FURI Symposium showcases ASU undergraduate researchers

April 19, 2017

One thing that people think of when they think about a university is research. Research is integral to the campus community at colleges, but is often thought of as being done by faculty members and their graduate students. The Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, better known as FURI, is helping to add undergraduate students to that mental picture.

FURI provides undergraduate students in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University the unique opportunity to get hands-on experience with a research project under the mentorship under a faculty mentor for one to two semesters. Photo of female student talking with a man in front of a poster with a caption of "Sharing your research and ideas at the FURI Symposium are part of the experience for undergraduate researchers like Emily Ford (right). Photographer: Jessica Hochreiter/ASU Sharing research and ideas at the FURI Symposium are part of the experience for undergraduate researchers like Emily Ford (right). Photographer: Jessica Hochreiter/ASU. Download Full Image

“In the semesters that students are a part of FURI they grow and flourish beyond their research,” said Cortney Loui, coordinator of student engagement for the Fulton Schools. “Students develop their verbal and written communication skills by writing short summaries of their research, designing a research poster and presenting their research to faculty, staff, industry, family and friends.”

“Many alumni have reported that FURI helped them better shape their career path, pursue graduate school, obtain internships and jobs, build technical and soft skills, and helped them foster meaningful relationships with faculty,” Loui said. “It’s a great opportunity for go-getters to learn more about themselves all while trying to make the world a better place.”

Cultivating the next generation of research

The prospect of becoming a researcher doesn’t always occur to undergraduate students, making programs like FURI all the more important in cultivating a new generation of researchers.

“I didn't know that research was something I wanted to pursue, and I don't think many researchers knew that before they started,” said Adam Pak, a chemical engineering student participating in FURI this semester. “What I did know is that I wanted to make a positive impact on this world by discovering something that nobody knew before.”

“Students who receive FURI grants conduct some amazing research,” Pak said. "If employers are looking for the best of the best then they should visit our symposium."

Celebrate FURIous research at the Symposium

FURI’s benefits extend beyond just the students that participate; the semi-annual FURI Symposium is a great way to get a taste for research. Attendees are able to interact with the students and learn about their research experiences. They can also meet faculty members who mentored the students and learn about current ongoing research in the Fulton Schools. The Spring 2017 FURI Symposium will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 21 at the Sun Devil Fitness Center on ASU’s Tempe campus.

“By attending the FURI Symposium, you can learn about the vast array of research going on within the Fulton Schools,” Loui said.

If you attend the FURI Symposium, Loui has a few tips for you.

“Introduce yourself to others and talk with the student researchers,” Loui said. “Ask the student researchers for an introduction to their faculty mentors and take a FURI abstract book home with you so you can look over the research highlights on your own afterward.”

Conducting research as an undergraduate is a great way for students to get hands on experience in their fields and the FURI Symposium provides an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, staff, parents and members of the community to meet and actively engage with those students while learning about their research.

Erik Wirtanen

Web content comm administrator, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU Insight: Behind the faucet — what impacts your drinking water quality?

April 19, 2017

Pierre Herckes, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, recently presented a public lecture on water quality issues as part of the Dean of Science Public Lecture Series at ASU. The event also featured a panel of local experts on water quality: Paul Westerhoff, from the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU; Rhett Larson from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU; Mike Ploughe who is a senior scientist at the Salt River Project; and Kathryn Sorenson, Director of Water Services for the City of Phoenix. ASU, Arizona State University, Water, School of Molecular Sciences Discussion panel on water quality in our communities. Download Full Image

Pierre described many of the delicate factors that contribute to water quality, using the recent problems of Flint, Michigan as an example. When Flint switched their source of water from the City of Detroit water supply to the Flint River, small changes in the water chemistry, which on their own were not unsafe, caused dramatically increased leaching of lead, a known neurotoxin, from the Flint water system pipes, that made its way into the drinking water supply.

Pierre also discussed the local water supply, which has quite diverse sources, including the Colorado, Verde and Salt rivers, and also local wells. Mike Ploughe described the Salt and Verde River watersheds, which are the ultimate source of water in the Valley, and the importance of maintaining their health, and Kathryn Sorensen discussed how different areas in the Valley obtain water differently from the various water sources. Pierre then talked about the kinds of contaminants that can negatively influence water quality, and Rhett Larson described how water quality is regulated by law. The final subject addressed was how water is purified, including a discussion of chlorine and fluorine in water and Paul Westerhoff described water purification methods that are used locally.

The ASU School of Molecular Sciences is an academic unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Ken Fagan

Videographer, ASU News