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Gonzaga Introduces Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry, Led by Professor Watson

Professor Jeff Watson will direct the new the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry. (Photo by Rajah Bose)

Professor Jeff Watson will direct the new the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry. (Photo by Rajah Bose)

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University’s College of Arts and Sciences introduces the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry, directed by Jeff Watson, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Watson said the Center aims to promote and expand undergraduate research and creative inquiry opportunities, assist departments with designing and incorporating research into curricula, provide a clearinghouse to fund research, and build awareness of the transformative educational experiences that occur through student-faculty research collaborations.

“The Center fits the College’s mission of service to the world by offering collaborative learning experiences where teams of faculty and students work on solving real-world problems,” said Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Watson began teaching at Gonzaga in 2006. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and biophysics (1995) from Oregon State University and a doctorate in structural biology from Purdue University (2002). His research interests include children’s health and unusual metabolism, especially in conjunction with one another.

The Center will present a poster session of research and host an open house from 1-2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8 throughout Hughes Hall. The event will take place during Fall Family Weekend.

Watson said the Center is developing an alumni speaker series on topics including undergraduate research, graduate work and current projects. In addition, the Center will sponsor a year-end symposium as a “student research celebration” to showcase students’ research, particularly for their families and community members.

“The goal is to build awareness of the great work that students are doing on campus and in the community,” Watson said.

Students’ research fellowships will be offered beginning in summer 2017. Fellows can work on their own projects, those developed in collaboration with a faculty mentor or their mentors’ scholarly research.

“One of my biggest goals in this position is to develop a system and to get the money for a program where we can have more of these student research fellowships across the College of Arts and Sciences,” Watson said.

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