Undergraduate Research Program and Shadowing Program continue to grow


RCEU student Zach Laswell, left, describes his chemistry research project to shadowing students from Bob Jones High School and Randolph School.


More students than ever are undertaking activities this year within a research or creative work project lasting for 10 to 12 weeks in the Research or Creative Experience for Undergraduates (RCEU) summer program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

Under the direct supervision of a UAH full-time faculty member or researcher, 27 students have RCEU projects. Their work hours correspond to a full-time job (approximately 32-40 hours per week) and the student receives a stipend of $3,200.

UAH has supported research and creative work experiences for undergraduate students in all fields of study for more than 10 years. The goal of the program is to foster collaborative learning between students and researchers and expose the student to academic scholarly work via active participation in a research, creative or scholarly project. The program strives to assist in furthering UAH's research activities by helping to provide opportunities for new and ongoing areas of study and creative work.

The program is funded through the UAH Office of the President, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the Alabama Space Grant Consortium. The RCEU program is directed by Dr. Bernhard Vogler, associate professor of chemistry, and administered with the help of David Cook, coordinator of student research.

For the second year in a row, RCEU also features a Shadowing Program that invites participation from rising sophomores to seniors from Huntsville and Madison high schools, as well as students from Calhoun Community College, Northeast Alabama Community College and newly admitted Honors Students. The program allows students to meet an RCEU student, have lunch with him or her, meet the faculty/researcher sponsor, tour the lab space and spend the afternoon with the student while working on a research or creative project.

"Almost half of the projects have a shadowing student this year, which is a marked increase from last year," says Cook. "We're really pleased in the interest of potential and new students in getting involved in research at UAH, and we hope that this one-day event will expose them to the many opportunities available for students to work collaboratively with our faculty and research staff. We expect interest to continue to grow as the program becomes better known in the community."

This year students from Bob Jones, James Clemens, Randolph, Calhoun Community College and newly admitted Honors College freshman were among shadow program participants who visited the campus on June 9. The projects they observed included chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, biology, history, nursing, education, electrical and computer engineering, and business.

"At the end of the summer program, UAH RCEU students are expected to highlight their research experience at the RCEU showcase event in the fall, and we intend to invite all the shadowing students back for the poster event so that they can see how the projects turned out," says Vogler. "Although the shadowing program is only a brief one for the visiting students, it's a great opportunity for them to visit campus, meet a faculty member and undergraduate researcher, and get a glimpse of what collaborative learning through research at UAH is about."


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