The University Record, March 22, 1993

3 undergrad researchers present work at national meeting

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Three U-M undergraduate students will be among those representing more than 200 colleges and universities at the National Conference of Undergraduate Researchers in Utah this week.

Edward Gehres III, Antoinette Robinson and Daren Hubbard will discuss the research they have been doing through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). UROP matches undergraduates with faculty in social sciences, humanities, behavioral and physical sciences, environmental science and engineering who are willing to share the research experience with undergraduate students.

“Research helps students identify what the academic mission of the University is by engaging them early,” says UROP Director Sandra M. Gregerman. “Through close contact with a faculty member, students develop skills not gained from texts—critical thinking and research skills that will be applicable to other areas in their lives.”

Gehres, an LS&A sophomore from Troy, will present “Perspectives on Native American Literacy,” research he completed last year with Anne Gere, professor of education and of English. Gehres, who is a Native American, says he learned from his research that literacy for Native Americans can’t be separated from traditional spirituality and custom.

He looks forward to presenting his research in Utah this week. “I am extremely excited,” he says. “It is an opportunity not only to draw together the work I was able to do and share it, it is also an opportunity to have the experience of presenting, being published and meeting a lot of people who may be able to help me apply for graduate school.”

Antoinette M. Robinson, a sophomore in LS&A from Flourissant, Mo., sees the research she did as a way to combine the thing she loves—children—with the thing she does best—business administration and corporate strategy.

Her project, “Popular Literature Review of the Child Welfare and Adoption Arenas in 1987–1992,” helped her become more aware of the problems children face and which rulings and laws affect their welfare.

“There is a day care crisis in the United States,” Robinson says. “I hope to develop a successful model for day care that is affordable and accessible to all parents. It is most important that it meet the needs of parents and children, and that we take a holistic approach to the family.”

Robinson did her research with Ira M. Schwartz, professor of social work.

Daren E. Hubbard, an LS&A junior from Detroit, will present a “Computer-based History of Art Instructional Module” which he developed and tested with Prof. Diane M. Kirkpatrick, chair of the Department of History of Art. The computer module is a student-driven interactive tutorial, he says, which incorporates slides, text and questions that students can run at their own pace, as opposed to a classroom slide presentation which, he says, often doesn’t expose students to the art work long enough for them to absorb it.

“I had fun doing it,” Hubbard says. “It has really changed my whole outlook on my career—I found that I could do other things than what I had originally planned to study.”

Hubbard already has presented his research project twice, once to the UROP program and once to IBM representatives who were interested in how software they provided had been used. He is looking forward to the trip to Utah.

“I’m really excited about it. I am proud of what I learned I could accomplish.” Hubbard, now a peer adviser with the program, designs graphics for all UROP’s in-house publishing needs.

UROP accepts only first- and second-year students, and from approximately 800 applicants matches nearly 400 with faculty researchers each year. The program began in 1987 with just a handful of students, Gregerman says, and this year had 355 actively involved in research projects. Each student spends an average of six to 10 hours each week working on the project for an entire academic year.