President Powers and panel encourage undergraduates to pursue research


Gabriella Belzer

A panel of award-winning professors offers insight to students on how to participate in undergraduate research Thursday evening. 

Zach Lozano

In conjunction with Undergraduate Research Week, the Senate of College Councils sponsored a talk led by UT President William Powers Jr. and a panel of professors on Thursday.

The panelists have conducted research in fields including social work, philosophy, chemistry and communication science disorders. Each panel member discussed his or her experiences with research, both as undergraduates and in his or her current positions.

“What attracts us to being a researcher is you get to work with the best people,” chemistry professor Brent Iverson said. “And it’s great to achieve something that hasn’t been achieved before.” 

The panelists advised students on how to succeed if they decide to participate in undergraduate research. 

“Be persistent,” Iverson said. “Get to know the TAs and convince them you will make their life easier.” 

In Powers’ speech after the panel, he praised the status of undergraduate research on campus.

“It is a great development and bits of progress for the University,” Powers said. “This is a tremendous advance and we cannot rest on our laurels.”

Powers said the purpose of undergraduate education is to learn how to solve problems and the only way to do that is to jump into it.

“If students get into situations where they have to solve problems, you will do better in your field, your classes and beyond,” Powers said. “You learn how to use mental tools … by being a part of research.” 

Music freshman Kristina Doan, who participated in the Longhorn Research Bazaar on Wednesday, said participating in such an event as a freshman is motivation to continue to explore research topics and look for ways to change the world.

“To do a research project as a freshman is a great boost to myself,” Doan said. “Now I’m anxious to look for ways to solve the problem I chose to research and make my dream a reality.”