistant program, which introduces students to their first hands-on research experiences with professors across Rutgers. Another 800 undergraduates have received support through Aresty Research Fellowships that fund independent research and theses. From its promising beginnings in 2005, when it served just fewer than 100 students, Aresty is now poised to serve more than 800 through its four core programs in 2014.
Students Served by the Aresty Center 2014 Summer Science Program: 61
Aresty-Byrne Seminars: 200
Research Assistant Program: 351
Undergraduate Research Fellowships: 197
The Aresty Center impacts undergraduate education at Rutgers in four key areas: •
Increasing access to research: Students reap both personal and professional gains from participating in research. At Aresty, we are focused on increasing access to research opportunities both in one-on-one settings and in the classroom.
Introduce students to research early in their academic careers: Early exposure to research helps students identify their passions and begin career paths. Aresty encourages early research by supporting innovative classroom models and intensive research experiences, like the Aresty-Byrne seminars and the Summer Science program.
Identifying mentors: Rutgers is an enormous school, and many students struggle to find the mentoring and guidance they need to develop career tracks and prepare for graduate school. Through Aresty, students have the opportunity to form relationships with mentors not possible in the classroom, and graduate with tangible accomplishments from their research efforts.
Translating research skills into broader contexts: Research develops highly-desired professional skills— like the ability plan projects, test hypotheses, and explain complex concepts. Through peer discussion groups, all Aresty researchers learn how research skills translate into broader, professional contexts.
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER Aresty-Byrne Research Seminars There is a large gap between how students learn in a lecture hall and the activities and skills they need to thrive as a researcher or professional in their fields. Working in a genetics lab, for example, requires both technical and professional skills that students are unlikely to learn until they are advanced undergraduates—if at all. To bridge this gap, the Aresty Research Center and Byrne Seminars Program have created an innovative research-based seminar program that gives first-year students the opportunity to tackle research questions, build research skills, and understand what it means to be a researcher.
Students in Professor Olaf Jensen’s ArestyByrne Seminar tag fish in the Raritan River.
The Aresty-Byrne Program takes students from the classroom into labs, archives, and the field, introducing them to fundamental, hands-on research skills. The seminars focus on faculty research interests. For example, in “Making Mutants: Understanding the Control of Gene Expression,” students learn to analyze specific proteins in the lab and the role of gene expression in cancer. In “Hacking Sounds: A Hands-On Introduction to Electronic Music,” students learn how computer science is influencing musical production, while gaining technical skills in circuit design, human-robot interactions, and programming. In “Researching Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” students work with a mixture of digital resources and original manuscripts in archives to explore the complex history behind the text of one of the greatest works of English literature. Aresty-Byrne seminars are limited to 20 students, taught by our world-renowned faculty from departments and professional schools across Rutgers. In the Aresty-Byrne Seminars, students get to experience the excitement of original research, as professors share their curiosity, their intellectual passion, and how they develop new ideas and fields of knowledge. A view inside Dr. Alice Liu’s seminar, where students learn how to identify GMOs in their food.
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER Summer Science Program The Aresty Summer Science Program now serves 60 rising sophomores each year and is the largest summer research program at Rutgers. Aresty Summer Science is also among the most competitive and prestigious programs available to Rutgers undergraduates. The program offers the brightest sophomores at Rutgers the chance to work one-on-one in many of the best labs across campus. Last year, this highly competitive program drew over 400 applicants for 60 spots. The average GPA of finalists was 3.8â€”a testament to their intellectual caliber. 2014 Summer Science student Matt Flanagan
The Summer Science students commit to intensive, full-time and Dr. Pat Buckendahl at the poster session. research projects. Rising sophomores are matched with faculty mentors from across the sciences. Last summer, students worked on projects that tackled many of the most pressing challenges of our times: How can we restore the bee population? Can we develop better solar power systems? What can be done to predict or slow Alzheimerâ€™s? Are there naturally occurring compounds in plants that can prevent cancer? Can we use big data to help businesses forecast customer demand? These intensive research experiences position students for rapid advancement in faculty labs, and most students continue to work with their faculty mentors beyond the Summer Science program. By the time these students are seniors, many of them are doing graduate-level work.
