CURCA News
Wednesday
04/18/18

Discovery Week

Posted by mllipino on April 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

2018 Discovery Week Poster

Check out ways to get involved with Discovery Week!

Tuesday
04/03/18

2018 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence

Posted by mllipino on April 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

Wednesday
03/14/18

CURCA Research Ambassador Story: Bao Sciscent

Posted by mllipino on March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

When and  how did you first become involved with an undergraduate research project?

I did not consider research until I joined the Advanced Honors College, which has a thesis requirement. Also, I added a chemistry major at the end of my junior year. When I joined the department, I was assigned an academic advisor with whom I spoke about research in general with. At first, I intended on looking for an advisor in the medical field or working in a medial-related field. However, my academic advisor was so enthusiastic about his work, that even though I understood almost nothing about his work, it seemed interesting and I figured I would learn something different. My academic advisor turned out to be my research advisor as well!

Describe your undergraduate research project.

Mechanistic studies of non-heme metal complexes. This project involves the synthesis of ligands to make metal complexes using transitions metals such as Iron and Zinc and then going on to derive mechanistic details through kinetic studies.

In addition to this: Photochemistry Outreach Program with High School students. The goal of this project is to allow high school students the opportunity to participate in hands on lab laboratory research in order to encourage students to pursue STEM in college.

Explain how you obtained a CURCA $500 Undergraduate Research Award and what it was used for. How was the award beneficial to your academic experience at UB?

Last year I was awarded the CURCA grant and the Honors College Research & Creative Activities grant. It was the first grant I ever wrote so it was tough at first and as a science major, I don’t do a lot of writing in my courses. I visited the CURCA office twice to review my proposal before submissions, which I found to be very helpful especially with all of the technical details that must be perfected before submission.

The grant helped fund all the chemicals, glassware, and instrument use that I needed for both my projects.

Describe what it is like working in a lab. 

Working in a lab is actually relaxing and fun, but also tough at the same time, especially as an undergraduate student. Everyone helps each other out and everyone also learns from each other inside and outside the lab. I think the lab I am in is one lab where everyone gets along and everyone will celebrate each other’s birthdays, go out to an activity, or just hang out together.

On the other hand, due to the nature of chemistry research, it is very time consuming and if one step goes wrong you cannot always undo the mistake. Also as someone who did not have much lab experience coming in, I didn’t know how to perform many techniques or use a certain instrument and constantly asked graduate students in the lab for guidance.

How has your faculty mentor influenced you?

My faculty mentor has positively influenced my confidence, thought process in chemistry, time management skills, and writing skills. In the lab, there is rarely 100% yield or perfect results so you usually learn by doing. Currently, one of my lab mates has an elaborate setup of strings and a ruler that he figured out works best to run a kinetics experiment.

My faculty mentor trains every student before he/she starts in the lab and is always willing to answer any questions, help out with a technique, or just discuss any topic of interest to you.

Stop by the Celebration of Student Academic Excellence in UB’s Center for the Arts on April 26th to learn more about Bao’s research!

Tuesday
02/27/18

CURCA Research Ambassador Story: Jojo Nguyen

Posted by mllipino on February 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

When and how did you first become involved with an undergraduate research project?

I got involved in my first lab by emailing a neurology professor who posted a project on the CURCA website to recruit students. My advice on taking this route is be patient and keep trying as it will take quite a few attempts. For my second lab, a graduate student in the chemical-biological engineering department needed help with his research and emailed the undergrads’ listserv. So I responded to that email to apply for the position and I got to work with him on his research.

Describe your undergraduate research position.

I have two projects I am working on. The first one is developing and optimizing radio-frequency coils for magnetic resonance imaging. This project generally involves 3D printing, circuit building, basic programming, and mechanical-electrical engineering related work for optimizing the coils. The second project is largely related to the field of molecular/cellular biology. The big picture of the research project is to study a specific protein with regards to its effect on stem cells differentiation potential. However, my specific duties are assisting with immunostaining, microscopy, histology, image quantification and analysis.

