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article imageMoving out of classroom, more undergraduates turn to research

By Aaron Robson     Feb 5, 2007 in World
In knee-high rubber boots, Jennifer Young peers out over a dozen or so sows and their litters, seemingly oblivious to the stench coming from their pens.
Pigs have been Young's constant companions during her five years at North Carolina State University, whether it's been running their genetics statistics on a computer, or more odious tasks like weighing and measuring them in the muck at the "Swine Education Unit" on a university-owned farm.
It has been time well spent. Working with animal science, (Professor Joe Cassady) she has presented data at conferences, met the big names in the field, and landed internships aswell as tweaked her career plans. This fall, she'll attend a top graduate program at either Iowa State or Nebraska.
"You get a much more personal experience than just being one person in this huge classroom, where you might not get to actually connect with the professor," she said.
Normally, undergraduate education has taken place in the classroom. While research has been for graduate students and faculty.This not going to happen for much longer. College and universities are startingt to push hard to get many more undergraduates involved in research.
Almost more than one-third of graduates at the University of California-Irvine do research work with the faculty. Rutgers, Georgia Tech and the Universities of Florida and North Carolina-Greensboro are among the numerous large institutions to ramp up major undergraduate research initiatives in recent years.
"Nationally, there is nothing hotter than undergraduate research," says George Barthalmus, N.C. State's director of undergraduate research.
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