Valencia College has developed an undergraduate research initiative — based on nationally recognized models — that expands opportunities for students to partner meaningfully with faculty members to pursue a specific course of research. As most community colleges only offer undergraduate research as a very small boutique opportunity for a few students, Valencia has become a leader in community college research. Last year, hundreds of Valencia students worked in one or more modalities of research. This is vital for students exploring STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) -related professions through transfer, both to better discern their purpose and pathway, and to have experiences comparable to their peers at the university to which they transfer.
With this initiative underway, we share with you the success of our students’ undergraduate research through a bi-monthly series — Spotlight on Undergraduate Research.
“Research is about having the drive to understand the answers to the question at hand,” shared student Amber Heinig, who recently conducted a research project on “The Psychology of Platonic Relationships: How Parent-child Relationships Can Shape Friendships.”
Amber was first introduced to research through Valencia’s Seneff Honors College, which provided an excellent opportunity to gain research experience at the undergraduate level that will help her as she continues her studies in psychology at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Amber hopes to attend the University of Central Florida in the future.
“I am interested in going toward the clinical psychology route which would involve some research down the road,” explained Amber. “With this opportunity, it brought me more confidence for future research projects.”
She added, “The research I have done helped me not only understand others more but also helped me gain more footing in a passionate direction of where I want to continue future possible research … I got very interesting results from that project. I would like to continue studying this topic later in my academic years.”
To nominate a student doing great undergraduate research or for questions about Valencia’s undergraduate research initiative, contact Melonie Sexton, professor, psychology, and coordinator of undergraduate research, at UR@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 5632.