Every spring semester since 2015, undergraduate students from across the SUNY and CUNY systems have gathered to showcase individual research projects, completed across a broad spectrum of subjects, via oral and visual representations, at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference (SURC). This year, SUNY Cobleskill students will be presenting at two SURC locations, with students attending either SUNY Adirondack’s event on Friday, April 26, or SUNY Niagara County Community College’s event on Saturday, April 27. In the week leading up to SURC, we’ve caught up with some of this year’s presenters, who have been kind enough to give us an inside look at their research, and shed light on the work that has gone into finalizing it.
Student: Ryan Wright
Project: “A Student’s Perspective of Program Redesign”
Topic: The SUNY Cobleskill Honors Program
Q: Briefly describe your research, and its desired outcomes?
RW: By conducting an institutional program review, we are looking to identify specific aspects of the Honors Program that need adjustment. Students have worked hand-in-hand with faculty and professional staff members to create a stronger and more comprehensively influential program overall. Our goals are to clean up curriculum and acceptance procedures, and provide added benefits to our honors students.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of the research?
RW: This opportunity has not only furthered my knowledge of the program and how it works, but it has also allowed me to network with a variety of professionals. I now have the ability to help carry out future Honors Program developments because of the work that I have completed thus far. Additionally, the connections I have made will provide me with numerous professional development opportunities.
Q: What inspired your research to move in this direction?
RW: Our Honors Program director, being new to the program herself, was the driving force in conducting this review. Being a freshman in the program, however, made me a perfect candidate to really involve myself in the redesign, because I was unbiased and had a fresh outlook. The work that has been done has completely turned the program around, although I believe there will always be more ways to better ourselves.
Q: What has this research taught you about yourself, as a researcher or as a student?
RW: I have always enjoyed helping and leading others, and this project has been another opportunity to do so. Not only have I been able to get to know the other program members better and work together with them, but I have earned opportunities to present at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference and SURC, showing me what I am capable of.
Q: What are some of the specific things you are most excited about when it comes time to present your research?
RW: I am excited to present from the perspective of a student in an institutional program. Oftentimes students present on individual research that they have conducted; I have the privilege to represent SUNY Cobleskill’s Honors Program and the work that we have all done together.
Q: How has SUNY Cobleskill helped you grow as a student/researcher?
RW: Kelly Yacobucci, our Honors Program director, has been the driving force behind this project. Her entrance into this role and desire to make it better has provided the basis for students to become involved. She has also provided us with a comfortable working environment to share our thoughts and include our opinions throughout the process, which is further developed by the small class size that allows each person’s voice to be heard.
Q: What would you tell next year’s students researching and presenting for SURC 2020?
RW: It is important to make your research your own. Be sure to include your opinions and experiences and make the research personal – because you work hard to get there!