Website to showcase research opportunities


DePauw launched student research pages on its website last week in an effort to engage more students-particularly underclassmen and non-science majors-in the undergraduate research opportunities.
Professor of psychology Terri Bonebright, who originally came up with the idea of creating these pages, has been working with faculty across all fields for the past year in order to get the website up and running.
“What we didn’t have was one visible place either for our current students, faculty or staff to really understand what we were doing,” Bonebright said. “Nor did we have a place for prospective students or the outside world in general to get a really good look and understand all of the interesting and exciting things students are doing for research.”
During the creation of the Student Research pages, Bonebright made sure that professors from all departments were aware of and involved in the process so each department could use the site to its full advantage. She even had students look at the page and give feedback to involve everyone on campus.
“You want everybody to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” Bonebright said, adding, “It was a collaborative process.”
Michael Roberts, a professor of psychology said that undergraduate research has been coined as a “high-impact experience.” He hopes that the new website will draw more students’ attention to the research opportunities on campus because he sees it as a vital component of an undergraduate education.
“Having this kind of research experience develops critical thinking skills in students,” Roberts said. “Given that there are a lot of undergraduate research opportunities provided on campus, we want to make students aware of that and, ideally, aware of it early on.”
Seniors Jack Burgeson and Chelsea Ohler, who have been working with Roberts for the past three years through the Science Research Fellows program, are interested to see how the pages will bring new students into the research field.
“I think a huge advantage for the underclassmen is to have this as a resource and point them in the right direction if they are interested in research opportunities,” Burgeson said. “It’s never too early to dip your toes into this.”
Ohler thinks that the new pages will be beneficial to DePauw because they make finding research opportunities much easier.
“Now [DePauw] has a whole website of faculty research projects and their interests, and it’s a lot better organized so it’s a lot easier to find,” Ohler said.
A large part of the website’s purpose is to allow people to conduct undergraduate research outside of their majors. On the ‘Common Questions’ page on the new website, the question “Is undergraduate research only for students in the sciences?” is answered, in bold print, as the following: “Undergraduate research can be done in any discipline.” This statement is reiterated in three different questions on the website. A major goal of the website is to attract people in other disciplines to the idea of research in an area that they are not necessarily studying inside the classroom.
As a bio-chemistry major conducting research in psychology, Burgeson is a strong advocate for doing research in areas outside of one’s major, and he is excited to see how these pages bring different types of people into the research field.
“This definitely opens up the door for anyone to conduct research at DePauw,” Burgeson said. “You can test out different areas that you’re interested in and find something that you love.”
Bonebright hopes that this website will encourage different ways of learning.
“I really hope that students will take advantage of the opportunities that these [pages] present to them,” Bonebright said. “It’s a really good way to help students in their academic enterprises at the university.”
The Student Research pages can be found under the ‘academics’ section on the DePauw website.