CRA-W’s Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU) program supports students while they gain valuable experience by working on research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors. The article below, which is written by a team currently at Kennesaw State University, gives a firsthand perspective of the program’s benefits. The team, which is funded by the CREU program, has presented their research at ACM Mid-Southeast 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and SIGCSE 2017 in Seattle, Wash. Faculty member Amber Wagner and her students Deja Jackson, Erica Pantoja, Cindi Simmons, and Kathelyn Zelaya from Kennesaw State University have been working on the research project “Analyzing the Potential of Learning Reading and Math Skills Through Computational Thinking” throughout the 2016-2017 academic year.
Because of the work we have conducted on this project, we were fortunate to present at ACM Mid-Southeast 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and SIGCSE 2017 in Seattle, Wash. Something exciting about both of these presentations was that the attendees showed genuine interest in our presentations and asked questions, which does not typically occur during class presentations. It taught us the importance of preparing thoughtful presentations and to think ahead about possible audience questions. Talking about the project with professors, other students, and industry professionals was beneficial, and they each provided unique and excellent advice regarding how we could expand or improve the project. Also, attending other presentations was fascinating. We learned about several new technologies, which inspired us to think about different applications to develop in the future.
Overall, this has been an incredible experience that allowed us to apply what we have learned in the classroom while creating something we passionately believe in and want to see succeed. We are grateful for the opportunity to spend our time doing research!
The CREU program is currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 academic year. The application cycle is open through May 18. For more information regarding the eligibility and application materials, please visit http://cra.org/cra-w/creu/.