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Undergraduate Research

Lens held in a hand
Winter 2020

A lens for thinking

The value of a robust undergraduate research experience goes far beyond doing science.

“As public educators, it’s our job to instill critical thinking in our students because, fundamentally, that’s how democracy works,” says Stephanie Porter. Porter is a microbiologist at Washington State University Vancouver investigating symbiosis.

“I see science in a similar way. Our job is not just to train more scientists but to help all students understand the scientific process of taking information, developing a hypothesis, and then seeing how well it’s supported and, finally, interpreting what you find.”

 

For Porter, that means that undergraduates working in her … » More …

Winter 2012

A Summer of Science

If the world of cutting-edge research has a glamorous side, it was lost on Laurel Graves this summer as she found herself digging trenches for soil probes on the Cook Agronomy Farm north of Pullman. In the high summer heat, Graves dug for two hours. Palouse soil covered her arms.

It was a hard-earned insight into the nature of science.

“You mean I’m not doing complex equations constantly?” she wondered. “Oh wait, I’ve got to be a farmer for a while.”

She was not alone in the grunt work department. Jeronda Hunt wrangled scores of petri dishes harboring white, smelly bacteria. Naeh Klages-Mundt spent three … » More …