Category Archives: undergraduate research

On “wishing” students “good luck” on their exams and instead encouraging to empower themselves

Since I have worked (particularly with undergraduates) these last few years as a beginning research professor, I have caught myself automatically wishing them “good luck” when they tell me they have an exam/final/big project due. Maybe it’s pedantic, but I don’t want them to feel like their success is an issue of luck (a.k.a. random chance, circumstances out of their control, etc.), no matter how much of that success may actually be due to whether their class leader knows how to design an assessment that actually assesses anything resembling a student’s actual facility with the topic.

So I’ve been wracking my brain off and on for an acceptable alternative. “Work hard” or even “work smart” seems stilted and too far the other way – even though that is what they can control. Plus, work at what? Cramming last minute? So today I searched the internet for alternatives to good luck. For a good couple of laughs/cringes at “discussion” on the internet, check out this xkcd forum and this ask reddit.

Alternatives such as “I know you’ll do well” seem overly confident in my foresight and may backfire if (ok, this is overestimating my influence a teensy bit) the student decides not to work as diligently after my pronouncement.

I don’t have any definitive answers yet, but “I wish you well” seems closest to more acceptable. Maybe it strikes a balance between those things in and out of our control. And it’s not too long and complicated but hopefully doesn’t convey any unintentional context either way.


Leave a comment

Filed under musings, undergraduate research

GEO students present research at local undergraduate conferences #nsf #ugresearch #geoscience

Two of our Santa Fe College undergraduates from the 2016 Geoscience Engagement and Outreach program (joint SF/UF/Orlando Science Center, NSF awards 1540724 and 1540729) just presented their research at local conferences:

Diego Sanchez, my mentee, presented a poster at the Santa Fe Research in Undergraduate Education festival. He took second place. DiegoREU2017_ 2

Samantha Allen presented her work with mentor Cori Matyas in a poster at the Southern Regional Honors Council.


Samantha and Diego are finishing their studies at Santa Fe and transferring to four-year programs. They also continue to work with this year’s cohort of students. Great job!

Leave a comment

Filed under GEO, publications, Research, undergraduate research

New TIDESS project website!

We are rocking and rolling now on my NSF AISL project, now called Touch Interaction for Data Engagement on Spherical Screens (formerly Think Globally, Interact Locally). So we have our own website for it, with blog posts from many of our six (!) students working on the project.

Here are a couple of earlier posts on the project before the new site launched:

Our related tabletop study – posts by Annie Luc, undergraduate researcher

some of our pilot work – post by me and Lisa Anthony, co-PI from Computer Science

Leave a comment

Filed under Research, TIDESS, undergraduate research