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2014 MRS Fall Meeting


AAA7.04 - Fostering Interest in Research Careers through Undergraduate Research Programs in Materials Science in Uruguay


Dec 3, 2014 9:15am ‐ Dec 3, 2014 9:30am

Description

The Universidad de la República, Uruguay, strongly encourages undergraduate research from an early age, and includes research (and outreach) into the curricula. In particular, the Compound Semiconductors Group (GSC) from Facultad de Química and Centro Universitario de la Región Este (CURE) has developed a hands-on crystal growth course which implies to perform a research work in one of the GSC’s topics. The course follows a previous one addressed to crystalline materials. The course implies to elaborate a theoretical and experimental work project, an oral presentation and the writing of a research report. The course intends to tackle three weaknesses of science teaching in Uruguay: the compartimentalization of science into disciplines, the rigidity of practical experiments, and the lack of access to the higher levels of knowledge. The methodology applied in the course gives the students a comprehensive perspective while allowing them to acquire laboratory skills without repeating a technique. Moreover, the course also has an attitudinal approach, motivating the students to browse information about the topic and to perform the experimental activities. Since the creation of the course in 2007, 42% of the students are still working in academic research, and 25% of them work in research and development sectors in industry. In our experience, the undergraduate research fuels interest in research work and it is an invaluable tool to foster interest of students to pursue a post graduate degree.

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