2013 Summer Science students visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Page 6
The Aresty Center provides housing for all Summer Science students on-campus. By living together and supporting each other through shared challenges and the pressures of research, our students form unique bonds and create scholarly communities that endure throughout their time at Rutgers.
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER Research Assistant Program "The Aresty program allowed me to find outstanding students who are very interested in doing independent research, especially at an early stage in their academic careers. I find that these students are generally more committed than other undergraduates that have worked in my lab." â€”George Carman, Board of Governors Professor of Food Science The Aresty Research Assistant (RA) Program enables students to work on specific projects with faculty mentors from a variety of fields during the academic year. This program has grown rapidly over the past several years: from serving 104 students in 2011 to 351 in 2014. Over the same period, the number of students applying to the Research Assistant program grew from 337 to over 1100. Rutgers professors use the Aresty Center as a portal to finding the best undergraduate researchers for their projects. In 2014, Aresty is supporting research assistants working with 209 professors on more than 260 projects through the Research Assistant program. Students help Professor Lena Struwe in the lab.
Students admitted to this highly-competitive program work on incredibly diverse research projects. These projects range in subject from English to Engineering, in scale from the nuclei of cells to the nuclei of galaxies, and in scope from the behavior of genes to the behavior of nations. Arestyâ€™s RAs gain valuable research skills. They participate in training sessions and workshops, attend special events, and receive the support and guidance of a strong community of peers. The RA program also provides the opportunity to develop close working relationships with faculty members, postdoctoral and graduate students, and peers who have similar interests and can offer professional support and guidance as students navigate the demands of research.
Student-Assisted Research Projects by Field, 2014 Social Sciences 63
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER Undergraduate Research Fellowships "I believe that the Aresty Center is essential to the academic life of Rutgers. It has played a very significant role in increasing the numbers of our students engaged in research, with the consequences that our students are increasingly successful in gaining admission to graduate school, our faculties' research is enhanced, and Rutgers' reputation is increased." Professor Paul de Lacy, Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics The Aresty Undergraduate Research Fellowships support juniors and seniors who are pursuing theses or independent research projects. Through a partnership with the Honors Program at the School of Arts and Sciences, the Aresty Center funds nearly 200 fellows per year as they complete advanced undergraduate research.
2014 Aresty Fellow Joseph Zientek presents his research on restoring native bees.
The Fellowship Program is meant to provide a professional proposal experience for students. Each proposal is reviewed by Arestyâ€™s Faculty Review Board, a panel of 20 professors who read and comment on each proposal.
Funded proposals span all areas of research at Rutgers and show the strength of our undergraduates. In 2014, the Aresty Center supported research projects that included treatments for spinal cord injuries, the development of brain-controlled prosthetic limbs, understanding the psychology of gender-bias, and Aresty Center Support for Undergraduate the role of women in elected offices around the Research 2005 - 2014 RA Stipends Research Fellowships world. Many Aresty Fellows go on to present their research at professional conferences, which the Aresty Center supports through travel grants. In 2014, Aresty supported travel to locations from Boston to Melbourne, Australia for students who had earned invitations to present at major conferences in their fields. Page 8
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER The Undergraduate Research Symposium Each April, the Aresty Center hosts a celebration of undergraduate research at Rutgers—the Undergraduate Research Symposium. Since its inception, this celebration has grown to showcasing the work of more than 500 undergraduate scholars from more than 70 departments, institutes, and programs across Rutgers. The Undergraduate Research Symposium is the most visible example here at Rutgers of the growing community of undergraduate scholars engaged in all aspects of inquiry. Our undergraduates work alongside world-renowned Professor George Carman and his Aresty students faculty from across the disciplines. Last year, our guests at the 2014 Symposium. included professors, graduate students, corporate partners, and President Barchi—who heard directly from students how much research matters, not only for their education, but also for Rutgers in its role as an engine for knowledge creation and innovation. As President Barchi remarked in his keynote address: ““Nowhere else on campus will you find such a concentration of bright, engaged young investigators. The Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights all that is best about our university.” Our corporate partners raved about the enthusiasm students bring to the Symposium: “The breadth and depth of the knowledge of these undergraduates was amazing,” said Douglas Schoenberger, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs for Verizon.
