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Spotlight on undergraduate research

Working in a research lab setting has helped Human Biology major Jose Ybarra nurture his critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

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Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place April 11-15 this year. To celebrate undergraduate research and creative activity, we’re highlighting profiles of student researchers.

Jose Ybarra
Major: Human Biology
Research Topic: Nerve Regeneration and Cellular Migration
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Christine E. Schmidt, Department of Biomedical Engineering

“Discovering an underground network of scientists and engineers who shared my passions was an immensely rewarding and exciting experience.” — Jose Ybarra

Briefly describe your research project.

We investigate the effects of electrical stimulation through an electrically conductive substrate on Schwann cell migration, morphological differentiation and behavioral patterns.

What was your favorite part of your research experience?

I enjoyed meeting and talking to people who share my interest in research. Discovering an underground network of scientists and engineers who shared my passions was an immensely rewarding and exciting experience.

What surprised you during the research process?

I was surprised to discover how easy it is to become a part of the research world. Most professors are extremely eager to get new students interested in research, and many take great pride in teaching students in their lab.

How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience?

Working in a research lab setting completely changed the way I viewed my educational experience. What was once a static classroom existence instantly became a dynamic world of discovery.

How do you think getting involved in research will be helpful to you in the future?

Research has helped to nurture my critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I don’t think that I would have mastered these skills so aptly had it not been for research, and I know they will be enormous assets in the future.

What advice would you give incoming students about getting involved in research?

Do it.