All good research starts with an inquiry question. Why is the sky blue? Let’s find out. Why do birds fly south in the winter? Let’s study them. Why would I, a student at SPCC, want to pursue a passion and complete a project with the help of a faculty mentor? Let’s explore why…
About the Undergraduate Research Program
Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students have the ability to solve problems, pursue a topic of interest, or just research and learn about something that piques their interest. Our students have the freedom to choose a topic, develop a project, and ultimately answer that initial inquiry question. We want to think of these projects more as “creative exploration” and for students to express themselves creatively or in ways that reflect their talents and interests or newfound passions based on discoveries made during SPCC courses.
The Undergraduate Research Program wants to provide our students with the ability to strengthen core skills, such as research and critical thinking, while also fostering relationships with a faculty mentor. Mentors will guide students and assist students until the completion of a given project or pursuit. And, best of all, students will be able to create something that is a reflection of themselves, their passions, or their future pursuits. The program will be an inclusive opportunity for ALL SPCC students, and the opportunities to participate are limitless.
Students can utilize their Creative Exploration projects as a sample of one’s skills for future employment, have their work displayed on campus or on the program’s website, or even participate in a seasonal symposium with their work displayed on campus. But, most importantly, students have an additional outlet to explore and learn and collaborate and create—and this is the essence of the Undergraduate Research Program and the Creative Exploration project.
Emily Dougher loves everything Disney. Her background on TEAMS meetings is Cinderella’s Castle. She works at one of Disney’s stores in Concord Mills. Her passion for Disney was on full display in a company profile essay and SWOT analysis project she completed for her English and Business classes within the AAY program. When Emily realized she had the opportunity to pursue her passion in the form of a creative inquiry project, she didn’t hesitate. Emily’s future plans include attending Central Florida in Orlando and then being a part of Disney’s Ambassador program for college graduates. She knows her project will be valuable for her application to UCF and potentially for future interviews or advancement within the company.
Makenna Tracy, a university transfer student, recently completed an APA report essay about recycling on a national and local level. In her report, she identified issues that she personally felt needed to be addressed to improve the recycling of plastics. In an MLA argumentative essay, Makenna will research and argue for changes that need to be made within our current political system. Makenna is realistic in knowing she can’t fix these broad, societal issues by herself, but her drive to make a change led her to take the initiative and work towards a creative inquiry project. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, Makenna wants to interview local politicians, contact local companies, and ultimately report her findings in the form of a project she has yet to determine—but she’s excited about the limitless possibilities of what she’s allowed to create. Makenna said, “Everyone is a different learner, and they are at different times in their educational journey. But no matter where you are, this research program could be for you. Anyone can do this, and you get to choose how you take on this project and what it is on. This is a great opportunity for me to go out into the world and learn a little bit more about it and share that with others.”
Ben Saunders is a Panthers fan. He’s owned PSLs for years and talks about Panthers wins (and losses) from Sunday to Sunday. Like many fans of the team, Ben is anxiously optimistic about the direction of the team under new ownership and coaching staff. Ben seized the opportunity to focus on the Panthers new regime in an essay and comprehensive project, analyzing data and graphs to gauge the opportunities and threats Panthers owner Dave Tepper faces in building new facilities in South Carolina and starting a professional soccer team while managing a growing (but sometimes skeptical) fan base. Ben was motivated in knowing that he has the freedom to creatively and independently look into the Panthers more specifically and find the answers to the questions that he and many other fans have about Tepper and the direction of the organization. He hopes to use his final product for his portfolio, as a writing sample for future employers, or as a way to hone his research and communication skills in his pursuit to become a psychologist or counselor.