Augustana College hosts UGF mentors and students

       January 26, 2012

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (SD BRIN) — SD BRIN resumed the Undergraduate Fellows Program (UGF) Mentors Poster Session at Augustana College Thursday night with 21 mentors and 45 students from four PUIs and two research institutes attending. The event was created with the thought of giving UGF program applicants the opportunity to meet and talk with the program's mentors about their research. It also gives the mentors the opportunity to meet each other and possibly foster research collaboration. The poster session was suspended after its inaugural year in 2010, but serious interest by members of the SD BRIN Steering Committee brought it back.

According to University of Sioux Falls Assistant Professor George Mwangi, the poster session was a success as far as a tool to help the students make a decision about in whose lab they wanted to work this summer.

"I think it went very well," Mwangi said. "The turnout by both mentors and students was great! I had the pleasure of talking with a number of students from the other institutions about my research. It was clear to me that there was a genuine interest by those students to learn more details about the research projects that are offered by mentors from other schools. I noticed that some were actually writing down notes to help them make better decisions about prospective projects and mentors they would choose for this summer. Overall, it was my impression that we were successful in reaching and informing students that are really interested in undertaking research this year."

Chun Wu of Mount Marty College agreed. "It was a great chance for student candidates to meet with potential mentors," she said. "We need have this every year."

The other reason for the poster session was also evident.

"I talked with at least two researchers who were able to find a common research interest that may lead to collaboration between the University of Sioux Falls and Avera Research Insitute," Mark Maxon, UGF Program Coordinator said. "We have seen that given the right forum in which to meet, the researchers are very good at finding out who is investigating problems that could coincide with their own. This wouldn't be the first collaboration to come from this type of SD BRIN event."

The deadline for students from South Dakota PUIs to apply for a UGF fellowship is February 15. The application page can be found by clicking here.