"We felt that many students, namely undergrads, were both unaware and intimidated by the available research opportunities," says Sydney White, a fourth-year biochemistry student. "The students who started the society felt we were uniquely positioned to be student ambassadors, and we wanted to share our appreciation of research with other students."
Zosia Kossowski, a fourth-year Bachelor of Science in psychology (honours) student majoring in math, says an important feature of the new Student Research Society is that it spans academic programs.
"I'm hoping that we will see a lot more interdisciplinary research projects come out of our efforts," she says.
Undergraduate research is a significant part of the student learning experience at UBC Okanagan and is fundamental to the growth and development of students' academic careers, says Provost Alaa Abd-El-Aziz.
Among the student research opportunities at UBC Okanagan is the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Awards program. Each year, up to 20 third-year students receive awards of $6,500 plus $1,500 for expenses to conduct 16 weeks of summer research under faculty supervision.
"Through research, our students play an integral part of building the research community and capacity on our campus," says Abd-El-Aziz. "I am very proud to see our undergraduate students organizing themselves and forming this society."
The students are not only reaching out to the UBC Okanagan community, they are working to build relationships with the wider community with social events serving as fundraisers for other causes. They raised $300 in the Cops for Kids slow-pitch tournament this summer, and another $300 through a barbecue for CIBC's Run for the Cure.
"We really want people throughout Kelowna and the Okanagan to know what the extraordinary students of UBC Okanagan are like -- young people with intelligent minds and strong hearts," White says.
Students interested in learning more about the Student Research Society can email studentresearchsocietyUBCO@gmail.com.
View the UBCO.TV story about the Undergraduate Research Awards program