Students compete for research grants

By NOAH BOSTROM/Montana State News

“All you need is a little imagination”, said Montana State University photography student, Gwendolyn Courtney when asked what was required for the Undergraduate Student Research Program with passes out grants.

The program is dedicated to giving the novice undergraduate more hands-on experience. Students jump at the idea of doing research before graduate school or before venturing out into career desolate world.

“I always wanted a chance to get into the nitty-gritty before graduation,” said Dan Buettner, “and now I have an edge on other students.”

The significance of this grant as opposed to others is its scope of acceptance. Any student may apply for any research topic from the department and the grant board seems generous in accepting proposals.

“The grant board is generous in their acceptance of proposals and in my experience, if the proposal is written in a way that demonstrates the proposal to be well thought out, it will be accepted” said photography professor Dan Wise.

Program Coordinator Colin Shaw believes in the mission of this undergraduate program, especially for MSU students.

“A major focus at MSU is hands-on work,” Shaw said. “It’s important for students to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real world problems.”

On April 18, there will be a student research celebration in the Student Union Building, showcasing student projects and providing an opportunity for other students to see what their peers are up to. The Earth Sciences Department will also hold an event of its own on April 12 and another event, the Montana Space Grant Consortium, will take place on April 19.

There will be over 126 different stations displaying MSU student research for the public to browse. Topical sessions will be held every 10 minutes from the selection of 126 unique topics, providing interest to just about anyone.

Topics range from Jessi Smith’s “I’m Incredible! Consequences of Violating the Modesty Norm”, Mattew Handley’s “Using Solar Panel Data to Model In-Orbit Spacecraft Dynamics” or Gwendolyn Courtney’s “Going Grey: A Study of Women Proud of Their Grey Hair” shows the diversity and uniqueness of each project.

“This celebration is important for the students because their work is on public display, allowing students to explain and defend their research in a public place,” said Matt Smith.

“With this celebration being a new part of the process we are still learning if it truly works in the grand scheme,” Shaw said.

– Edited by Melinda Peirce


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