Faculty have collaborated with students on their scientific research from at least the early 1900s, beginning with Beverly W. Kunkel, professor of biology from 1915 to 1952 (see page 21). In the 1980s, Joseph Sherma (above right), Larkin Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, and Bernard Fried, Kreider Professor Emeritus of Biology, began conducting collaborative research in invertebrate biology and analytical chemistry with students.
From 1980 to 2007, they co-authored 108 papers with 95 students. Many of their students have pursued careers in the sciences and medicine including Stacey Wagner ’03 (above), a biochemistry graduate who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Colorado and is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, and noted immunologist Barry Sleckman ’83 (see story).
“Undergraduate research is the ultimate exercise in problem-based learning, and it can provide dramatic benefits for student education and professional development,” Sherma and Fried wrote in an article for Chromatography (Vol. 28, No. 3, 2007) that lists the co-authored papers. “Most of our students who have pursued careers in the sciences and medicine consider research to have been the defining endeavor in their undergraduate experience.
“Despite the doubts of many research scientists, our experience has shown undergraduate students can succeed greatly and produce much high-quality, publishable research if a program is well-designed with projects of interest to the students,” they continue. “A research experience alone is helpful, but a record of publication is the best way for students to prove their accomplishments and establish their own reputations.”