Spotlight on UCARE
McNair Scholars have had a very busy year. While Senior Scholars were completing their graduate school applications and finalizing their poster presentations for the April Undergraduate Research Conference, Junior Scholars were turning in their summer research proposals and Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) applications.
Sponsored by the Pepsi Endowment, the UCARE program provides research funding opportunities for undergraduates to work directly with UNL faculty mentors. Between 300-400 students, in over 70 departments on the UNL campus, receive UCARE funding each year. All undergraduates are eligible to apply for up to two years of funding through UCARE.
Through the UCARE program, McNair Scholars receive additional support, allowing students to remain engaged in a research project with their faculty mentors and continue their McNair summer research project. In the past three years, over 30 McNair Scholars have received research funding from UCARE.
According to Maegan Stevens-Liska, a former McNair Scholar, “I gained basic research skills during the McNair summer research experience, which were crucial while carrying out more independent and in-depth research necessary for my senior thesis.” With the addition of UCARE funding, faculty mentors continue teaching scholars to learn how to attack a problem, to understand how to research it, and to evaluate and summarize the findings. As Maegan recalled, “With previous research experience already under my belt, I found it much easier to think about how to take an already existing project and logically expand it to a thesis-worthy topic.”