Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the Undergraduate Research Program website, which includes information about the resources available to support and fund undergraduate research. Our office assists all undergraduates as they develop and conduct research and share it at academic conferences, in scholarly publications, or in various venues across campus.

For many students, the word research conjures visions of laboratories where rows of scientists cloaked in white bend over beakers. The reality, however, is that any student can conduct research under the guidance of a faculty-mentor, research that may lead to the student presenting at an academic conference or publishing an article. It’s true that certain majors, like some of the sciences, have research opportunities built into their programs, whereas others require a bit more initiative on the part of the student, but research can occur in any field. As director, my job is to support you regardless of your field of study, and to guide you as you navigate the university system in pursuit of research opportunities.

APU regards research as an important component of your undergraduate education, especially as a vehicle for sharing our Christ-centered mission with the world. Research—broadly defined as a creative or scholarly inquiry or investigation that makes an original contribution to your discipline*—prepares you for, and propels you toward, your professional goals, sharpens your analytical and narrative abilities, arms you with the confidence to succeed, teaches you collaboration skills, and prepares you to be creative, productive, compassionate colleagues and leaders in your chosen profession.

Already, APU undergraduate students engage in a wide range of research, from experiments in the hard sciences to examining factors prompting Christians to leave the Church, from analyzing the spread of Christianity among indigenous peoples to analyzing gender bias in Disney films and television. Of the numerous projects in progress during the 2017-18 academic year are Nixon’s involvement in the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty with the Soviet Union, the effects of nature sounds on cognitive performance, and links between ultramarathon runners and osteoarthritis. Whatever your interests, I look forward to assisting you with your research goals.

Verónica Gutiérrez, MFA, Ph.D.
Director, Undergraduate Research Program
Associate Professor of Latin American History

*Based on the Council on Undergraduate Research’s definition of undergraduate research.