Column: The value of undergraduate discovery


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Last year as a first-year president at Marshall, I had the privilege of being at the state capital in Charleston to observe undergraduate research day. The level of research sophistication was quite impressive. This was displayed by Marshall students and other students as well.

Following my trip to the capital, I had the chance to further observe research excellence on campus by observing both biology and chemistry students. It reminded me of how valuable undergraduate co-curricular activities can be. These experiences solidify knowledge gained in class and create new opportunities for learning.

It is therefore not surprising that one of my goals for 2017 is to expand the undergraduate research and creative discovery opportunities for our undergraduate students. I have directed our Vice President for Finance to set aside $166,000 of new funds to be used to support projects and travel associated with the discovery process for undergraduates. I hope that liberal arts students, science students, business students, engineering students, creative and performing arts students, and various undergraduates of every discipline will take advantage of this opportunity.

Undergraduate discovery changed the course of my college career by demonstrating to me that further study in research at the graduate level was not only possible but desirable. I wish for many additional Marshall students the same extra experience that I had as an undergraduate: the joy of being able to create something new and the pride in a sense of real accomplishment.

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