UB CURCA in Albany

Uploaded by UBCURCA on 15.03.2012

[music playing] Hello, I'm Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak and welcome to Assembly Update. I'm pleased to have as my guest today Timothy Tryjakowski, who is the Director of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities at the University at Buffalo.
and he is here in Albany this week to serve as co-chair for a rather large event that is being held for sunny, for SUNY undergraduate students heavily involved in research. And Tim I'd like to thank you for coming on the program
talk to me about what is taking place this week. My pleasure, thank you for having me. It is wonderful to be come and speak about all that we are doing here. It's always nice to have someone back from the Western New York area and just before we get
in the event, tell us a little bit about your office and what you do at the Center for Undergraduate Research. Certainly, it's a long title for the office, The Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities. What that means is when
most people think of research they think of test tubes and lab coats and of course that is a lot of what goes on with UB researchers but there are other dimensions to the campus.
There's the creative arts, there's the social sciences, theater and dance, history, English, you name it. So, what I do with my office, it is a great opportunity, I reach out to all of our faculty on campus
I find out what projects they are working on, what research they are doing outside of the classroom, outside of teaching, um and I ask them: remember when you were 19 or 20 years old and just getting started
in your field of study, are there opportunities for undergraduate students to become involved with the projects that you're working on. And they all, unanimously say "Yes, of course there's opportunities."
So we then post opportunities in regards to these research projects where the students, undergraduate students, can actually bid on these jobs and work on these projects. So students get real research experience on our campus.
It sounds like something that the students really can take an active part in, get involved in and have the opportunity to, uh, you know, follow an interest that they have and maybe also get exposure to some other opportunities. Absolutely.
Absolutely. So many high school students now, and UB is getting more and more talented students, better SAT scores, better high school averages, so they are really the cream of the crop coming to a place like UB. These students build tremendous resumes
when they are in high school, they are in clubs and organizations, and doing so many great things with the goal of getting into a really good college. Well, once they get there that resume is sort of a clean slate again and they have
to start building up again for graduate school or careers. So what happens through the CURCA office, the Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities, is students get to have the opportunity to explore and do things
beyond the classroom and really get involved in research. Um, some of my greatest successes with students have been students who figured out what they didn't want to do. Maybe they got into chemical engineering lab and said this isn't for me.
and they shifted gears and changed their majors. That is a success story when you are 18, 19, 20 years old. Other students have found their niche and worked with a faculty mentor on campus and just the skies the limit.
I've had students go through and present their research in Japan, I've had students apply for fellowships and scholarships and they are getting full scholarships to graduate school, I've even had some students who have taken
their projects and gone to market with them and you know it's a career, so it is really part of the whole economic development of SUNY. The, the investment at the front end with the students leads to greater and greater economic activity also.
I know that we have, here in Albany, students that are coming from all over New York State to Albany for the research symposium that you are doing and I have had the opportunity to attend this in the last couple of years and I'm looking forward
to attend it again this year. Can you tell us a little bit about what is taking place this week? Certainly, we'll take maybe a bit later about the program we do on our UB campus, but that was a template and it was very successful
Students can display their research projects to the community to faculty, to leaders um and that sort of morphed into a state-wide program, so I was tapped, I was asked by the SUNY wide Faculty Senate to help produce a similar poster
show here in Albany where we invite 3, 4, 5 representatives from each of our SUNY campuses and the students come to Albany, they are right outside the doors here and they are going to talk to elected officials, the governor's office
SUNY Chancellor Zimpher is going to be here and we're just going to talk about the great projects going on on our campuses, faculty led usually but students, undergraduate students, young people diving in and getting involved with these projects
and really coming up with some great ideas to solve social ills, to cure illnesses, you name it and we have students working on those projects so it is a great suit, a great showcase for all of SUNY.
There really has to be a sense of pride for them too, to be able to showcase what they are doing, to show what they are working on and when you take a look at the number of campuses that you have bringing them all together here
I'm sure there is quite an array of different areas to take a look at and see exactly what is happening at the UB campus, or the SUNY campuses. Certainly. I mean, every discipline is represented, we have over 90 posters today
There is 125 students presenting their projects, so some of these are team projects where the students work with other students as well as their faculty colleague. um. Over 40 faculty mentors are going to be outside talking
about the research and the student contributions. We have 23 of the four-year SUNY Campuses represented, so those that are state-funded, state-assisted, 23 campuses represented as well as 13 community colleges.
So, it is outstanding. It sounds great. That is great. So, every year you host a similar event like this over at UB at the North Campus that is open to the public. Let's talk about that event and I know we have some photos that we'll be able to post.
and we can go through. Let's talk about the Amherst UB campus event. Great, certainly. Yep, on the UB North Campus we take over the UB Center for the Arts one day out of the year. We have it in April because that is a time when students
are sort of finishing up their research projects and they can report on the data and finding from their research. These projects are ongoing, often for years, for decades. Faculty members are trying to crack the DNA code
or what ever it might be and students kind of come and go during their four year experience as undergraduates on these projects, but these projects are ongoing. So the students report back to us in the form of a poster
the research standard, what they have done with their research project to date. On Thursday, April 5, the Center for the Arts will be transformed for our Celebration of Student Academic Excellence. At noon
graduate students take over the poster displays at they will show us what they have been doing at the graduate level as far as their research and then from 1:30 to 3:30 the undergraduate posters are on display. This is free and open to the public.
