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Nearly everyone knows the story of the famous Greek mathematician Archimedes who, upon discovering his famous principle of fluid displacement while in a bath tub, ran naked through the streets shouting “Eureka!,” Greek for “I found it!” Calhoun Honors College students have the opportunity to share Archimedes’ spirit of discovery. Experiences in Undergraduate Research, Exploration and Knowledge Advancement (EUREKA!) is a unique and exciting program that will enable honors students to pursue research and scholarly activities with faculty across all disciplines.
The EUREKA! Program brings approximately 33 incoming freshman students, who have been accepted into the Calhoun Honors College, to Clemson for a five-week period during which they actively participate in research projects or other scholarly activities. The students will be housed in an apartment style residence hall, but will not be provided a stipend or wages. In addition to their research activities the participants will attend speaker luncheons on various topics designed to orient them to academic life on campus and provide them with the basic skills needed to perform research in a broad range of areas. Social activities will include an Opening dinner, a “Get Acquainted” picnic, whitewater rafting, hikes, and cultural and sporting events.
EUREKA! participants will choose from research projects proposed by the faculty. Participants will work in a variety of settings, depending on the nature of their project. Some participants, particularly those in the sciences and engineering disciplines, will work in the laboratory on some aspect of a new or existing research project. This could involve a single faculty member and their research group of graduate students, undergraduates, and postdoctoral associates or might involve a team of faculty members and their groups. The former is typical of any number of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs that exist on campus, while the latter is the preferred model for CAEFF, COMSET and other collaborative centers on campus. Students in non-laboratory areas, such as the humanities and some social sciences, will be assembled into interdisciplinary research groups of five to ten students to pursue a scholarly project under the direction of one or more faculty members.
A final symposium will be held during the last week of August. The participants will present posters describing their work and all members of the university community will be invited. It is also expected that many of the EUREKA! participants will participate in symposia associated with other summer research programs that they are involved in. To provide additional incentive for them to excel in their projects, EUREKA! participants will also be expected and encouraged to present their work at local professional meetings such as the South Carolina Academy of Sciences.
In addition to the anticipated benefits offered by active participation in research, students in the EUREKA! program will be thoroughly assimilated into the academic world of Clemson University. No library tour or orientation class will give them the insight that five weeks of working and living on campus will provide. In addition, the students will establish a relationship not only with their faculty advisor, but also with the advisor’s research group and other members of the Clemson University community, and it is anticipated that this “family of mentors” will provide lasting and valuable support throughout the EUREKA! participant’s academic career, even beyond their time at Clemson. Participants will also establish firm relationships with like-minded peers and will seed the campus with ambassadors who will encourage other undergraduates to get involved with research.
It is anticipated that many participants will continue working on their project throughout the academic year and during subsequent summers and will develop an academic maturity far beyond a typical undergraduate student. These students will be strong applicants as Rhodes, Goldwater, Marshall, Truman and Fulbright Scholars, and their potential for these awards will be recognized much earlier than in the past. It is hoped that in their junior and senior years they will pursue summer programs and eventually graduate studies at high caliber universities, and in the process serve as outstanding ambassadors for Clemson University.
EUREKA! will be directed by Dr. Bill Pennington. The director is assisted by the honors staff and three counselors who will help with the planning and implementation of program activities. The counselors will live in the residence hall with the participants and will be on hand during all program events.