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Alumna, Grads Support Undergraduate Researchers

When you hear, "it's the Wildcat way," this is an example of what we mean. 

Three UA alumni and current graduate students have stepped in to support and mentor undergraduates involved in the Summer Research Institute and Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program.

Co-facilitating English 340, Topics in Professional and Technical Writing, are Andrew Huerta, a doctoral candidate in the UA College of Education; Rebecca Covarrubias, who recently earned her doctorate in psychology; and Kenny Walker, a doctoral student in rhetoric, composition and the teaching of English.

While the undergraduates work on original research project swith UA faculty, the teaching team helps the class of 37 – 30 from the UA, six from other U.S. institutions and one from the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico – document their work in a research article and prepare for graduate school.

Huerta, Covarrubias and Walker said they are all proud of the success of the students in the program, noting that the intensive summer program "transforms students into ambitious graduate school applicants. We see this in the students’ ability to fine tune their research interests and gain the self confidence needed to begin the application process for graduate school."

Walker, based on his interests in writing in the sciences, worked primarily with the SRI students in the STEM fields. Covarrubias, based on her background in social psychology, worked with the SRI students in the social sciences. The group also covered research methods and also how to create a research poster and curriculum vitae. And Huerta, the academic services manager for McNair who developed the curriculum the group is following, informed on ways to write a personal statement for graduate school.

"We believe that learning from success inspires and motivates students to enact the self-transformation needed to prepare themselves for their transition into graduate education," Huerta said. "As a group of instructors from diverse fields of study, our backgrounds and skills complement one another and have added great depth to the class." 

In Huerta's words, it is a "unique collaboration of professionals."

Students are presenting their work this week. The SRI students will present Aug. 3, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 130 of the Integrated Learning Center. McNair students will present Aug. 8 at the same time and location.

Photo credit: Beatriz Verdugo/UANews