On Wednesday, Feb. 4, Shelley Pressley came to Bellevue College to give a presentation in C165 on research opportunities for undergraduate engineering students – especially those interested in attending WSU.
Pressley is part of the WSU Civil Engineering department and works as a director of undergraduate research. She got involved with research as an undergrad and now is in charge of the summer undergraduate research program focused on atmospheric research, civil engineering and environmental engineering.
Undergraduate research at WSU allows students to, as stated by Pressley, “create, design and discover.” Students get advising and guidance through mentorship under experienced researchers in their field, whether graduate students, WSU faculty or other professionals. Shelley said that research is more of an “active learning” rather than a traditional textbook and lecture-based education. Besides academic credit, some other benefits of undergrad research include gaining work experience and resume building.
Those interested in undergraduate research at WSU can get started by attending the Research Skills short course. This is a two and a half day workshop from Aug. 18 to Aug. 25, run by other WSU students and mentors. The cause allows prospective researchers several opportunities to meet students from different disciplines. The workshop also offers lab site tours and allows students to meet with graduate students and active professionals.
An attendee of the presentation, Ilya Elkin, has been studying engineering at Bellevue College. With interests in math, science and engineering, Elkin is expecting to pursue civil engineering after completing a general engineering track at BC. Since he is a recent applicant to WSU, he wanted to learn more in person about the engineering program at the university.
Elkin says that from what he has seen, WSU’s civil engineering program is a “really good program.” He also enjoys the engineering program offered at BC because it is challenging, offers more hands on learning and has good professors with smaller class sizes.
For students not enrolled at WSU but who are interested in research, there is also the Research Experience for Undergrads, or REU. The REU is a summer program open to students studying in science, technology, engineering or math. There are several opportunities to participate, depending on the interest of the student. A variety of programs such as computer science and horticulture are offered.
Pressley runs an REU program herself, titled “Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Change: Measurements and Modeling in the Pacific Northwest.”
She said that since BC does not have research programs, applicants from Bellevue College have a good chance of entry into an REU program, provided they fulfill the requirements. Two letters of recommendation are needed with the application and the deadlines vary, but are generally between February and March.
Lindsey Friessnig, who accompanied Shelley Pressley, is an admissions counselor at WSU and the enrollment counselor for students transferring from Bellevue College. There are over 200 fields of study for WSU undergrads. Several of these are in STEM, which have many research opportunities for undergraduates. According to Friessnig, financial aid applications are due by Feb. 15, and the online application process takes about 40 minutes.
BC students interested in attending WSU can also attend transfer days, which are from March 29 to March 30 and will help students sign up for classes early, explore living arrangments and meet with advisors during the event.