Researching with the RISE Learning Institute

RISE Learning Institute is a new division that was recently launched at Bellevue College.

“The Research, Innovation Service  and Experiential Learning Institute is helping to shape the existing and evolving face of learning, teaching and research across Bellevue College through the development of new practices, spaces and attitudes. In combination with this, RISE is reaching out and engaging with local community and industry, nurturing a relationship which benefits all concerned,” said Daniel Canty, support staff of Undergraduate Research at BC.

RISE aims to provide students hands-on learning opportunities in their fields of study. “The goal is to have students get the experience of working on real world projects and problems,” said Dr. Gita Bangera, the dean of RISE. In collaborating with RISE, students can work with a business, a nonprofit or a company.

While research occurs throughout different courses at Bellevue College, the RISE Learning Institute hopes to bring all these together into a cohesive division. “We are creating the infrastructure so faculty and students can set up opportunities together to do research and to do innovative things,” said Bangera. Currently, there are research opportunities available in courses such as Biology 275, and Chemistry 272.

RISE, however, is not solely focused on research in the sciences. There are additional opportunities in the social sciences and other fields as well.

“Research is very important for students because they are connected firsthand to the scientific principles they are learning in classes in a very real sense,” said RISE Program Chair Jennie Mayer. “The experience of doing research helped me learn new things in different ways, and also helped me feel a sense of belonging, that I was in the right place,” shared Mayer. “It is a wonderful thing to try for students who might not be completely sure what they want to do in life, or if they are looking to gain an edge in a very competitive major.”

Becoming involved in RISE projects and opportunities is simple.

“Students can talk to a faculty member or professor and say, ‘I’m interested in doing a project can we work on this together,’ and then they can come up with a project and figure out what kind of resources they will need and then support them from there,” Bangera explained.

Aside from the research opportunities sponsored by RISE, students can also get involved with research through classes like Chemistry 272, which allows students to conduct their own research experiments. Other courses help students understand and use different scientific instruments and equipment, “which many students can benefit from when going into a scientific field,” said Mayer.

These courses and opportunities, however, require more student interest.

“The problem right now is that very few students know about these opportunities so sometimes these classes run very small or cancel. If more students were interested, we could run these classes more often, but right now it’s just once a year,” Mayer explained.