At Central College you have the opportunity to engage in collaborative research, scholarship and creative inquiry. This high-impact experience allows you to engage more deeply with your chosen discipline resulting in new creative works, exciting discoveries and the answer to applied problems.
These experiences are available to all students regardless of major. Activities are supported not only during the academic year, but also through our summer undergraduate research program. From these events, you have the opportunity to present your work locally, regionally and nationally at conferences. For many, this experience helps shape a career path and is instrumental in landing that first job, or being accepted to graduate or professional school.
The Spring 2020 Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry is now virtual! While we are unable to come together in person, we plan to showcase our students' work throughout the semester in the spirit of collaborative learning and community engagement that makes Central distinctive.
Check out the insightful student poster presentations and watch short, student-produced videos on research conducted in the Spring 2020 semester.
Dozens of Central professors use research assignments every year to help students prepare for professional and academic careers. Students also present their results during Central’s Undergraduate Research Symposium. Many also present at regional and national conferences related to their disciplines.
“Not a lot of undergraduates are doing research — that is unique to Central,” said Linda Laine, associate professor of communication studies. “It is going to put them way ahead if they go on to graduate school after Central.” And if students want to start careers right after graduation, Laine said the challenges of research prepare them to excel when managing long-term professional projects.
“I loved presenting my results. I felt like a real scientist, not just regurgitating other research into a literature review but actually showing the world new data.”
— Rachel Braak ’15
Central provides many opportunities for students to partner with faculty members on student-faculty research projects. Such research projects offer a great opportunity to learn research methods, practice professional interactions with research peers and mentors, and start developing a professional network. All these things can make you a more competitive candidate for graduate programs and job opportunities.
The Franks-Mahmood Fund for Undergraduate Research supports faculty-student research involving domestic or international travel.
Tej Dhawan ’91 and Karen Dhawan ’91 established the endowed fund in April 2019. It is named for Robert Franks, professor of computer science, and Mahmood, two faculty mentors to the Dhawans while they were Central students.
Jay Wackerly, associate professor of chemistry at Central, has been awarded the Organic Syntheses, Inc. Grant for Summer Research. Amy Philavanh, Class of 2022 and a biochemistry major from Ankeny, Iowa, will help Wackerly conduct research this summer.
Hear what Central students have to say about their student/faculty research experiences:
Central College students leverage Central’s modern facilities to carry out collaborative research projects with students each summer. Projects span the liberal arts including projects in the humanities, arts, natural sciences and social sciences.
In addition to focused research in the summer, students continue to explore research topics during the academic year through independent study, honors enrichment and course-based research.