CRE Spring Semester In Review!
CRE had a very busy but productive Spring semester this year! Faced with the challenge of engaging our students virtually in research programming, particularly with our virtual conferences, each one of our programs continued pivoting to virtual formats, and we found great success with our students in our programs. Below is a summary of our programs in addition to the announcement of our 2021 Research Mentor Award Winners!

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Thanks to everyone who made this semester such a great success!
UROP continues to get students involved in virtual undergraduate research opportunities, and we have had amazing results from this semester. Nearly 1000 students applied to be a part of UROP and 411 students started the program this year.

With this many students, we had to assemble an impressive cohort of UROP Leaders to teach our UROP students on the mechanics of conducting undergraduate research. We had 60 UROP Leaders, across all disciplines and majors at FSU, teaching our undergraduates across 29 colloquium class sections. You can check out featured leaders on our CRE Social Media (links at the bottom of the newsletter).

Our UROP Leaders and students weren't the only ones that faced a challenge in pivoting to a virtual format. Our research mentors, who provide our students opportunities to work on research projects, also had to figure out a way to configure their research to a virtual setting. With this, we had 230 research projects proposed to our UROP Database.

In addition, UROP has instituted a diversity and inclusion focus group to improve the pipeline to UROP Leader position to better reflect the UROP student population. Thus far, participants of the focus group have found this focus group highly representative and beneficial.

Overall, the general theme of our recap of UROP is that our UROP Leaders and students rose to the challenge of virtual teaching and learning in the midst of a pandemic and have excelled. We are so incredibly proud of their hard work and dedication to continuing the mission of UROP and undergraduate research in general at FSU.
CRE’s global programs have started under their new formats this year! The Gap Year Program has shifted into its new model supporting both funded students interested in intercultural service as well as unfunded students focused on other types of personally enriching experiences. This year, 16 students from FSU’s incoming class have been chosen to be a part of this newly expanded program. Meanwhile, the 2020-2021 Gap Year Fellows are finishing their experiences, blogging, and preparing to start their first semester at FSU! The 2021 Global Scholars are similarly piloting the program’s relaunch as a 3-phase independent support program for students to explore social impact work domestically and internationally (remotely). They’ve completed the spring theory course and will start their experiences between mid-May and early-June. Keep your eyes out for their blogs to keep up with their experiences through the summer!

During the Spring 2021 semester, the CRE awarded over 30 students IDEA Grant awards supporting projects ranging from examining mental health outcomes due to COVID-19 related isolation to the development of an e-choir to support individuals suffering from aphasia. If you visit the Honors, Scholars, and Fellows House blog, you can find posts from the 2021 IDEA Grants winners about their wide variety of projects and what they hope to achieve over the summer. In addition, you will find blog posts from our five Tech Fellows who went through their Spring preparation course. Their blog posts overview what they will work to accomplish over the summer in their business incubator internships and information about their research projects. The IDEA Grants award winners and Tech Fellows will be culminating their programs this Fall at the President’s Showcase for Undergraduate Research Excellence. 
Finally, during the Spring semester the CRE became a formal partner with the FSU iGEM team, International Genetically Engineered Machines, with Associate Director Dave Montez serving as a co-principal investigator. Over the semester, iGEM team members were selected and the team chose the problem area of malnutrition to explore potential interventions. Over the summer, the team will finalize their intervention and test it in the lab and with Tallahassee area stakeholders. In October, the team will present their project as a part of the international competition.
Research Mentor Award Winners
The Undergraduate Faculty Research Mentor Award for 2021 was presented to Dr. Robb Tomko for mentoring UROP student Sathvik Bilakanti in research about "discovery of microsporidia-selective anti-proteasome nanobodies."

