Undergraduates collaborate with faculty, community on research projects

Thirteen undergraduate fellows in Rice University’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) displayed the fruits of their summer research labors at the annual CCE Fellows Research Symposium Sept. 6 in the Ley Student Center’s Farnsworth Pavilion.

The research fellows, who represent academic disciplines from throughout the university, showcased posters highlighting their summer research projects, everything from analyzing the impact of electronic voting to designing tree-watering rings in an effort to help Rice Facilities Engineering and Planning respond to the effects of Houston’s historic 2011 drought.

“The CCE fellows program is now in its sixth year and allows students to conduct faculty-supervised research that benefits the Houston community,” said Stephanie Post, CCE co-director. “The students meet weekly with their respective fellows to provide feedback on each other’s projects, improve their communication skills and learn more about Houston.”

Lovett College sophomore Fay Pauly and Hanszen College sophomore Erika Danckers were among eight students who led a project for Wilson Montessori School in the Houston Independent School District. The students designed the Widget Wall, a magnetic wall on which pieces of pipe can be configured for a ball to roll down, to introduce Wilson students to basic science concepts and give them the opportunity to explore beyond what they learn in the classroom.

“I think our project is unique because it involves how to teach and get students engaged in learning,” Pauly said.

“We hope our project will stimulate the schoolchildren’s interest in science,” added Danckers.

The CCE Fellows program supports substantive, high-quality undergraduate research and/or design projects that are faculty-supervised and conducted in collaboration with a Houston-based partner during the summer.

For more information on the CCE, visit http://cce.rice.edu.

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About Amy Hodges

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.