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Community Content: Take Advantage of Penn State’s Research Opportunities

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It comes as no surprise that a large part of what makes Penn State a truly world-class institution of higher learning is its strong emphasis on research. Penn State has an illustrious and storied history of excellence in research, dating back to the late 1850s when President Evan Pugh established the first laboratory on campus, charging professors with “making original investigations and publishing them to the world.”

The global contributions of Penn State research include the advent of the world’s first long-life heart pacemaker, the invention of a specialized microscope that allowed the first atom to be observed on campus, and the laboratory synthesis of a progesterone hormone that provided the foundation for the birth control pill.

These successes could not have occurred without the efforts and contributions of undergraduate students actively involved in research. The opportunities for such involvement come at no shortage, with faculty members conducting more than 3,000 research projects at any given time across a number of disciplines. Research projects include the discovery of new planets, zombie-ant pathologies, neurodegenerative disorders, and even a mission to land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Put simply, if you are interested in a particular area of research, chances are that there is a faculty member working on a related project that needs undergraduate student involvement.

In the Eberly College of Science, research is not only prominent, it is a foundational principal. In order to continue the rich history of research at Penn State into the future, the Eberly Student Council is hosting a special event tonight at 6:30 at the Life Sciences Building focusing on undergraduate research and other opportunities for students in the college. The event provides, amongst other things, the opportunity to secure a position in a research lab as an undergraduate student.

Dr. Tracy Langkilde, an assistant professor of biology and the Tombros Administrative Fellow for Undergraduate Research within the Eberly College of Science, will be speaking at the event. Dr. Langkilde also serves as Director of the Science Research Distinction (SCIRES) Undergraduate Certification Program, which recognizes students’ research accomplishments during their time as undergraduates.

The event will address a variety of questions and concerns about undergraduate research, including how to apply for a position, how to contact professors with questions about their research, and how to find a faculty member who is conducting research that suits their interests and academic needs. This event will be free and available to all Penn State undergraduate students.

Tim Rinehart is the Eberly College of Science’s UPUA Representative. 

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