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South Carolina Honors College


Students in a lab

Undergraduate Research

Student Research is one of the four primary branches of Beyond the Classroom activities at the Honors College. The Honors College offers funding for undergraduate research across disciplines in order to promote intellectual growth and to encourage excellence in scholarship.

Support for Your Research

As part of a larger research university, the South Carolina Honors College has plentiful research opportunities to offer to undergraduates. Student Research funding includes two SCHC grants (SURF and Exploration) and Senior Thesis support. Additional support is available for research-related travel. SURF and Exploration research funds are awarded as a student stipend. 
 

Undergraduate Research Funding Opportunities

These programs offer funding for our students' research. You may also be able to apply for national funding.

Exploration Scholars Program

Through the Exploration Scholars Program, the Honors College encourages and facilitates scholarship in the arts, music, humanities, journalism and other fields dealing with qualitative, creative or exploratory scholarship methods.

The program also encourages research in business, law, public health, social work, education and other under-represented fields in undergraduate research. The student should have active and substantial intellectual input to the direction and focus of the project. Ideally, the student's contributions would be sufficient enough to warrant co-authorship on any resulting publications. Frequently students are able to become co-authors on published work.

Science Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF)

The purpose of the Science Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) Program is to encourage Honors College students to work with a mentor from the science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields on a joint project in the mentor's discipline area.

The student should have active and substantial intellectual input to the direction and focus of the project. Ideally, the student's contributions would be sufficient enough to warrant co-authorship on any resulting publications. Frequently students are able to become co-authors on published work.

Senior Thesis Grant

The Honors College will provide a maximum of $1,500 to support extraordinary expenses associated with your senior thesis.

Scholarly Research Presentation Travel Support Program

This program provides partial travel support for students who are presenting scholarly research at an academic conference. (This award is not to support study abroad or senior theses-related research.)

 

Sampling of Current Research Opportunities

Early Language and Literacy Acquisition in Children with Hearing Loss (The ELLA Study)

The ELLA study is funded by the National Institutes of Health. The purpose of the study is to track developmental changes in early language and literacy skills of preschool children with hearing loss and identify early predictors of elementary school literacy skills. The study uses standardized testing, language sampling and eye tracking methodology.

Autism and Fragile X Syndrome

This research study focuses on autism and fragile X syndrome. It is interdisciplinary and draws on techniques from the fields of psychology, communication science and disorders, physiology and genetics. We offer students opportunities to obtain hands-on research experience, professional development and mentorship.

Obesity Prevention

The USC Department of Psychology's Obesity Research Group is working with undergraduate research assistants on a grant project funded by the National Institutes of Health. Project FIT (Families Improving Together) is a family based weight loss intervention designed to reduce weight status in African American families with adolescents between the ages of 11-16. Students who are interested in learning about environmental factors associated with health behaviors may be particularly interested in applying. Students interested in learning more about different approaches to obesity prevention may also be interested in gaining experience working with both community and family related approaches.

Promoting Exercise Among Breast Cancer Survivors

This 5-year study offers the opportunity for students to learn about recruitment of coaches and participants, designing recruitment materials, data collection (quantitative and qualitative) and data analyses.

Social Media and Natural Disaster

In recent years, we have been faced with a series of natural disasters, from Hurricane Katrina to the recent South Carolina flood, causing a huge amount of financial, environmental, and human losses. The unpredictable natural of disaster behaviors and damages make it hard to have a comprehensive strategic response plan. Fortunately, social media allows people to share information and opinions in the time of a disaster. This research proposes a high performance computational framework to effectively mine the spatiotemporal patterns of people’s experience, needs and opinions. This framework could help us better evaluate the disaster management strategy in the 2015 SC floods so that we can have a better strategic plan for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery in the future.

Autism and Video Game-based Training

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from impairments in social functioning that can manifest as an inability too work together or cooperate with adult caregivers and/or same age peers. Video-game based training is a promising approach to encouraging social skills in this population. The goal of the current project is to create a suite of computer-based teamwork games, the Cooperation Station, using the Unity 2D game engine. These games can be anything that encourages two people to work and play together. When completed, these games will be distributed freely to autism clinics around the country.

Tracking Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Using MRI

Mild traumatic brain injury occurs in athletes following physical impact to the head. After a mTBI has occurred, it is important to rapidly and objectively assess brain function. One way to do this is by using magnetic resonance imaging or MRI. MRI uses radio frequency to tilt hydrogen atoms in the brain out of alignment with a static magnetic field. As the hydrogen atoms return to their original orientation, they release energy which is measured by specialized coils in the MRI machine and can be used to construct 3D images of a participant's organs. We will measure brain activity in up to 15 college age students within 72 hours of mTBI, and again 45 days post mTBI. Both structural and functional (brain activity during rest) brain images will be acquired for each participant at each time point. The goal of the current project is to examine brain changes occurring between the initial and final scans.