Rutgers University–Newark prides itself on many things: world-class faculty, small class sizes, the most diverse student body in the country, and with it a culture of inclusion. RU-N also is notable for its stellar undergraduate research opportunities, enabling students to work side-by-side with professors and graduate students in labs and in the field across a variety of disciplines, on occasion getting a chance to co-author papers and be published in scholarly journals.
RU-N's commitment to this enrichment is embodied by its annual Research Week programming. Held every April, Research Week connects Honors College and other students from across campus to faculty and graduate students doing research in an array of SASN disciplines via lectures, introductions to faculty research labs, presentations on undergraduate research opportunities, and field trips. It also includes an annual student research showcase, where those who have engaged in research over the past year present their projects and findings via poster presentations and discussions.
“It’s really important that undergraduates and graduate students get this chance to interact with each other and with faculty about their research interests, which Research Week helps them do,” said Melanie Smith, who is helping oversee the program for the Honors College.
This year’s Research Week kicked off Monday with a Lab Showcase via Zoom, where faculty and graduate students from Chemistry, Physics, EES and Psychology labs talked about the research projects they are currently pursuing, answered student questions, and discussed how they can get involved in undergraduate research in those labs. Nearly 50 students attended the presentation, according to Smith.
“It was a great kick-off event,” she said.
On Tuesday, April 12 (6–7pm) there will be a Public Health Panel (via Zoom), moderated by History Professor Nükhet Varlık, featuring panelists from disciplines across campus to reflect on how research in public health can be approached and promoted from various vantage points.
It’s really important that undergraduates and graduate students get this chance to interact with each other and with faculty about their research interests.
On Wednesday, April 13 (2:30–3:30pm), the undergraduate research exhibition takes place. Students from all disciplines involved in substantial scholarly research are invited to present their research via poster sessions and interact with a live audience through AirMeet.
This year’s Research Week will culminate on Thursday, April 14 (1–2pm) with a Keynote Lecture titled, "A Social Psychological Approach to the Study of Inclusion," by Professor Valerie J. Purdie-Greenaway, of Columbia University. The event will be held in person at Life Sciences Center II, RM. 130, following all COVID-19 university protocols.
Purdie-Greenaway is Associate Professor of Psychology & Special Advisor to the Executive Vice President for Arts & Sciences on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Columbia. Her research focuses on people with threatened identities and examines the consequences of their experiences for intergroup relations.
Smith is excited about this year’s program and stresses the importance of such initiatives for students and faculty alike.
“Faculty teach but often also appear behind the scenes to our students, whether it be working in their labs, attending conferences, doing journal-article reviews or other tasks. This gives our faculty a chance to showcase their work and students to showcase theirs,” said Smith. “It’s also a great opportunity for students to interact with peers from different disciplines to see what else is happening, get a sense of the breadth and depth of research activity on campus, and have academic and research interactions to understand things from different perspectives.”
Research Week 2022 is co-sponsored by the SAS-N Honors College, the Graduate School-Newark, and the Vice Chancellor's Office for Research and Collaboration.