Undergraduate research offers students hands-on learning

By Kathy Quirk
UWM Report
December 14, 2018

UWM is now nationally recognized for its undergraduate research. In November, the Council on Undergraduate Research awarded the 2018 Campus-Wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments to the university in recognition of the quality and depth of the research opportunities it provides to its undergrad students. UWM was one of two institutions nationally to receive the award, which will be presented in January.

More than 1,000 undergrads are involved in research each year, and half of graduating seniors have research experience.

This year, seven students were honored with Senior Excellence in Research Awards, which provide seniors who have been significantly involved in research with $5,000 in support for their final undergrad year.

This year’s award winners are good examples of the variety of research students are involved in.

Diana Rivera, occupational studies major, psychology and pre-law minors
Diana Rivera became interested in access to health care when she took part in a student movement fighting the privatization of one of the only public hospitals in her hometown in Colombia.

“I used to do volunteer work at the public hospital, and it was pretty obvious to us that a lot of people who come from different backgrounds or situations wouldn’t be able to afford private health insurance.”

Interested in eventually earning a graduate degree in occupational therapy, she came to UWM at age 20.

“Then I found out UWM was big on research,” she said. “I realized you could do research on any area you were interested in.”

Working with mentor Mustafa Hussein, assistant professor in the Zilber School of Public Health, Rivera started researching health systems around the world, working with a data set that included 200,000 people in 40 countries.

This year she has pursued research on health literacy as a McNair Scholar as well as through the undergraduate research program.

Her long-term goal is to double major at the graduate level in law and public health so she could continue to advocate for changes to the system both in the U.S. and Colombia.

Read the full article on the UWM Report.