The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Undergraduates at the UI get involved in research

Interested students are provided the opportunity to join and assist in ongoing research, something many have jumped at.
Shuntaro Kawasaki
Dr. Bob Kirby, director of the UI Office of Undergraduate Research (O.U.R.), discusses methods to promote student involvement in research at a weekly meeting with O.U.R. staff and ambassadors in Gilmore Hall on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023. The Office of Undergraduate Research, formerly ICRU, hosts events, workshops and presentations at student organization meetings and classes to promote undergraduate research.

Undergraduate students at the University of Iowa are finding research opportunities in and outside of the STEM field from assisting studies on artificial intelligence in job interviews to nuclear power.

Nearly 30 percent of current undergraduates are performing research during their four years of schooling at the UI, Robert Kirby, UI director of undergraduate research, said. Most students have the ability to do research on any topic, regardless of major at the UI, which is a Research 1 university.

“Research is the discovery of new information,” Kirby said. “That doesn’t need to be just purely tied to these STEM fields that we hear everything about.”

The Department of Undergraduate Research was officially established in 2006. Two years ago, it became part of the Office of the Vice President for Research.

“Undergraduates are involved in discovering new things. And there are all sorts of directions that way. It’s really about how it impacts them,” Kirby said. “Research is a kind of educational tool for them to think about their careers and where they want to go.”

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Students partner with professionals to conduct research on various topics, but there are many different ways they get involved. Kirby said the department does help students, but it is largely up to students to find research opportunities.

Fourth-year student Drew Jauron is one of these students conducting research, specifically researching organizational management.

“I think that’s a part about a university education, is you have an opportunity to reach out to all these different parties,” Jauron said. “And research can integrate with that really well.”

Jauron will present a thesis on his research with asynchronous video interviews and ways humans can best prepare for them, which could potentially include artificial intelligence.

“I like knowing why humans interact and how they interact,” Jauron said.

Alongside his thesis advisor, Ken Brown, whom he met in the management department, Jauron will conduct an experiment with a professional preparation class that presents students with different prompts to determine if those prompts influence interactions with AI tools.

Jauron will present his findings at the Spring Undergraduate Research Festival and hopes to have his thesis published in a management journal.

Asher Motes, a UI first-year student, is involved in research looking into how to take spent nuclear fuel and get more fuel out of it.

“I think it’s always nerve-wracking because it’s like, yeah, I’m working with a Ph.D. student,” Motes said. “This is the research that she’s been spending a lot of time on and the procedures that she’s been working on.”

Kirby encouraged interested students to try it for themselves.

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About the Contributors
Olivia Gamertsfelder, News Reporter
Olivia is a freshman student from Washington D.C. double majoring in creative writing and journalism. She is a news reporter for the Daily Iowan. Prior to this, she directed her school's literary magazine and completed two theses (please ask her about them as she is very passionate).
Shuntaro Kawasaki, Photojournalist
Shuntaro Kawasaki is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry and Cinema. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Shuntaro has interned at the Carver College of Medicine, writing a research paper.