"In one-on-one mentoring situations such as my scientific laboratory, it is my duty to impart on the next generation of scientists the craft of academic research, in addition to more pragmatic skills essential for today’s scientists, such as grantsmanship, budgeting and accounting, time and personnel management, and networking. I firmly believe in leading through actions. As a mentor and scientific role model, I aim to make all of my scientificandadministrative actions transparent, so that my mentees can learn from them. In some cases, however, there is simply no substitute for frontline experience. Therefore, I try to actively include mentees in processes such as conceiving their scientific studies, designing their experiments, and crafting manuscripts, presentations, and posters. I also encourage my mentees to continuously draft and revise their scientific goals and conclusions. These experiences familiarize them with the iterative nature of many academic and technical endeavors, teach patience and determination, and perhaps most importantly, prepare them to tackle lofty goals in their chosen careers or to be successful in subsequent graduate education. Importantly, I strive to impart strong scientific ethics and academic honesty upon my students by focusing on the goal of answering the question, not getting the desired result.

I view my teaching and mentoring as an investment in young academics; these men and women will shortly be my colleagues and collaborators. By forging strong relationships with my students based on clarity, honesty, and rigor, I help assure there will be a cadre of talented and objective thinkers to carry on academic discovery into the future."

—Dr. Robb Tomko, from his mentoring statement
The Post-Doc Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2021 was presented to Dr. Sam Holley-Kline. Dr. Holley-Kline mentored UROP student Michelle Evangelista on "Histories of Extractivism in Indigenous Mexico."

"To begin, I meet students where they are, so that they are able to accomplish individual objectives that meet broader standards. We first discuss mutual expectations and needs. Sometimes, the result is a structured, proactive approach. My UROP student collaborators are new to the craft of research. Before beginning our project, I used a Canvas Org site to set up shared Dropbox folders, Zotero accounts, Google Sheets, and introductory readings, such that we shared common references. I followed up with individual students during biweekly meetings, and discussed progress with each as they developed their ideas. During monthly group meetings, we discussed the broader project and re-checked expectations. In other cases, meeting students where they are requires a resourceful, reactive approach.The two students for whom I served as a thesis committee member at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana were experienced, having already completed field research and data analysis. As they requested, I provided digital copies of hard-to-locate sources and multiple rounds of thesis feedback. Meeting students where they are enables me to provide a common foundation with which to further develop each collaborator’s unique contribution—depending on their needs.
Meeting students where they are requires sensitivity to students’ backgrounds, experiences, and social positions. Research suggests that emotional support and motivational scaffolding are important strategies for students from minoritized communities. In the service of equitable development, I prioritize student mentees, responding within the hour to their e-mails and not limiting my meeting time with them. Such relationships allow me to discuss issues of concern to students: the importance of speaking heritage languages, for example, or the politics of identity markers (Latinx or Latine?). I back up this support with a willingness to work outside the bounds of the formal research assistantship: I have edited IDEA Grant applications for my UROP student collaborators, have offered (and written) letters of recommendation, and introduced students to other faculty members to further develop their interests."

—Dr. Holley-Kline, from his mentoring statement
The Graduate Student Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2021 was presented to Jennifer Harding. Jennifer mentored Emily Coston in researching "Harmonic Characteristics of Music: A Computational Approach."

"My approach to mentoring rests upon two pillars: relationship and scholarship. The pillar of relationship is built from empathy, compassion, and honoring the humanity within each of my students. The undergraduate years come with a unique set of challenges: many students are away from home from the first time, navigating the transition from adolescence to adulthood, and managing many more responsibilities than they have had before, to name just a few. For all the excitement and vibrancy of this time, students’ lives can also be overwhelming, confusing, and quite simply, difficult. Over the course of working with my students, I get a small peek into both the triumphs and challenges they are experiencing. I make sure to check in with my students regularly, and adjust both my expectations and demands based on what they are able to take on. My students have the flexibility to take on less demanding tasks when they are overwhelmed, and more challenging tasks when they have the mental bandwidth to do so. I strive to respect the boundaries and limitations of my students while maintaining a rigorous program. I hope to model grace, understanding, and integrity to my students in the hope that they carry on this practice to their colleagues, and eventually their own mentees.

