Undergraduate Research & Engagement

One of Office of Title V initiatives achieved through the Conexiones grant, is to build capacity for new student engagement strategies. The Conexiones grant is broadening opportunities for Hispanic and low-income students to engage in undergraduate research and creative works with faculty to heighten student engagement and thereby increase retention (Kuh, 2002, 2006, 2008). Building this capacity through the Center for Teaching, Innovation, and Research (CTIR) will accelerate the transformation of the campus culture towards an enriching context for students that encourages exploration, discovery, critical thinking, and innovation—essential 21st-century skills for career seekers.

Undergraduate research and creative works experiences enhance the quality of the student’s learning experience and promote a variety of important skills. The Conexiones grant expands the capacity for faculty to focus on faculty-student collaborations in undergraduate research and/or creative works in all disciplines in order to increase student engagement and provide students with a deeper connection to career interests.

Sharing research and engagement results among colleagues is an important step in building expertise in the field, and it is expected that faculty members involved in research with undergraduate students include students in their research and publications. The following is a list of projects supported by the program. Any journal and conference presentations as a result of these activities are appended below.

2017 Research & Engagement Awarded Applications

1. Investigating the Use of Abandoned Mines by Wildlife: 

  • Applicant:
    Timothy Armstrong, Ph.D.
    Professor of Biology
    Biology/Earth Sciences Department
  • Undergraduate Students; Tyler Cherny, Megan Gylling, Erika Ibarra-Garibay, Jose Mix,Wyatt Moran
  • Abstract:
  • Publication: In progress
  • Presentations: Lunch Time Talk, Spring 2018, Student Scholar Days, Spring 2018

2. Metagenomics Analysis of Local Microbial Communities: 

  • Applicant:
    Adam Kleinschmit, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Biology
    Biology/Earth Sciences Department
  • Undergraduate Students; Julie
    Starkey and Sam Ogden
  • Abstract:
  • Publication: Submission to a peer-reviewed journal in progress
  • Presentations: Student Scholar Days, Spring 2018, 2018 Western-1 Regional Beta Beta Biological Honor Society (Tri-Beta) Undergraduate Research Conference

3. Mars Habitat Project: 

  • Applicant:
    Dana Provence
    Professor of Art
    Art Department
  • Undergraduate Students:
  • Abstract:
  • Publication:
  • Presentations:

4. Geoarchaeology of the Fossil Creek Site, Fort Collins, Colorado:

  • Applicant:
    Jared Beeton, Ph.D.
    Professor of Earth Sciences
    Biology/Earth Sciences Dept
  • Undergraduate Students; Clifton
  • Abstract: The Fossil
    Creek Site is an archaeological site in Fort Collins, CO. The purpose of this
    project is to map the geomorphic landforms around the site, describe the soils
    and sediments in which the archaeological materials are encased, use
    radiocarbon dating to find the ages of the landforms in order to piece together
    the geochronology of the site, and to construct a prediction model for where
    other archaeological materials are likely to be found based on the ages of
    surrounding sediments and soils. The site itself sits on a hillslope
    overlooking a fluvial terrace. The terrace is the dominant landform in the area
    and is the focus of research. It’s age and stratigraphy are unknown. A higher
    and older terrace is also part of the fluvial system and will be studied in the
    future. Results of soil analyses from summer 2017 suggest that the lower
    terrace is early Holocene in age. Three charcoal samples and two bulk organic
    samples were collected from the sediments below the terrace and have been
    submitted to BetaAnalytic Laboratory in order to find the numerical age of the
  • Publication: Not yet, we are returning to the
    site this year with more students and after this we will be ready for a
    published abstract and student presentation at a national conference.
  • Presentations: In preparation for a talk at Student Scholar Days

5. An Equipment Kit to Support Temporary Art Exhibitions in downtown Alamosa: 

  • Applicant:
    Leslie Rice
    Assistant Professor Ceramics
    Art Department
  • Undergraduate Students; Irma Lucero, Milanyela Meza, Brent Montoya, Lucie Olivas, Andrew Rascon, Robert Gallegos, Daniel Parsons, Morris Sowards, Russell Geminden
  • Abstract:
  • Publication:
  • Presentations: THRESHOLD; A Temporary Pop-up Exhibition Featuring Artworks, Oct. 5, 2017, 507 Bell Ave., Alamosa, CO