Welcome to Undergraduate Research at Valencia College!


Science Lab Student

  • In its most simple description, undergraduate research is undergraduate students learning by doing - the pinnacle of active learning.
  • Since students reinforce and expand their knowledge through active inquiry in scholarly and discipline research processes, the guidance of an undergraduate research faculty mentor is the purest form of teaching.
  • The research experience may vary by discipline and focus, and be academic, applied, design-based, or creative. It may range from open-ended to authentic inquiry, but it is useful to students and often the discipline of study.
  • Students receive training on elements of research or scholarship such as discipline-specific methodology, library research and literature review, ethical standards of research, safety (if applicable), effective project management, and communication and presentation skills.

Benefits of Undergraduate Research

Science Class

Community colleges play an important role in a transforming model of higher education in the US. In 2015-16,  49% of all bachelor degree recipients in the US started at a community college. Therefore, there is a need for developing programs introducing and promoting undergraduate research at community colleges in general and at Valencia in particular.

"Community colleges provide educational opportunities for students to earn pre-baccalaureate certificates or degrees, transfer to four-year institutions, or complete workforce and skill development programs. Each of these respective types of students would be better prepared for the next step in their careers if they were able to participate in quality undergraduate research experiences."

Impacts Across the College

Science Class

  • Undergraduate research activities will increase emphasis on active learning in existing courses through UR embedded courses.
  • Undergraduate research activities will increase engagement between faculty and students.
  • Undergraduate research activities will increase student success.

Undergraduate research increases student success:

  • increases retention and transfer rates
  • increases confidence, greater self-efficacy in their chosen fields
  • better understanding of career goals, and better employment potential

Undergraduate Research Initiative Goals

Science ClassIn addition to specific learning outcomes from within a discipline, a student in an undergraduate research opportunity will be able to do the following:

  • gain an understanding of how knowledge is constructed in a discipline, and possibly contribute to the body of knowledge in a discipline.
  • increase cognitive complexity such as critical thinking, reflective thinking, effective reasoning, and creativity.
  • increase practical competence such as project management skills (e.g., creating specific, measurable goals, maintaining a timeline, accountability, acquiring resources, etc.), effective communication, collaboration, self-assessment, professionalism, commitment to ethics, etc.
  • increase their ability to explore careers related to field of interest; to strengthen prospects for external internships or university-level research upon transfer; and, to strengthen applications for careers or professional or graduate schools.


Undergraduate Research Coordinator

Melonie Sexton


Valencia UR Advisory Board

The Undergraduate Research Advisory Board consists of experts from a variety of disciplines including, Chemistry, Psychology, Computer Science, and Political Science just to name a few. The board also has library, counseling, and advising representatives.

  • Melonie Sexton (co-chair) UR Coordinator – Psychology, DTC 
  • Robyn Brighton (co-chair) Director of Strategic Learning Initiatives