The second of the two pillars is scholarship. The mentoring and advising relationship is founded on the expectation of academic and scholarly excellence. Part of my job is to pull back the curtain to reveal the often circuitous and messy behind-the-scenes view of research, analysis, and communication. Then, I walk them through step-by-step how to navigate the research process. The first problem we approach is how to ask questions.This includes how to ask a good research question to initiate a productive line of inquiry, as well as how to ask questions, evaluate answers; revise, and repeat every step of the way. Curiosity and inquisitiveness is the lens through which I encourage my students to evaluate both all other aspects of research: reading the work of others, determining how to collect data, parsing the data, and communicating results. Together, my students and I work to develop their practical skills: how to procure resources, how to evaluate those resources (especially when an article is written at too-high a level), how to synthesize existing ideas with their own, and how to communicate clearly, succinctly, and in an engaging way without sacrificing information or depth. I work closely with my students at every stage of their research, directing them towards resources, talking through articles, and editing their writing both asynchronously and in real time. My hope is that my students will cultivate both the practical and cognitive skills to continue pursuing their research questions after our time together has ended."

—Jennifer Harding, from her mentoring statement
From February 26-27th, The Florida Undergraduate Research Association and Florida State University hosted the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC) 2021, this time in a virtual format. FURC is one of the nation's largest multidisciplinary research conferences and is open to all undergraduate researchers in the state of Florida to present their research in a poster format. This year, we had around 750 attendees with around 400 student presenters from institutions across the state. Disciplines and topics for presentations ranged from ethnomusicology to documentary studies to biological studies to literature. We were thrilled with this turnout and are excited to announce that FURC 2022 will be hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF) from February 18-19, 2022!
On April 1, 2021, we hosted our annual URS! This was our second time hosting the event virtually but the first time we hosted the event via Whova!

The event was a success: with over 1000 people as registered participants and roughly 500 presenters, there was a huge audience, and we were thrilled with how many student projects we had. Parents, research mentors, and friends/peers all joined to listen to students present their projects from disciplines ranging from ethnomusicology to biomedical sciences to international affairs to religion to literature.

We used Whova to simulate and mimic a live conference as much as possible. Using the new artifact center, our students uploaded their posters and live Zoom links to the center to collate all the posters in one central place. Conference participants were able to view the posters while being in the Zoom rooms, where they were able to interact with presenters while viewing a PDF of the poster at the same time. See above for a picture of what the artifact/poster hall looked like.

To enhance participation in the URS, we also hosted Campus Partner Info Sessions, where campus partners--including Garnet and Gold Scholar Society, FSU Libraries, the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), and more--got to interact with the undergraduate research community in an unique setting. Some of our campus partners had over 80 participants in their session and reported that the sessions were a great way to forge new connections.

We want to extend our sincerest gratitude for our student presenters and their research mentors for engaging and presenting at the symposium. We're so proud of all the hard work that you all have accomplished.

Congratulations to our student presenters and their research mentors!
We're actively adding content to our UROP Leader and Student Spotlight Blogs on the HSF House Blogs site! Keep up with the UROP Leaders and Students over the summer using the link below!
Keep up with what the Tech Fellows are doing over the summer using the Tech Fellows Blogs, which are also being featured on the HSF House Blogs site! Use the link below to read those blogs!
Our 2021 Global Scholars are also writing about their summer experiences, but this time on the Omprakash website! They'll be discussing where they are working this summer and what they internships/projects will look like. Read those blogs below!

Please set up a meeting through Campus Connect, use the instructions on the “Getting Started” page, and we will respond to you with a link to a Zoom appointment.


We are constantly amazed by what our current students and alumni are working on, so share your success stories with us to be featured in our monthly newsletter and weekly social media posts. Fill out this form to share your news!
Engaging students in research, innovation, and scholarship is the hallmark of a great research university. Through this engagement, students become better thinkers, innovators, and problem solvers, cultivating a depth of understanding needed to make a positive difference in the world.