By Cliff Foster
Senior Martin Lapel is the personification of MSU Denver’s Applied Learning Center.
Lapel, a biology/chemistry major who will graduate in December with an eye on medical school, parlayed an internship at the Anschutz Medical Campus researching the equivalent of chickenpox in monkeys into an award-winning presentation at last April’s inaugural Undergraduate Research Conference, sponsored by the Applied Learning Center (ALC). In the Provost's Awards category, Lapel received $150 for Best Student Poster: “Insertion of Simian immunodeficiency virus-gag Sequence into Simian Varicella Virus Genome.”
“I feel like this internship gave me an advantage…because a lot of people don’t get undergraduate research experience,” he says. “And to be able to present your research and get an award for it is very beneficial to me on where I’m trying to go.”
Promoting research, internships and service learning is the mission of the ALC, which was created last year to house three of the 10 “high-impact educational practices” under one roof. The center, located at 1045 Ninth Street Park, is hosting an open house with free food Oct. 10-11 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day to raise awareness of its programs.
The center is also preparing to accept applications for grants of up to $500 to support undergraduate research. Student applicants must be working with or have the support of a faculty member and submit a proposal outlining the research project and a budget for the money. The ALC is scheduled to have application details posted this week on its website. The deadline to apply is Nov. 2.
This is the second year for the grant program. Students who win awards are expected to present the results at the next ALC-sponsored Undergraduate Research Conference on May 3 and prepare a final report on the status of the project and an accounting for the grant money.
“We want to have a one-day big event that includes people from all departments that can be a celebration of all the different things students have done,” says Rhonda Eaker, ALC director.
The center’s Undergraduate Research Program encourages faculty members to include students in their research and makes students aware of the possibility of working on a project.
“A lot of students know their faculty is doing research on something but they’ve never thought about approaching them and saying ‘Hey, can I help you,’ " Eaker says. “There’s education that needs to be done on both sides.”
An undergraduate who lands an internship or participates in research or a service learning project may enjoy “better educational experiences and better outcomes when they graduate,” she says.
“They have things on their resume that look good. They have potentially made contacts in the community, and with internships it’s a huge advantage to have contacts and a network within your field.”
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