Explain how you obtained a CURCA $500 Undergraduate Research Award and what it was used for. How was the award beneficial to your academic experience at UB?

I obtained the $500 research grant from CURCA for my radio-frequency coil building project. I followed the instructions on CURCA website and gathered the documents needed for application with the help of my research adviser. The application process was straight forward and simple. The grant was used for purchasing materials and instruments needed for the project. Clearly, the grant was helpful to maintain and elaborate my project, which made up a big part of the practical training component in my academic experience at UB.

Describe what it is like working in a lab. 

I have different experiences with different labs. However, there are feelings I have in common: amazed by the new things learned, motivated to learn more, and an adrenaline rush when results are achieved. Working in a lab involves a lot of learning, which could be intimidating on top of being a full time student. Also, the tasks assigned to an undergraduate student are most likely to be basic and repetitive, but this will change as one gained more skills. The lab crews are generally understanding and would be willing to guide undergraduates through their tasks. What is more significant is the opportunity to meet and interact with people who possess the projections of their related disciplines into the far future. It is mind-blowing to hear about some of the principle investigators’ visions on the future of their work.

How has your faculty mentor influenced you?

When working with a faculty mentor, they open my mind to new ways of thinking and give me new perspectives on a subject I would never think of. My mentors are major sources of inspiration on my career choices as well as life decisions.

Have you had the opportunity to present your research project? If so, please describe that experience. 

Yes, I presented at UB’s Annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence in 2017 (and will most likely present in 2018 as well). I was specifically interested to see what other undergraduates are working on at UB, and that was the ideal opportunity to do so. Personally it was also an opportunity to reinforce my knowledge on the project I presented, because I had to not only understand the material thoroughly but also be able to present it in such a way that everyone in any field would be able to understand.

How has/will this opportunity benefit you academically and/or professionally?

Being able to communicate my project to a broad audience was a much needed skill. This opportunity was good practice for me. Moreover, I got connected to a few other undergraduates who were also doing research at UB, which could be argued for learning networking skills, or just simply making more friends.

Additional details about Jojo’s projects can be found here.

 

Wednesday
02/14/18

CURCA Research Ambassador Story: Seamus Lombardo

Posted by mllipino on February 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

When and how did you first become involved with an undergraduate research project?

I first became involved with undergraduate research through the UB Nanosat Lab (UBNL) when I was a freshman. There was a steep learning curve when I first started, but the chance to start building experience early on in my undergraduate experience was very beneficial.

Describe your undergraduate research project. 

The undergraduate research project that I have been involved in is the UB Nanosat Lab (UBNL) listed on CURCA’s website as “Nanosatellite Design, Testing And Fabrication”. We are a multi-disciplinary lab that builds satellites for the Air Force and NASA. When I first started on the team I was a member of our Attitude Determination and Control subsystem and worked on projects such as our sun sensor system and reaction wheel testing. Later, I became the Program manager of our GLADOS satellite and played a role in developing our mission and helping to move our system level testing forward.

UBNL is an opportunity to work alongside many different majors to build real spacecraft and build important engineering experience.

Explain how you obtained a CURCA $500 Undergraduate Research Award and what it was used for. How was the award beneficial to your academic experience at UB?

The CURCA grant that I obtained was used to fund my trip to present research at the IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation in Berlin, Germany. At this conference I presented research on reaction wheel torque characterization that I had developed in UBNL. This CURCA grant allowed me to travel and present my research on an international stage. It was a huge asset to my professional development as I received useful feedback on my research and I made connections with professionals in government and industry.

Describe what it is like working in a lab.

Working in a lab is a fantastic educational experience. Doing research alongside other intelligent and motivated individuals is a great chance to learn from their experiences. Additionally, it’s a satisfying feeling to apply what you learn in class to real applications. My work in my lab also helped me move my career forward by developing real skills and gaining experience that helped me obtain internships and job offers.

