Professor Perspective: Undergraduate Research

Written by
Dr. Aaron Buseh, PhD, MPH, MSN
Associate Professor

Nancy Thao Nguyen—a senior nursing student–is one of our Nursing Endeavor Student, a program developed in the College of Nursing with the goal of recruiting and retaining talented ethnic minority students in nursing. She is one of my mentees and one of my undergraduate research fellows. Through support from the UWM Office for Undergraduate Research between 2012-2013, she has worked on both my HIV/AIDS study and community genetics project.

In 2012, she presented her research “NEGOTIATING AND MANAGING DISCLOSURE: SELF-DISCLOSURE OF HIV POSITIVE STATUS AMONG URBAN HIV-INFECTED AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN at the National Council for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at Weber State University in Utah. The NCUR brings together over 5,000 undergraduate students every year to present their work. Nancy was among more than 40 UWM undergraduate students from various departments that attended the conference in Kentucky this year.

In April of 2014 she attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Kentucky—Lexington, Kentucky again. This time, she presented her research entitled: “RELATIONSHIP AND INFLUENCE OF KNOWLEDGE OF MEDICAL GENETICS, GROUP-BASED MEDICAL MISTRUST AND CONCERN ABOUT ABUSE OF GENETIC TESTING ON PERCEIVED DISADVANTAGES OF GENETIC TESTING AMONG A SAMPLE OF URBAN AFRICAN AMERICAN ADULTS.”

I have heard many undergraduate students remark that a course in research is boring. Some students may not come to appreciate the link between research and practice. It is our duty as professors to reach deep into the minds of our students and spark their interests in research. Over the years that I have worked with Nancy and other undergraduate students, I have seen growth and development in their understanding of research studies, the relevancy and interconnectedness to the improvement of health in diverse populations.

As a professor, I am pleased to be able to provide research apprenticeships to several undergraduate students.  My hope is that many of these students will take advantage of these opportunities and return to graduate school in the future after completion of their undergraduate degrees.