Office of Title V Initiatives - Conexiones Grant

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 Bilogical 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 Simmons
      • 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 landform.
      • 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