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05/04/93

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Undergraduate summer research initiatives announced

STANFORD -- As part of the ongoing "Teaching Initiative" in the Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, two new summer research programs for undergraduates will be launched on a pilot basis in 1993, officials have announced.

The two are: Summer Research Fellowships in Natural Sciences and a Residential Honor College for selected students in history, human biology, mathematics and philosophy.

Assistant Dean Ellen Woods said the fellowship program in natural sciences encourages departments to engage undergraduates in research preliminary to honors. Fellowships in physics, chemistry and biology provide guided laboratory experience for students who plan to undertake independent projects in the upcoming years.

Assistant Professor Robert Waymouth, who directs the Chemistry Fellowship Program, said that "the personal interaction of faculty members with undergraduates in a research environment is one of the most valuable aspects of the program."

Professor Doug Osheroff, organizer of the program in physics, is sponsoring concurrent weekly seminars, in which faculty members as well as fellowship students make presentations on their research activities.

Fellowship students in biology will conduct field studies to gain skills and learn methodology enabling them to continue work in Assistant Professor Deborah Gordon's laboratory upon their return.

The Honors College, Woods said, will host about 20 selected students majoring in history, human biology, mathematics and philosophy for a two-or-three week period before the opening of autumn term. Living in a single residence and served by a graduate student with experience in the Writing Across the Curriculum program, the students will invest this time preparing for their honors theses.

Professors William Durham, anthropology, and Michael Bratman, philosophy, said they hope the workshops and seminars will foster an atmosphere of mutual support around intellectual issues for the students engaged in the process of writing honors theses. One of the additional goals for the participants in history, according to Professor Jack Rakove, is to have honors candidates identify the body of primary sources needed for their projects, under the guidance of the curatorial staff of the library.

The conception for these pilot programs, Woods said, arose from faculty directors of undergraduate studies from throughout the school who exchanged ideas for enhancing undergraduate research under the guidance of Associate Dean Al Camarillo, a professor of history. Funds to support the summer programs come from the Bing Teaching Initiative and the Robert O. McMahan Family Fund for Undergraduate Education. These new opportunities complement the established small and major grant programs administered by Undergraduate Research Opportunities (URO), which supports over 300 students annually.

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