Dr. Geoffrey Barstow

is a historian of Tibetan religion who has been studying themes of Buddhism, vegetarianism, and Tibetan customs for 15 years. He formed a team of undergraduate researchers through URSA Engage in 2017, and as a result, his perception of how to approach humanities research expanded significantly.

Nolan Gunter

an Environmental Economics and Policy major, was a freshman when he came on to Dr. Barstow's project. He was thrilled to discover that his role in the research would be to read through translated Tibetan biographies and highlight relevant passages and key words, for Dr. Barstow to later sift through. It was his first experience on a research team, and he also learned to manage his time independently.

Since research in the humanities is often perceived as work in isolation, many humanities professors have never seen undergraduate participation as an option.

In reality, undergraduate participation saved Dr. Barstow time and energy, paring down what would have been hours of literature review to a matter of minutes. "It had simply never occurred to me," he shared, "but now I'm like, 'oh my gosh, this is possible!'"

Evan Baden

is an art instructor who often works closely with undergraduates, mentoring them as they develop their final projects. This kind of partnership involves helping students conceptualize their artistic goals and providing technical feedback. He enjoys guiding students as they try out ideas, fail, and continue thinking through solutions. He notes the importance of being flexible as a mentor, as scholarly work in CLA is not often as structured as it may be in a lab setting.

Zoe Clegg

was a junior in Art with a focus in painting when she began her 3D neighborhood project in Dr. Baden’s class. Interested in exploring how people’s home environments inform who they are, Zoe decided to reconstruct a street in Corvallis out of photos using physical 3D modeling. Dr. Baden was coordinating an art gallery at the time and was able to offer Zoe a spot to showcase her 12 by 12-foot model. Zoe said the biggest benefit of working with Dr. Baden on this project was how he encouraged her to push her ideas further.

Dr. Seri Robinson

based in the College of Forestry, her research on fungal pigments and their possible human uses has led her to work with students across many disciplines, from microbiology to graphic design. In Professor Robinson’s experience, the most rewarding part of working with undergraduates is seeing the moment when they go from following instructions to taking their own initiative and being excited about doing their own scholarly work.

Intarsia panel for the United Way in Corvallis, OR, showing a Western Oregon landscape. [Pictured on the right]
Artists: Savannah Stanton, Aiden Head, and Auna Godienz.

Students of the arts need to practice not only being creative and making their art, but fine-tuning and promoting that art as they'll do after graduation.

Other skills such as social media marketing or event planning may be required in their career. Together, Dr. Fick and John showed that music students can start building portfolios and their future careers here and now. It is Dr. Fick's hope that "others will be doing these kinds of projects earlier on, on their own!"

Dr. Jason Fick

Coordinator of Music Technology and a composer/audio engineer himself, wanted to give his students the opportunity to "go from the classroom to career" sooner. He's passionate about helping his students learn not just to make art, but to market it successfully and start building their portfolios earlier. His URSA Engage project allowed him to do just that. 

John McDonald

studying Music Production, has been writing music since high school. In his EP project, "The Life Cycle of an Album," he discovered what it was like to write, record, mix, master, promote, and release an album, and enjoyed presenting his findings at one of OSU's undergraduate research symposia. "Learning in class is one thing," he said, "but getting individual feedback from a professional is a completely different experience." Practicing the skills he had learned in classes through making his art was highly motivating.