Some amazing research going on at UC Merced is being celebrated with the whole community.
If I remember my fifth grade instruction at Port Leyden Elementary School correctly, the scientific method begins with an observation, and ends with drawing a conclusion.
That’s sort of what UC Merced has in mind for this year’s Research Week. Simply put, if the University can showcase the kind of research going on to the broader community, it can hope to foster stronger links with everyone.
The first week of March is traditionally Research Week on campus. The activity is an effort to bring the public in to the campus and to take a part of the campus to the community.
“We’re really excited about this,” David Gravano, Ph.D. told me on the Community Conversation’s radio program in early March. “Science is not confined to just our campus, or to just one group of people.”
Some of the activities during Research Week are eye-catching. There is a study into reusing organic wastes to improve ecosystems going on right now at the UC.
At the beginning of Research Week, interested community members had the opportunity to listen to an assessment of the future of safe drinking water in the Central Valley.
A campus Assistant Professor helped explain to the audience of students that safe drinking water is being threatened all over the world, including here in California.
Middle school students from all over Merced County are getting a chance to showcase their work and take tours of the University’s laboratories.
This is not the first time UC Merced has done a Research Week event, but this year was special because it included more venues throughout the greater community. The Sierra Nevada Research Institute presented findings on a number of projects at a luncheon on campus.
The schedule for the week included a core facilities lab tour on campus followed a community forum on nicotine and cannabis policy at the Downtown Campus Center, a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fair, and an event called the Community Engaged Research Reception at City Hall.
Research Week wrapped with an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center Scholar Panel where students can get feedback on their work.
“This is all about giving the public the opportunity to see the many innovative projects underway,” UC Merced’s Stephanie Butticci explained to me during the KYOS Community Conversations program.
“We’re welcoming the public to the campus, but being sure some of the activities take place in the community.”
The complete scientific method follows the observation step with research. After research, a hypothesis is drawn and tested. This leads to the conclusion.
Anyone with a passing interest in the research going on at UC Merced are likely impressed with the depth of study, the engagement of students in the process, and the outreach to the larger community.
The hypothesis has been tested, and the conclusion is clear: Research Week at UC Merced helps bring the best the university has to offer to the community.
Steve Newvine lives in Merced.
His book Stand By Camera One is available now on Lulu.com