Jan. 29: Transformational power of undergraduate research is topic of talk by Shelley Pressley

PULLMAN, Wash.—Shelley Pressley, director of the Washington State University Office of Undergraduate Research, will present “Leveling up with undergraduate research” at 4:10 p.m. Mon., Jan. 29, in CUE, 203, the Common Reading Program has announced. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Pressley’s office advocates helping students undertake research with a mentor—often a faculty member—from the freshman year forward. The experience can transform students’ time and academic experience at WSU, she said. Currently, evidence indicates that 26 percent of WSU seniors have engaged in research.

Undergraduate research is not restricted to scientific laboratories, she said. Students in all majors can participate. Research can include projects that involve scholarly investigations and creative activities.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has long labeled research a high-impact learning activity for students. The goal of research, it said, is to “involve students in actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.”

Joining Pressley for the presentation will be several students who are already active in research, and who serve as peer mentors to others seeking information or ready to embark on their own work with a mentor.

The presentation is part of the spring semester lineup of faculty and guest experts who will discuss topics related to ones raised in this year’s common reading book, Ready Player One. The book as well as WSU-wide programming focuses on the theme of “frontiers of technology, health, and society”.

The Common Reading began in 2006-07 in Pullman. It helps students, their teachers, and the community better engage in academically centered critical thinking, communication, research, and learning around a body of shared information, as presented in a single, specially selected book.


Karen Weathermon, WSU Common Reading Program co-director, WSU Undergraduate Education, 509-335-5488, kweathermon@wsu.edu