Destenie Nock is analyzing superconducting materials to determine how they can be used for energy storage applications. Rolando Roca is developing an ammonia gas sensor based on carbon nanotubes. Neither is a professional scientist or professor, but both are conducting cutting-edge research as participants in the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) Education Alliance’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities (URO) program.
The Intel Foundation provides funding for URO, which offers undergraduates valuable research experience and mentoring. Studies show involvement in research early in a student’s career enables them to put theories into practice, deepens their appetites for science and math, and increases their desire to go on to graduate studies. The URO program also improves student retention, helps to create a sense of community among scholarships, and gives them a competitive edge.
Destenie, who is double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, explains, “By working in a lab, I get to incorporate everything I have learned in my undergraduate course.”
Rolando, an electrical engineering major at Georgia Tech, adds, “Being part of the URO program has given me the chance to meet many students and graduate students.” He continues, “I feel more capable of contributing to my field of study because I have a richer network of professors, graduate, and undergraduate students I can count on.”
To increase diversity in the technical work force, the innovative URO program seeks to attract a diverse undergraduate student population, including women and under-represented minorities.
"Undergraduate research has always been something individual students strive to achieve, but through Intel and SRC Education Alliance partnership, a rich community of researchers has been created. This community encourages students and provides resources for students who are going through the unique challenge of balancing research and classwork during their undergraduate careers."
- Vidya Ramesh, UC Berkeley student