Undergraduate Research Highlights – Summer 2019


Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research Journal

More Articles in this Issue

Member Content

  • Practice

    A Student Research Course on Data Analytics Problems from Industry: PIC Math

    ‐ Michael Dorff and Suzanne Weekes
    SPUR (2019) 2 (4): https://doi.org/10.18833/spur/2/4/2

    The PIC Math program works with mathematical sciences faculty at US institutions to help them prepare students for careers in today’s workforce. PIC Math faculty engage their students to solve data science and other research problems that come directly from industry. To accomplish the program’s objectives, the authors conduct a three-day summer training workshop for faculty, provide resources and training so faculty can successfully teach a semester-long course in which students are mentored in solving a research problem, and organize a student summer recognition conference. In the first three years, 107 faculty members from 101 institutions, including 16 historically black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions, have participated in PIC Math. Faculty mentored 1,397 undergraduate students in research that came from more than 170 business and government agencies.

  • Practice

    Leveraging a Large Database to Increase Access to Undergraduate Research Experiences

    ‐ Laura A. Lukes, Katherine Ryker, Camerian Millsaps, Rowan Lockwood, Mark D. Uhen, Christian George, Callan Bentley, and Peter Berquist
    SPUR (2019) 2 (4): https://doi.org/10.18833/spur/2/4/6

    Undergraduates who participate in research experiences are more likely to persist as majors and pursue careers in STEM fields. Traditional undergraduate research experiences often involve field or lab work, which can be costly or have participation barriers for some students. Large, publicly available online datasets provide an alternative. This article provides a case study of how one such  large database, the Paleobiology Database (PBDB), has been leveraged in two ways to support the engagement of students in undergraduate research experiences. First, the authors report on inquiry-based PBDB activities embedded within introductory science courses and participating students’ perceptions about research and interest in research (n = 264). Second, they report how the PBDB has been used to support independent research experiences across 19 institutions and share implications.


SPUR advances knowledge and understanding of novel and effective approaches to mentored undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry by publishing high-quality, rigorously peer reviewed studies written by scholars and practitioners of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry. The SPUR Journal is a leading CUR member benefit. Gain access to all electronic articles by joining CUR.