2019 Undergraduate Researchers (From left to right: Erin Bittner, Katherine Haile, Julie Schmidt, Daniel Botello, Hagen Meyer, Walter Flocke, and Weston Conine Photo by: Travis Hendryx
By Victoria Castañeda, Skyline Contributor
From pronghorn carry capacity and foraging behavior to a juniper’s nutritional values, and from canopy cover to prey composition, Sul Ross students are unlocking the natural mysteries of our region.
On September 20th, the Sul Ross State University Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) held its fifth annual undergraduate research symposium featuring work on a variety of topics in wildlife ecology and management. Students worked with mentors for a year-long project and in a variety of capacities to conduct original research and develop sound methodologies.
In its five years of existence, more than half of the undergraduate students who have participated in the mentorship program have gone on to graduate programs in their specific fields. The program has featured thirty-nine undergraduate students from seven different institutions, conducting fifty-two unique projects.
The BRI mentorship program was created in the Fall of 2014 with a grant from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Its intention is to guide and mentor students through the research process in order to develop sound and successful research practices. Various practices consist of reviews to project designs, data collection, data analysis, result interpretation, and presentation of results. During the year-long program, students have the opportunity to work with experts in academically intriguing areas while also developing their methods and resulting projects.
Natural Resource Management programs throughout Texas have expressed interest in taking part of the mentorship program. The program’s reputation is quickly establishing itself across the state.
According to Thomas Janke, BRI Mentorship Program Coordinator, “The BRI is thankful for the continued support from and partnership with the HLSR. We hope to continue providing opportunities for our students (future natural resource professionals) to better prepare themselves for the next steps in life. If any undergraduate students (they do not have to be a NRM major) are interested in better preparing themselves for graduate school, or ultimately making themselves more competitive in the job/internship/scholarship arena, please check out our Mentorship Program (https://bri.sulross.edu/about-bri/undergraduate-assistants/) or contact me (Thomas Janke), BRI Mentorship Program Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org; 254-541-5116.”