January 26, 2007 1:31 PM

What is SPUR?

Sponsored Programs for Undergraduate Research.
It's a program that allows you to come up with your own resarch project, with the help of a faculty mentor - and it gives your lab money to work on your research. Where does the money come from? Donations from Alumni in the College of Natural Resources!

What a great use of resources!

When you're studying the sciences at a credible institution you're expected to have a bit of research experience under your belt before entering the working world....

SPUR makes it easy on the students by giving CNR faculty inscentive for bringing undergraduates into their lab. Who doesn't want a few extra bucks fed into their lab per project? SPUR will give you the money you need for equipment, and other necessities.

I've started in on a project in the Specht lab, working with other undergraduates on Heliconia. Here's a tidbit about my lab buddy Laura's project last semester. From this website: http://nature.berkeley.edu/blogs/news/news_items/undergraduates/
November 18, 2006
Undergrad Laura Lagomarsino maps ancestral relationships using genetics

Laura Lagomarsino, third year in Plant Biology, is using nuclear and chloroplast genes to develop a phylogeny, or map of ancestral relationships between species of the genus Heliconia, a tropical plant. Her mentor, Assistant Professor Chelsea Specht in the department of Plant and Microbial Biology, uses molecular and evolutionary biology to understand lineages of related plants.

SPUR funding has allowed Specht to provide Lagomarsino with necessary laboratory materials to expand her research.

The SPUR program offers students a unique opportunity to develop as scientists with a level of independence that has often been reserved for graduate students. Not only does this help make Berkeley students more competitive, it develops of the kind of creative thinking skills so essential to the success of any scientist. “You learn all the techniques” says Lagomarsino, “But then you are also given a certain amount of freedom, and your thoughts are valued.”

For Lagomarsino, research in plant and molecular biology has also given her academic career a clear direction. “Now, I know exactly what I want to do and what I want to study.”

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