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Office of Sponsored Projects & Research

Putnam Science Center

Program for Undergraduate Research Experiences (PURE) at Keene State College

KSC student with faculty mentors

The Program for Undergraduate Research Experiences (PURE) at Keene State is an innovative attempt to get more first- and second-year students involved in research on campus. Involvement in mentored research is proven to have positive effects on learning, social connection in college, and job and graduate school prospects post-college.  Based on the accomplishments of incoming students in high school and promise of success at Keene State, they are invited to participate in KSC-199 Introduction to Research in the fall, which helps them prepare to apply for our Program for Undergraduate Research Experiences (PURE).

PURE is a selective program that will admit 10 to 15 top students for the Spring 2013 semester and pair them with faculty mentors. Each will receive a $500 scholarship plus $500 of work-study or student hourly employment to work with a faculty research mentor for the semester. This placement can be continued during the sophomore year by mutual agreement.

What Is Undergraduate Research?

Just what is undergraduate research and why participate?  Here is a brief snapshot of what it means to us:

Welcome to Undergraduate Research at Keene State College

Undergraduate Research takes many forms and can look different from discipline to discipline. For example, in the arts, it might mean engaging in the creative process to produce new works that reflect and comment on the human condition, like making a film.

In the physical sciences it might mean working in a laboratory. In the social sciences it might mean conducting observational or survey work. In the humanities it might mean critically reading a body of work and synthesizing it in a new way - offering a new understanding on a theme or topic, or perhaps uncovering the relevance of previously under-appreciated archival materials.

In the professions, it might mean designing innovative products, collecting and analyzing physiological data aimed at improving health, or carrying out research to inform public policy.

ALL of these activities are forms of undergraduate research. Though they look different, what they all have in common is the spirit of discovery, innovation, and creativity - the production of one’s own original scholarship.

Office of Sponsored Projects and Research

Should you apply (directions below), you will be enrolled in a one credit Pass/NoPass course KSC 199 Introduction to Research, which will meet two hours per week for 14 weeks (on Mondays from 6:00-7:50 pm.). This course is taught by the Dean of Sciences and Social Sciences and members of the faculty.  In the course you will be introduced to the process of undergraduate research and creative activity, meet with current KSC faculty and students engaged in undergraduate research, explore your research or creative interests, and develop applicable skills. Should you be interested, you will also prepare materials to apply for a competitive placement for spring 2013 as a PURE Scholar. 

PURE is a selective program that admitted its first ten students in fall 2010 and an additional 15 students in fall 2011.  Ten to fifteen students will be placed in the upcoming spring 2014 semester, and will each receive a $500 scholarship plus $500 of work study or student hourly employment to work with a faculty research mentor for the semester.  This placement can be continued during the sophomore year by mutual agreement. But the first step to qualifying to become a PURE Scholar is to complete the preparatory KSC 199 Introduction to Research course.

Experience shows that student engagement in undergraduate research and creative activity develops strong relationships among faculty and students and makes students more competitive for top jobs and graduate or professional school placements. To see what students say about the importance of undergraduate research experience, go to:

KSC 199 Introduction to Research

1 credit. Pass/No Pass. Tuesday 6:00-7:45 pm. Fall 2013

What this course is NOT…

It is NOT a course in which students will wear white lab coats and puzzle over bewildering equations and stacks of numbers having something to do with a problem you totally do not understand. 

What this course is……

It is set up to help students develop a keen eye for observation and an inquiring mind about things large and small. Learning more about anything of interest is in fact “research.” The things you learn will be new to you, and may in fact be new to everyone—in which case it becomes “original.” 

KSC students present their research

Research may lead to your learning how things are, why they are that way, and how that understanding can be used for positive change. It is a process that is creative and engaging. 

Students in the courses will be engaged in an exploration of research and the creative process in a variety of fields through selected readings and reflections, informal guest talks by faculty, guest upperclass students talking about their own experiences, an overview of campus resources and opportunities for campus involvement, academic advising and career placement by Student Affairs staff, facility tours, and experience through hands-on micro-projects.

Students who develop an interest in more formal research participation will be coached on applications for the selective Program for Undergraduate Research Experiences (PURE) beginning spring semester. Acceptance in the PURE program in Spring 2014 comes with a $500 stipend and $500 for work study/student hourly support each semester through the sophomore year.

Overview of topics for the 14 once-weekly class meetings: 

  • Three Class Meetings:  Introductions of classmates, course overview, simple hands-on projects.
  • Three Class Meetings:  Faculty from the three schools of the college meet in small groups and discuss undergraduate research and creative activities. Includes real-time or virtual tours of laboratories, studios or field sites.

  • Two  Meetings:  Opportunities for campus engagement beyond research.

  • One Meeting:  Resume preparation and career planning.
  • Two Meetings:  PURE related project exploration, preparation and application.
  • Two Meetings:  Reflections and micro-projects presentations.
  • One Meeting:  Open

Contact the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research

Please visit our staff page for a directory of contacts for various sponsored projects and research functions.