Many Wichita State University freshmen enter college with undecided majors. WSU offers programs that expose students to different fields of work so they will be informed when deciding on their major. One of these programs is the Summer Research Institute.
The Summer Research Institute is a Kansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Incoming first-year WSU students or community college transfers interested in STEM majors spend a week engaged in research-focused academic seminars and collaborating in a faculty’s research laboratory at Wichita State. Throughout the experience, students problem-solve, exercise critical thinking skills and begin to establish relationships with peers and faculty.
Through this program, students receive invaluable training and networking. Faculty connect with bright and determined students.
Clarissa Rincon, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering, heard about the program from a high school friend. She immediately knew she wanted to participate.
“I knew that I wanted to experience researching at the collegiate level,” says Clarissa, “and the Summer Research Institute allowed me to do that before I even began college.”
Clarissa participated in hands-on research. Her group explored the effect of music rhythm on the time a person takes to run 1/8th of a mile. Once they concluded the experiment, her team presented their findings to professors, mentors and family members.
“The Summer Research Institute added value to my college experience by opening doors to research opportunities,” says Clarissa.
Aaron Fater, a first-year student studying biochemistry, joined SRI because he wanted to know what a research experience could offer him.
Throughout his time in SRI, Aaron learned how to conduct and present research. He made friends through team activities. He says that SRI offered him a lot of value.
Another reason Aaron applied to SRI was that he believed it would help him figure out how to spend the rest of his time on campus.
“The experience taught me that I wanted to pursue a career in research and teaching,” says Aaron.
Clarissa and Aaron went into the program unsure if they wanted to make a career in research. By the time SRI had finished, they knew for sure.
“I was not sure if I truly wanted to pursue a career in biomedical engineering but after the tour of the lab, I was assured that I did,” says Clarissa.
For Clarissa and Aaron, SRI introduced them to research, helped them network and assisted them in their career choices. It’s for these same reasons that they recommend incoming WSU students apply to SRI as soon as possible.
“I would encourage anyone who is on the fence to apply. You never know what you might discover about yourself,” says Aaron.
SRI 2020 will be held on Aug. 9-12 at Wichita State University.