University of South Florida

USF Research & Innovation

USFRI Newsroom

Paul Sohl with student

Florida High Tech Corridor CEO Paul Sohl speaks with an undergraduate researcher during USF's Summer AIR Symposium.

Undergraduate Research Initiative commits $110K to support more than 70 USF students

The Florida High Tech Corridor and USF Research & Innovation will deploy $110,000 for the second year in a row to support more than 70 students in undergraduate research programs at the University of South Florida. Last year, the initiative directly supported 71 students in nine colleges.

"I feel highly privileged to be a part of this experience,” said USF student Jamila Cox, who participated in the College of Education’s summer research academy. “Not only am I more prepared for my future endeavors in graduate school and teaching, but I am able to challenge myself by executing a study that I am very passionate about.  I feel more confident going into graduate school and know what the research process is like."

research symposium

An undergraduate researcher presents her poster at USF’s Summer AIR Symposium.

With funding support from the Undergraduate Research Initiative in 2022-23, five of seven engineering departments reported the highest number of REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) students in their history, College of Arts students completed research for a journal article submission to Studies in Arts Education, and students in the College of Nursing’s Biobehavioral Research Lab prepared three posters for USF Health Research Day, including one that won the Basic Science Award for Undergraduate Students. The 2023 Undergraduate Research Symposium also was a resounding success with large increases in submissions from the humanities and social sciences.

"Undergraduate research has helped me in my educational journey by preparing me for graduate school, giving me an opportunity to become more involved in the speech, language, and hearing science program at USF, and allowing me to experience providing treatment,” said USF student Jolie Visgaitis, who participated in the summer research institute at the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences. “The experiences and resources provided through undergraduate research have had and will continue to have enormous positive impacts on my educational and career journey."

New Initiatives

In 2023-24, the Undergraduate Research Initiative will fund ten programs in nine colleges, including three new initiatives:

College of the Arts – Field based Research Assistantships in Entertainment Design & Technology
Students will conduct research field work in Entertainment Design using cutting edge design technology like 3D rendering, drafting, projection and lighting software, 3D printers, laser cutters and AI generated art. Students will assist a designated Design faculty mentor for at least three months on an external professional design job or an intensive position on a USF production.

College of Marine Science – Collaborative Oceanographic Research Experience II with Hydrography Focus (USFCMS-CORE2-Hydro)
The College's Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovative Technologies (COMIT) will build off previous successful student research efforts to host the Collaborative Oceanographic Research Experience 2 (CORE2-Hydro) with a focus on Hydrography – surveying of oceans and bodies of water. This undergraduate experiential learning concept will include semester-long projects exposing students to science communication, fieldwork planning & preparation, data analysis, and oceanic equipment maintenance, design, and use and will culminate in a 4-day research cruise. 

College of Public Health – COPH Connect to Success: A Program to Facilitate Research Mentorship among Undergraduate Students
This program provides ten paid undergraduate research opportunities for public health and health sciences students. They will work directly with faculty on current projects, gaining valuable research experience that might not be accessible to them if these opportunities were unpaid.  Potential deliverables might include conference abstracts, manuscripts, community reports and presentations.

Office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research – Summer Academy for Investigative Learning (SAIL)
The Summer Academy for Investigative Learning (SAIL) will introduce undergraduate participants to the profound significance of research in our ever-evolving society, challenge them to confront local and global issues, and empower them to actively engage in research endeavors at USF and beyond. 

Recurring Initiatives 

College of Arts & Sciences – Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Building a Sustainable World              
The Building a Sustainable World Undergraduate Fellowship program will provide opportunities for students across OneUSF (on all three campuses) to work with interdisciplinary faculty clusters on existing projects or to initiate new projects in any of the College Focus Areas across the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. 

College of Behavioral & Community Sciences – Corridor Undergraduate Research Initiative
The College of Behavioral and Community Sciences will expand two existing programs that currently support undergraduate research. The first is the NIDA-funded Summer Research Institute program, designed for undergraduate students interested in building their research skills within the context of substance use and co-occurring disorders. The second is the Undergraduate Research Scholarship program that allows students to conduct guided research projects with a faculty mentor. 

undergrad research academy

Vice President for Research & Innovation Sylvia Wilson Thomas meets with USF student Shraon Aybar during the College of Education's Summer Research Academy.

College of Education –  Educational Research in the Classroom & Beyond: The College of Education Undergraduate Summer Research Academy
Funding received last year resulted in the first college-wide research training for 10 undergraduate students in the College. Feedback from last year’s participants was overwhelmingly positive. This new funding will support the integration of participant feedback into the 2024 Academy and expand opportunities for students to learn about resources available across campuses at USF and in the community.

College of Engineering – Keep the Momentum Going: Highest Number of REU Students in College’s History
The College’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program aims to give undergraduate students an opportunity to participate directly in research efforts as research assistants with professors and graduate students on a variety of exciting and interdisciplinary research projects. Corridor funds will be used to increase participation in this sought after program.  

Judy Genshaft Honors College – Undergraduate Research Portal Enhancement   
The student research team will to continue developing the Undergraduate Research Portal's features to enhance its value for faculty, staff, and students. The portal, launched with funds from last year’s Corridor program, allows students to be quickly matched to research opportunities at USF.

College of Nursing – Biobehavioral Research Laboratory: Expanding Undergraduate Research and Leadership
This funding will expand the College of Nursing's existing Biobehavioral Lab undergraduate volunteer program to provide paid opportunities for interested students to continue participating in the lab's research and act as trainers and mentors for incoming volunteers, continue to work on projects in the lab, and to develop and validate new research protocols for small volume samples.

Return to article listing



Learn more about USF research by viewing articles from past years (2010-2019).

USFRI Social Media

To keep up to date on USFRI news, see our official social media accounts. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.