Event Promotes Undergraduate Research to Freshmen

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Monday, December 16, 2019
Photo of two students holding bingo card and talking to another student at Research First event
Photo by Chris Clark

What is the relationship between social media and self-esteem? How do immigration policies impact the mental health of immigrant children and families? Can self-driving cars make us safer?

These are just a few of the more than 50 research topics that students presented to freshmen at the Research First event, held November 20 at the Rosa Parks Room in the Cesar Chavez Student Center, sponsored by the College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ College Undergraduate Research Experience committee.

Billed as an opportunity for students to learn more about their peers’ research, as well as learn about opportunities and resources, the event demonstrated that students can start doing serious research early in their college careers.

“This event allows students to realize that they are already doing research in their lower-division classes, and that research is not just something that happens in a science lab,” said Laura Lisy-Wagner, associate professor of History and event organizer. “These new SF State students are able to see what kind of research other new students are doing and find out what resources are available to support their coursework.”

The presenters are enrolled in English 214, a lower-division general-education course that emphasizes critical analysis, research and engagement with social issues. In a playful twist to prompt engagement between presenters and the audience, the freshmen received bingo cards featuring challenges like “locate a project that used interviews or personal experience as a source” or “locate a project where someone has used resources from the Library.”

Marcus Undergraduate Research Fellowship winners were also on hand to share their perspectives on diving deep into research and working with faculty mentors. They were unanimous in stressing to students the importance of choosing research topics they are passionate about.

The event capped off with CURE co-directors Anastasia Smirnova and Joshua Singer promoting upcoming fellowship and grant opportunities for students in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, all established by a generous gift from alumni George and Judy Marcus. Smirnova and Singer also pitched students to participate in the College’s annual Undergraduate Research Showcase in May on campus, where hundreds of students present their research and creative work.

— Chris Clark

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