Undergraduate research

Manly is the Director of undergraduate research in the College. When driven students and good mentoring meet, undergraduate research is the most powerful way for us to teach and for our students to learn. Through undergraduate research, students can explore topics at much greater depth than in the classroom. Also, the exploration is not compartmentalized the way it is in the typical classroom. The University of Rochester is a small and serious (Tier-1) research university. Research opportunities for students are rampant. That said, we feel that it is important increase the quality and quantity of undergraduate research experiences for students in the College where possible.

Research and Innovation Grant RIG program: In the RIG program, $3000-$4500 grants are offered to select prospective freshmen that they can use during their time at Rochester to support experiential learning. Most students use this money to support undergraduate reserach experiences. The RIG program helps to recruit fabulous students to come to Rochester, provides "mad money" for these students to create wonderful learning experiences, encourages faculty at Rochester and other places to take on Rochester students for undergraduate research positions, and creates a buzz about experiential learning opportunities.

UR Undergraduate Research Placement program (URUPP): This program is aimed at lowering barriers for students to get involved in undergraduate research. In this program, the Office of Undergraduate Research partners with local disciplinary experts in finding research opportunities and provide useful training for students interested in those areas. Participating students are matched with reserch groups where they do a research training roation. After the rotation, the students are either invited to continue working with the group or they use the experience as a springboard into other opportunities. Currently this program is being developed/prototyped in neuroscience at Rochester. If successful, we hope to broaden it to other disciplinary areas.

Discover Grant/REACH (research) program: This program supplies funding to enable and enhance undergraduate research opportunities that might not happen otherwise. One of the primary aims of the program is to supply some living expense support for students doing unpaid undergraduate research internships during the summer. In addition, the program can fund projects that create opportunities for undergraduate research that cannot be funded in other ways.

Conference funding: An important part of doing research is sharing the findings. The Office of Undergraduate Research can provide funds to help support students attending topical conferences to present the results of their research. In addition, each year the Office sponsors a large group of students (25-40 or so) to attend the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Pre-College Experience in Physics (PREP)

Women are seriously under-represented in the hard sciences and mathematics. That pipeline has narrowed substantially before young women enter college. PREP is a free day program run by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester that aims to help this problem, even if only in a small way. It is a three week program for 9th and 10th grade girls that encourages them to stay in or join the STEM pipeline. Two dynamic female University of Rochester STEM majors are selected each year to run the program. The daily agenda for the girls is filled with hands-on projects, demonstrations and tours, and level-appropriate lectures given by Rochester faculty. This program is meant to inspire the young women and give them the opportunity to meet other like-minded women in the area. Typically the program runs in July. Interested students are encouraged to apply here. This program is supported by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the U.S. CMS experiment outreach program. (CMS is one of the large particle physics experiments at the LHC.) Manly has been the director of the PREP program since approximately 2000.

Training of teaching assistants

All graduate students and most of the physics majors in our department participate in the teaching enterprise. Teaching is a fabulous learning experience for these students. They gain a deeper understanding of the material, learn presentation and group facilitation skills, and acquire experience that can help them decide if teaching is something they enjoy. Undergraduate students taking physics and astronomy courses benefit from the efforts of these peer teachers because of the additional personal attention and nearness in age/experience. The teaching assistants work closely with supervising faculty in their assigned courses. In addtion, TA's recieve initial and ongoing training on many aspects of their teaching responsibilities: presentation, facilitation, group dynamics, cognitive research on learning, grading consistency, crisis management, etc. For many years, Manly has spearheaded the effort to train the graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants in the department.