Forum showcases undergraduate research

2019 Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum participant Brianna Woolfolk is dedicated to restoring living shorelines to protect coastal communities rising seas.  Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

2019 Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum participant Brianna Woolfolk is dedicated to restoring living shorelines to protect coastal communities rising seas.  Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

Brianna Woolfolk is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of millions of residents in Florida who face increasing threats from storm surge, sea-level rise, and extreme winds from intense storms and impacts of climate change.

On Tuesday, Woolfolk, an environmental engineering major, and 80 of her classmates, will present their research projects at the 2019 Undergraduate Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum (RCIF) on the third floor of the Student Shalala Center.

Woolfolk is exploring ways to restore living shorelines to protect coastal communities rising seas.

With an aim to encourage peer-reviewed research, each year the Office of Undergraduate Research and Community Outreach (UGR) brings together students from all disciplines to explore topics of interest. They’ve created a space for undergraduates to share their projects in an atmosphere of diversity.

"When you do research, a lot of the time you can lose sight of what you’re doing it for,” said Woolfolk, a junior who has always been passionate about manipulating structures so they have minimal effect on the environment. "I feel like when you do take the time to present that research to other people it kinds of give you a sense of affirmation. It takes so much time to go from research to the actual point where you can expose it to the world and have a final product. So, to even be able to say to someone that this is the plan and have an audience see your vision is a really good feeling.”

Jane Indorf, assistant director of UGR and educator assistant professor of biology, has worked closely with RCIF since 2011. She recognizes the hard work students like Woolfolk put in year after year in planning and producing their projects.

"RCIF affords students with the chance to discuss their research with faculty members and other like-minded students, which may lead to new directions or insights for their work,” said Indorf. "It’s also a good opportunity for students not yet involved in research to come and learn and be inspired to create and conduct their own research.”

Students will be judged by faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and senior graduate students in the categories of biological sciences, business, engineering, humanities, physical sciences, and social sciences. The forum is open to all undergraduate students, from first semester freshman to graduating senior. They can present on any topic they choose.

"We don’t ever really get to come together to celebrate our students research accomplishments,” Indorf said, "so this is a great opportunity to do that.”

Find more information and register for this free event here.