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September 14, 2017 Comments (0) Feature Articles, MainFeature

2017 Summer REX Program

Top: First Day UNLV Office of Admissions and Bottom: Last Day Research Symposium

Young Research Cohort Completes Summer Research Program at UNLV

The Summer Research Experience (REX) wrapped up a successful inaugural program in August 2017. Fourteen local, Las Vegas students spent six weeks working in laboratories under the mentorship of UNLV faculty in engineering, science, and social science.

The lucky students were selected from among 36 applicants who attend College of Southern Nevada or who recently graduated high school. This brand-new program was tailored for students who are considering a career in STEM and who have no previous formal research experience. Gaining early research experience and balancing the need to earn money can be difficult for students, especially those at community colleges or who come from disadvantaged backgrounds; thus, the need for REX!

The student cohort consisted of 6 female and 8 male students with 40% and 53% identifying as first generation college students and underrepresented minorities, respectively. Through the Solar Nexus NSF EPSCoR grant, students were supported with a $1200 stipend and money for research supplies, which allowed them to engage with faculty mentors in their desired area of study. Students committed to 30 hours of research each week for six weeks in the summer. They were also required to attend various workshops to gain vital research skills, such as performing a literature review, developing scientific writing abilities, conducting ethical research, building public speaking abilities, and preparing research posters.

Numerous UNLV staff and students, as well as Nevada System of Higher Education staff and community members, volunteered for the workshops. As a concluding activity, REX participants presented their research posters at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research at UNLV. Although the REX participants have parted ways and moved on with their college education, they can proudly apply their newly acquired tools and experience to tackle new challenges and excel in future research activities.

Thank You Dr. Erica Marti, Johana Iglesia, Danielle Nobles-Lookingbill, Dale Karas, Chris Hicks and everyone who volunteered for the workshops!

“The REX program, honestly changed my life. When I was a senior in high school, all I wanted was to be a doctor. I was going to major in biology and go to medical school. However, after my experience, I realized that I really like research. So, I changed my major to my true passion, geology. I hope I will be able to continue doing research in my major.”

“I did not intend on pursuing a PhD, but after working with the graduate students I am motivated to continue an even higher education.”

“The REX program has enhanced my ability to be better prepared for research projects or coursework in my academic career. I have been exposed to how research is conducted and why it is vital as a learning experience. I think this type of program should be implemented into college courses so that everyone can be exposed to it and get a grasp on what it is. It will be beneficial to all.”

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