From science to humanities,
undergraduate researchers shine

As a liberal arts college and a leading research university, Emory offers the best of both worlds to undergraduate students ready to delve into original research.

From chemistry to psychology, from history to neuroscience, Emory College students tackle hands-on research with support from faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars, helping them sharpen critical and analytical skills, better understand classroom concepts, expand career options — and even contribute new knowledge to their fields of study.

“It’s wonderful and exciting scholarship they are doing,” says Folashade Alao, codirector of the Undergraduate Research Programs with Gillian Hue in Emory College. “It has a profound impact on how they understand their field, so they not only see how a question is pursued but how an answer develops.”

Formerly known as Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory (SIRE), Undergraduate Research Programs supports student researchers through grants; summer programs; fall and spring symposia; the Research Partners Program, which connects students with faculty who need research assistants; and much more.

“It’s exciting to experience research full time,” says Daniel Kikuchi, whose 2016 project explored the role of the gene POLDIP2 in cardiovascular health. “You have to be kind of creative to see where the holes are in the knowledge and work to fill them.”

Student researchers present their work at Emory symposia, and some go on to attend national conferences in their fields and publish their work in academic journals.

“These are students who may go on to grad school, to an MD or PhD, who have already had hands-on work in their field,” Alao says. “For those students interested in industry or nonprofit careers, research experiences also have an equally profound impact, from building problem-solving skills to experience collaborating with others and designing a project.

“They are doing creative, innovative, and profound work that should be seen by their peers as a model of the unique avenues of scholastic exploration possible at Emory and an example of the robust community of undergraduate researchers present in the college,” Alao says.

Explore four of the diverse projects completed by Emory's undergraduate researchers in 2016:

Cultural components to health care

Dalila Vázquez Herrera grew up in the mountains of southern Mexico, speaking the indigenous Mixtec language. At Emory, she researched the role of culture in health care delivery.

Learn more

Fine line between fear and disgust

Through experiments in the Emory Spatial Cognition Laboratory, Meghan Hickey found that trypophobia, commonly known as a fear of holes, isn't really about fear at all.

Learn more

Untold stories of Japanese-American internment

Takuya Maeda's research documents the impact of a trust fund set aside for the Japanese-American community to develop educational efforts about internment during World War II.

Learn more

Kidneys, hormones, and hypertension

Trinity Kronk's research project expanded her career path as a future physician and could contribute to a better understanding of the drugs needed to treat high blood pressure.

Learn more