For the 12th consecutive year, undergraduate students from USU had the opportunity to present research to state government officials at the Utah State Capitol on Jan. 24.Scott Bates, associate vice president for research, said 34 students gathered in the rotunda to educate legislators on what is going on outside of the classroom at USU. Students from the University of Utah also presented.Bates said students were selected from a diverse geographical area as well as varied college departments so the information would be relevant to as many legislators as possible. Students spent one to three years on research projects under the guidance of university advisers and prepared posters to display project synopses and results.”You don’t get credits for this. It’s discovery and what’s happening outside of the textbook,” Bates said. “The legislators benefit from being educated about the things that are going on at the research universities.”Bates said undergraduate research is important to USU because it does a good job finding balance between two of the main missions of the university — research and education.”That’s an important thing for legislators to see,” Bates said. “There’s a lot of pressure for us to either grow the research mission or grow the education mission and both of them are sort of at the core of what we’re trying to do here.”It’s a way for the legislators to come down and see that our students are doing some pretty incredible things. This is cutting-edge research, presented by students in the legislators’ constituency. It puts a great face up for USU.”Kirk Jackson, a senior majoring in civil engineering who was selected to present this year, developed a project that focused on infrastructure and city planning. He said the things he has learned through conducting his own research project will be more beneficial to the real world than what he’s learned in the classroom.
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