Division for Research Transfers Endowed Funds to CURCE for Undergraduate Research
Students share their research posters at the Annual Student Conference hosted by CURCE in May, 2019. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)
ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 17, 2020) — Six endowed funds from the Division for Research are being reallocated to CURCE to further support student research projects and to streamline funding for students.
CURCE – the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement – has been building its portfolio of funding since 2017, when alum Damian Bazadona '98 created the Situation Prize for Research for undergraduate researchers. Since then, the Sorrell Chesin Research Award was established by Associate Vice President Emeritus Sorrell Chesin, for junior and senior students involved in life sciences research.
When CURCE formally launched in 2018, it was with the help of a first-year accelerator award from the University administration, and in Spring of 2019 some 94 students were awarded grants to cover research expenses and conference travel. Between the Situation Prize, the Sorrell Chesin Award and the CURCE Accelerator Grants, CURCE has provided more than 200 individual awards to students.
Of course, students sought funding elsewhere, including directly from the Division for Research, and CURCE staff have been instrumental in pointing students toward available funding.
Now, with the transfer of six undergraduate research endowments directly to CURCE, students will have easier access to information and administration of funds, from one centralized location.
“The pursuit of undergraduate research and scholarship provides our students with a unique opportunity to transform the world as we know it through critical thinking, exploration and discovery, and ultimately the creation of new knowledge for the betterment of society,” said Vice President for Research James A. Dias.
“Indeed, the wisdom and commitment of our UAlbany donors has opened new doors for our undergraduates to forge meaningful connections with experienced research mentors, and to participate in high-impact, interdisciplinary research through hands-on, experiential learning," Dias said. "Since the emergence of CURCE, UAlbany now has for the first time a dedicated resource for undergraduate students to take advantage of the research opportunities available across campus.”
The awards transferred from the Division for Research have very few restrictions, said Casey Kohler, the senior staff assistant to the dean for Undergraduate Education. That means the funds are open to all students, in all class years, in all majors. To streamline the process, students will apply directly to CURCE.
“CURCE’s mission is centered on encouraging and facilitating undergraduate student participation in research, scholarship and creative activities,” explained JoAnne Malatesta, dean for Undergraduate Education. “We anticipate that these awards will help incentivize future engagement as we highlight the innovative ways students have been conducting research throughout this academic year while continuing to adapt to COVID-19.”
The six endowed research funds being transferred to CURCE are:
- Kenneth and Thelma Abele Research Fund
- Lita and Stephen Greenwald Research Fund
- Robert E. Moyer Research Fund
- Adelaide Schmid Endowed Research Fund
- Clyde and Virgina Roosa Slocum Fund
- Adrienne Zimberg Endowment
Each of these endowments will provide research funding for undergraduate students, and CURCE plans to disseminate $9,750 in new funding next semester to bring the Spring 2021 awards total to $15,000.
Habib Affinnih, a junior math and computer science major with a minor in art, received a CURCE accelerator grant in 2019, which he used to buy a new camera body for his project: promoting and documenting the Writing and Critical Inquiry's Annual Film Festival and Lecture Series.
“The new camera body allowed me to capture cleaner images in the low light situations presented by the location of the Film Festival,” Affinnih said. “This project was one of my favorite experiences at UAlbany because I was able to apply and develop my passion and skills for photography while serving a good cause.”
Affinnih is a CURCE ambassador now, sharing information with students involved in research and creative projects. “CURCE supports students like me not only by providing these great funding opportunities, but it also serves as an invaluable resource finding and applying to research and creative projects,” he said.
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