University of Wisconsin – La Crosse earns national award for undergraduate research

UW La Crosse is being nationally recognized for its undergraduate research opportunities.

UWL is one of three schools earning the 2021 Campus-Wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments (AURA).

The distinction comes from the Council on Undergraduate Research, which has given out the AURA award for the last seven years.

Campuses that receive the award demonstrate depth in undergraduate research initiatives, and display continual innovation.

Undergraduate Research Director Scott Cooper says UWL is continually expanding the scope of its research projects.

“We give out grants and students do work in all fields, in the humanities, in business,” Cooper explained. “We’re also getting more community-engaged projects, so where students are working on a project for a nonprofit, or a policy maker, or a local business.”

During the application process, UWL spotlighted one of its more unique research programs: the Eagle Apprenticeship Program.

High school students are recruited to be part of the program, and are paired with a mentor on a research project.

“Once you have a pretty solidified background on being in a lab setting, you’re able to take that and start working on you own project,” UWL senior Annie Panico said. “Obviously, freshman and sophomores haven’t taken that many science classes, they might not know all that much about the lab, but the idea is that once you’re done with the Eagle Apprenticeship Program, you can then go on and continue with your own research project.”

Panico was a participant in the program, and credits it with shaping her career path.

“Before I came here I wanted to go into forensics, so I obviously wanted to be in a lab setting,” Panico recalled. “I think doing my own research and being a part of the Eagle Apprenticeship Program, I really realized that I still want to be in a lab setting, but maybe not so much forensics, more of a research setting instead.”

Cooper hopes the award will boost awareness of UWL’s undergraduate research.

“We’d like to increase the participation, both of the student body in general, and also with first generation and underrepresented students,” Cooper added.

UWL will receive the award during a virtual ceremony on April 21.

Written by: Alex Loroff, WEAU News – NBC 13
Please visit here to read the original article and watch the video coverage.

Founded in 1978, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity. Among the many activities and networking opportunities that CUR provides, the organization also offers support for the professional growth of faculty and administrators through expert-designed institutes, conferences, and a wide-range of volunteer positions. The CUR community, made up of nearly 700 institutions and 13,000 individuals, continues to provide a platform for discussion and other resources related to mentoring, connecting, and creating relationships centered around undergraduate research. CUR’s advocacy efforts are also a large portion of its work as they strive to strengthen support for undergraduate research. Its continued growth in connections with representatives, private foundations, government agencies, and campuses world-wide provides value to its members and gives voice to undergraduate research. CUR is committed to inclusivity and diversity in all of its activities and our community.

CUR focuses on giving a voice to undergraduate research with learning through doing. It provides connections to a multitude of campuses and government agencies, all while promoting networking and professional growth to its community.