How has your faculty mentor influenced you?

The faculty mentor for UBNL is Dr. John Crassidis. He has been a perfect mentor and role model throughout my entire undergraduate career. His extensive experience meant that he always was able to contribute meaningful technical feedback to the work in our lab. Additionally, he also provided me with useful career advice gained through his time at NASA and academia. Lastly, he was always happy to support me through recommendation letters and references so that I could obtain new and exciting opportunities.

Have you had the opportunity to present your research project? If so, please describe that experience.

I had the opportunity to present my research at both the Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah and the IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation in Berlin, Germany. Both of these experiences were great learning opportunities. I received feedback on my research that allowed me to push forward with my technical goals and also had the chance to develop my presentation and public speaking skills which will aid me in my career. Additionally, the chance to attend both of these conferences allowed me to learn more about the aerospace industry and network with professionals. I hope to present research at the 4S Symposium in Sorrento, Italy this May and continue to build experience and develop professionally.

How has/will this opportunity benefit you academically and/or professionally?

My undergraduate research has been the most valuable learning opportunity of my career. It has allowed me to develop as an engineer by applying what I learn in class to real problems. It also gave me the skills and experience to help build my career and obtain internship and job offers. Lastly, documenting and presenting my research at conferences has been an opportunity to further my professional development. I highly recommend getting involved in undergraduate research to help further your goals!

Wednesday
01/24/18

2018 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence

Posted by mllipino on January 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

Students can now submit their abstracts for consideration to present at the 14th Annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence!

The celebration will showcase poster presentations from students who have participated in research and creative works here at UB. Come and join the UB community as we gather to recognize and celebrate the outstanding academic contributions of our students, faculty and research mentors.

UB students interested in presenting their projects at the 2018 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence can access the online portal here.

The deadline to submit an abstract is Friday, March 16th.

Questions, comments and concerns can be addressed to the CURCA Graduate Assistant, Meghan Lipinoga, at prov.mllipino@provost.buffalo.edu

Monday
01/08/18

SUNY SURC 2018

Posted by mllipino on January 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

UB undergraduate students can now submit abstracts to present at the 2018 SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference (SURC). SUNY SURC focuses on student presentations (oral, performance, artistic displays, and poster). The deadline to submit an abstract is February 19th. Accepted UB students will have access to accommodations provided by CURCA such as registrations fees and transportation.

Tuesday
10/10/17

Celebration of Student Academic Excellence

Posted by mllipino on October 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

Plans are in place for the 14th Annual Celebration of  Student Academic Excellence on Thursday, April 26, 2018 in UB’s Center for the Arts!

The celebration will showcase poster presentations from students who have participated in research and creative works here at UB. Come join the UB community as we gather to recognize and celebrate the outstanding academic contributions of our students, faculty, and research mentors.

University at Buffalo undergraduates interested in presenting at the 2018 Celebration must review the additional information outlined here.

Questions, comments and concerns can be directed to the CURCA Graduate Assistant, Meghan Lipinoga, at prov.mllipino@provost.buffalo.edu

Additional event details will be coming soon!

Tuesday
08/29/17

Student Opportunity Center (S.O.C.)

Posted by mllipino on August 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

As an undergraduate student at the University at Buffalo you have access to a free membership to the S.O.C.. The S.O.C. serves as a resource to help students with finding undergraduate research opportunities, internships, conferences, fellowships and scholarships. This is a great way to find hands-on learning experiences based off your interests!  Students can join by creating a login here using your UB email account.

Tuesday
05/09/17

Thank you to all contributors of the 2017 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence!

Posted by mllipino on May 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

Thank you to all the student presenters, research mentors, and volunteers for making the 2017 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence a success!

Check out photos, sample posters, and the PixStori Gallery from this years event!

We hope to see you all again next year for the 14th Annual Celebration!