A new study conducted by two John Carroll University professors in collaboration with peers from other universities examines the role of gender in research opportunities available to undergraduate students.
Graciela Lacueva, Ph.D., and Chrystal Bruce, Ph.D., analyzed factors that impact undergraduate research productivity in chemistry and physics at primarily undergraduate institutions. Dr. Lacueva is the associate dean of Science, Mathematics, and Health. Dr. Bruce is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry.
Their work, published in the internationally renowned journal, PLOS ONE, analyzed 10 years of data to look for patterns in the production and dissemination of student research.
A key finding, explains, Dr. Lacueva, is “the gender of the student does not impact the number and type of research projects undertaken, which is encouraging.” Dr. Bruce noted, “However, in Chemistry, the rank of the faculty advisor and the venue of the presentation do impact the number of research products by undergraduate students.” Additionally, the study finds that in Physics, gender match between the student and the advisor has an effect on the quantity of undergraduate research projects.
In the last few years universities, including John Carroll, have increased the emphasis in experiential learning for undergraduates. While some studies have shown the value of undergraduate research, both Lacueva and Bruce emphasize there are many questions that still need to be answered.
Faculty representing Creighton University, Butler University, and the University of St. Thomas were also part of research team for the study.
Details about undergraduate research and other Student Learning Initiatives can be found here.