In line with its mission to foster an undergraduate research community that promotes, enhances, and expands undergraduate research opportunities for all students at Virginia Tech, the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) launched the Undergraduate Research Faculty Grant Program in fall 2018 with explicit goals to increase student access to research opportunities and to widen the breadth of openings and participation across majors.

From a pool of 30 creative and diverse proposals, five grants were awarded in spring 2019 to fund individual faculty, teams of faculty, and departments to facilitate the development of novel programs. This year's awardees included:

Susan WhiteheadBiological Sciences - $15,000 grant to develop a new Course Embedded Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) in field ecology that will center on student-designed independent research projects.

Abby Walker and Katie CarmichaelEnglish - $15,000 grant to upscale independent research in linguistics through a capstone course. Funds will be used for course development activities.

Deborah Good and Angela AndersonHuman Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise - $12,300 grant to offer a CURE in genotype/phenotype analysis with students in metabolic nutrition, potentially exposing 750 undergraduates in human nutrition, foods, and exercise to authentic research projects and results/data.

Joseph Merola and Diego TroyaChemistry - $13,000 grant to develop a scaffolded/tiered portal for undergraduate research experiences in the molecular sciences, with students beginning research in their first year.

Carrie Kroehler and Patricia RaunCenter for Communicating Science - $14,000 grant for development and delivery of a pilot communicating science course for undergraduate students, which will be developed with summer undergraduate student researchers.

In addition, a partial grant was awarded to the team of Anne BrownJonathan BrigantiAndrea Ogier, and Nathaniel PorterUniversity Libraries - $7,000 requested to support a new program being proposed and titled "DataBridge: An Interdisciplinary, Data-Centric Experiential Program for Undergraduate Students" that aims to provide experiences for student consultants to assist in data-driven research, instruction, and utilization stemming from clients across the Virginia Tech community.

Information on the grant program and other services and resources offered by the Office of Undergraduate Research for both faculty and students are available on the OUR website: www.research.undergraduate.vt.edu.

Written by Keri Swaby