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Intellect

Student research grants: Six of the coolest new projects

Scan this year’s crop of student research grant winners and you’ll notice a student sleuthing the origin of a painting recently acquired by the Museum of Art, one analyzing the stock market’s response to presidential elections and another drawing inspiration from Mother Nature to design tiny airplane wings.

Click on the pictures to the right to see their stories.

Each of the 318 winners gets $1,500 in project funds. That’s only a modest amount in the world of research grants. It’s more like seed money for students’ individual ambitions.

Paired with a faculty mentor, these undergraduate students dive into a project of their own choosing and get their hands dirty in a fashion that most campuses reserve only for grad students.

This year the award buys materials for an engineering student designing a prosthetic leg suited for developing countries.

It sends a nontraditional student abroad to study the distinctive tradition of a Spanish town that for centuries has evenly divided family inheritances among all children.

It helps two food science students determine whether meat tenderizers make steaks look cooked prematurely and therefore increase the risk of food-borne illness.

While the projects span a wide range of fields, they all involve mentored learning outside the classroom. The skills and experience gained along the way open doors to grad schools, employers and entrepreneurship. Mentored learning is part of why BYU ranks 10th nationally in terms of where new Ph.D.s received their undergraduate degrees – and why BYU is a top feeder school for law, medicine and dentistry.

ORCA will accept applications again in September. In the meantime, check out six of the coolest projects from this year’s crop by clicking on the pictures at right.

Writer: Lee Simons

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