Light refreshments will be available and we encourage everyone to come in and talk to our outstanding students and our outstanding researchers and find out what is going on beyond the classroom at UB. With that said, we'll have some performances
some performances from the social sciences, theater and dance, there might be some poetry readings or whatever they have been working on as far as those projects and then at 3:30 we will go into the main stage theater.
where the UB president, President Tripathi, will host an award ceremony and we'll bestow awards on the best research project from a certain decanal area, be it the School of Engineering, the School of Biomedical Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences
We'll have an award winner or a best research project from a student that will give them an award. We have quite a few students who have won major scholarships and fellowships, there's the Fullbright students, the Udall Scholarship
Students take their research along with their good grades at UB, then they build their resume with these outstanding research projects and they apply for fellowships and scholarships and we have students winning grants to pay for
all of their graduate school for a PhD program, um, you know the skies the limit, these students really take advantage of what we have to offer and run with it. And it gives them the opportunity to be creative, to work in an area that
they have some interest or develop some interest, some expertise, so as you said, as they go on in life they can get a fellowship, continue in terms of helping them in honing, uh, their interests in an area of interest that they have.
Let's talk a little bit about funding. How does funding for your program come about? Do you get any from the state? And how important is that? Certainly. SUNY is state assisted these days and it is great and we really rely on that.
We're aways, well I'm sort of here today to ask you for more help, anything you can do to invest in SUNY is great. Um, also the fact that UB is such an economic engine as you know, whether you're going to a performance or an athletic event
at UB, or getting free dental work, UB is such a big part of our community. All the people who are employed on campus, it's a huge doing. My office is funding through the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. It's one of the sort of
student services that we offer to enhance your academic time on campus. Besides going to class and being taught by world-class professors, there are also other opportunities on campus. One of them being the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative
Activities, so students take advantage of that. I also do have a grant, a $50,000 grant each year where I have to award that money to undergraduate researchers. So we have a program set up where students actually
they go through a real grant application. We have a deadline each month and at any time a student in conjunction with their faculty mentor, they can go on our website and download a grant application form.
Just like a real faculty member applies for a grant to the National Science Foundation or other government agencies. They apply to my office. They have to tell us what they are doing, they write the grant themselves? They write the grant themselves.
Just like a real faculty member applies for a grant to the National Science Foundation or other government agencies. They apply to my office. They have to tell us what they are doing, they write the grant themselves? They write the grant themselves.
They tell us why they need the funding, how much they need and how it is going to further their project. We have a cap of $500 so we can spread the money around to many different students but students can apply for up to $500 per semester.
per project. So, for instance, we had one young man who was doing something with a jet propulsion engine, so he would blow up his model rocket every semester and it would come back down to earth and he would see where the engine melted or
what have you and he would ask us for $425 in jet fuel to make some changes and send it back up again. So we would review his grant application and see the progress in his research each and every semester and we were happy to cut him a check
Well, actually send the check over to his department so that he could buy some more jet fuel and send this thing back up again. But that is how research works. This isn't something, this isn't lab study where it is a+b=c and we know what the answer is
and we're going to grade you. These are real research projects where the faculty themselves don't know what the answer is going to be, it is all discovery. SO these students are really teammates and partners on the research
They are not just, it is an education unto itself, but we don't know what the answer is going to be. And that is the interesting part, it is all discovery going on. I guess that is where you get the creative activities in your department's name
Absolutely. And I think that is just a wonderful thing that, for the students to have that ability to be that creative, and the fact that they have to write the grant application gives them I think an exposure to a little more than just
the nuts and bolts as far as what they are interested in. There are other things that go along and I think that exposure and writing the grant that is going to help them as they progress right through. Absolutely, I tell
the students that, I speak to all the students at orientation and I tell them and the parents about what is going on with our office and the opportunities and really many, many more students are taking advantage of this than every before.
But when they apply for grad school, they apply for a job, it is their resume and 200 other resumes, what makes their resume jump out if everyone has a similar education, a similar degree, a similar grade point average.
Well, I did research and I have a letter of recommendation from my faculty mentor, I published a poster and I'm in a research journal. I've written 4 grants and I've been funded 3 times and I plowed money back into my research project.
all of a sudden, that resume is starting to jump off the table as someone who has gone above and beyond. The beauty of this is that this is an advantage throughout our SUNY campuses. UB is probably a catalyst for this
with our office, the Center for Undergraduate Research, but it is gaining momentum throughout the system and as you'll see today, almost every SUNY campus has representation here. It is a great resume builder for the students.
How many students from UB take active part in this? ooh, I have on my website about 250 active, current research opportunities for students to post for, learn about and post for the opportunity. But there are other opportunities where faculty just take the
the bright light, the best student from the class and bring them onboard as well. So at any given time we have hundreds and hundreds of students involved in different research projects across the board.
well, Tim, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today about all the great things that you are doing and the students are doing at UB. We have another graphic, if you'd like some more information.
You can contact the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity or find them on facebook. They are located at 111 Capen Hall at the University at Buffalo. Tim, thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Good luck to you, I look forward to seeing the exhibits out here in just a little bit. Great. Thank you. thanks. That's it for Assembly Update, Thank you for joining us and we'll see you again next week. [music playing]