Undergraduate research ambassadors aim to raise awareness of research opportunities on campus

Trevecca students wishing to spread their research wings now have an outlet. University officials initiated a new program this year: undergraduate research ambassadors.

Comprised of students who have already been involved in undergraduate research projects, the group is tasked with working with Dr. Sam Green, Trevecca’s director of undergraduate research. They will help develop messaging and marketing campaigns to better inform students about the benefits of undergraduate research.

According to Green, the new group flows out of the University’s desire to give students various types of opportunities to grow academically. Students were chosen to be a part of the group through a careful selection process spearheaded by Green.

“The research ambassadors were chosen from among the top student researchers at Trevecca,” he said.

Green asked five professors heavily involved in research to recommend two students to become ambassadors. Students had to have participated in a FLARE (Faculty-Led Academic Research Experience) project alongside a professor or faculty member. Students were considered regardless of their year in school, and invitations were then extended to prospective research ambassadors.

Nearly every single student accepted.

Six active members make up the undergraduate research ambassadors: Jacob Kanupp, Brady Smith, Evan Burcham, Taylor Wise, Kelsey Raymond and Jordan Van Nest.

The group had the opportunity to serve recently. They acted as room moderators during the Faculty Research Symposium that took place this past November.

Senior Evan Burcham, a biology major, acted as one of these moderators. He attests to the work the group has been doing and the work that is still to be done.

“It has been very reassuring that Trevecca still cares about research,” Burcham said. “Sam Green has done a lot to keep the progress going and the vision going. Everyone is very happy about it. Of course, it will take time to become a big thing on campus. We need to find more researchers, but that will come once we get more of a foothold on campus.”

Green and the group are looking to grow while still maintaining their high standards.

“Our goal is to have students speak in a research role at this university, we want them to have a voice,” Green said. “The desire is to have representation from all departments or at least all the schools in the coming years,” he said.

Jordan Van Nest, a senior physics major, sees changes happening even now.

“Obviously the program is still pretty new, but it is kick-starting a lot of awareness within the student population,” he said. “The program is making undergraduate research more accessible,” he said.

The student research ambassadors can be seen in action next semester as all will likely participate in the student research symposium taking place during the spring.

By Josh Michel
Media contact: Mandy Crow, mmcrow@trevecca.edu, 615-248-1695