For the bulk of this summer, seven undergraduate students from universities around the country have been working in Dartmouth research laboratories, getting a feel for the graduate research experience as they rise towards graduation in their own schools. This opportunity was provided by Dartmouth’s Academic Summer Undergraduate Research Experience – nicknamed the ASURE program.
ASURE was launched this year as a way to introduce exemplary undergraduate students to the Dartmouth graduate research community. The seven inaugural ASURE students were picked from a field of over 250 well-qualified applicants. The students received funding from a combination of sources to pursue their research. This ASURE group has engaged in different labs across the graduate programs, from the Biology labs to the Biomedical Engineering labs at Thayer.
Wynette Williams, an undergrad at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, is working with Professor Thalia Wheatley, exploring facial recognition patterns with advanced imaging software. Joel Dungan, who’s finishing a dual degree program at Colorado College and Columbia University, has been holed up in the Thayer School of Engineering, working to improve medical imaging technology to reduce the chances of false positives. And there are five more students like Wynette and Joel who are getting the opportunity to conduct important research at an extremely high level.
Jordan Noonan, the Director of the ASURE program, explained that the program is modeled on other national programs and programs that used to exist at Dartmouth. “By exposing students to the type of work that Dartmouth graduate students are doing, he says, we hope we can excite them into pursuing an advanced degree – hopefully at Dartmouth.”
The program also has a social coordinator, Jennifer-Lynn Demers, who runs activities programming for the ASURE students and helps them to experience all that a summer in Hanover has to offer. In addition, ASURE students are offered helped with their GRE preparations.
“We’re really excited about the success of the program in its first year,” says Jane Seibel, Assistant Dean of Recruiting and Diversity for Graduate Studies. “ASURE will be a great tool for us to generate interest in our graduate programs at a national level. We’re looking forward to growing the program in its second year.”
Article by Z. Williams