President Barchi and Aresty Faculty Director Chuck Keeton with Aresty Fellowship recipient Nicole Volk at the 2014 Symposium.
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER Peer Instructors and Student Leadership The Aresty Center depends on outstanding undergraduate leaders to serve as mentors to new researchers, ambassadors to members of the Rutgers community, and consultants on the Center’s strategic direction. Aresty Peer Instructors are juniors and seniors and represent many of most well-rounded academic leaders at Rutgers: their average GPA is 3.8. They are candidates for prestigious fellowships, honors students in departments across campus, and almost unanimously headed to top-tier graduate schools. Our 2014-2015 Master Peer Instructors, who oversee our 40 other peer instructors.
Yet each of them has been shaped by their research experiences through the Aresty Center, and sought be become
peer instructors to give something back.
Each peer instructor leads bi-monthly meetings on research skills and professional development for new researchers. They serve as the first line of support when undergraduates run into challenges on research, from feeling overwhelmed to navigating interpersonal relationships in the lab. Because the peer instructors themselves found their first research opportunities through Aresty’s programs, they understand the challenges new researchers face. They also share an intimate knowledge of the Center’s programs, and serve as outstanding consultants for programmatic changes, from curriculum development to advertising strategies. The Aresty peer instructors are a highly-visible group at Rutgers. They are routinely invited to university and faculty events, asked to speak at clubs and classes, and give presentations to external stakeholders about the importance of undergraduate research at Rutgers.
Peer Instructor Victoria Wang (front) with her Aresty peer group.
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER What Students Say: Comments from Aresty’s Student Survey “I think I was the most surprised by the level of personal growth I experienced. I learned so much this summer, and not just about my area of research. I met so many new people and made lots of lasting connections. I've also learned to communicate more efficiently with others, especially with my lab members and professor. After Aresty, I feel like a different, better person now; what a pleasant surprise.”
“The amount of support I received from the Aresty staff and peer instructors was great…they made the entire research process much easier and were always willing to help out if we had any questions or concerns.” “I learned a lot more about the process of research, and how to access information than I had previously thought possible. It quite literally opened up a wealth of information for me.” “I was surprised at how helpful my peer instructor was. She was basically my saving grace. I cannot thank her enough for helping me and going the extra mile to make sure that I was alright.” “I was most surprised that I became so interested in my research project. I originally applied because I wanted to get an introduction to what research really is, but now I am considering working in the field of research that I did through Aresty.”
What is Your Primary Motivation for Doing Research? 2014-2015 Learn more about a topic 22%
Strengthen candidacy for graduate or medical school 22%
Help me develop personally 14% Gain professional experience 33%
Make a contribution to society 9%
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER The Aresty Center â€“ By the Numbers Since 2005, the numbers of undergraduate researchers we support and faculty participation have grow rapidly.
Undergraduate Research Assistants and Faculty Mentors, 2005 - 2014 Undergraduate Researchers
400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 2005
Through innovative models like ďŹ rs-year research seminars and Summer Science, our total number of students served continues to grow
Total Number of Students Served by All Aresty Programs, 2011 - 2014 831 589 497 313
ARESTY RESEARCH CENTER Staff Dr. Charles Keeton, Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Dr. Brian Ballentine, Executive Director Joan Whalen, Assistant Director Katie Pyott, Program Coordinator
Contact Information The Aresty Research Center 520 George Street, Milledoler Hall New Brunswick, NJ 08901 Tel 848.932.7027 Fax 732.932.7026 aresty.rutgers.edu