The coolest place at Loyola in the summer is wherever the Hauber scholars are. Hear about the amazing work of these budding scientists from Dr. Bahram Roughani, Associate Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences.
It is obvious that summer is here when having a seat at Starbucks or finding a parking spot does not require planning and perfect timing. Also, the usual buzz and the flurry of activities involving students comes to a halt during the summer break. However, the exception might be the buzz at Donnelly Science Center and the bustle of research activities by the Hauber Fellows deeply engaged in their research work with their faculty mentors.
Hauber Summer Research Program is an annual summer initiative that started in 1988 to provide the opportunity for mathematics, sciences, and engineering undergraduates to work one-on-one with faculty mentors. This program is named in honor of Father Edward S. Hauber, S.J., professor of chemistry at Loyola from 1942 to 1966. Initially Fr. Hauber raised funds for chemistry majors to conduct summer research with faculty mentors. After his death in 1985, additional funds were raised through philanthropic supports and external grants that resulted in the introduction of the Hauber Summer Research program in its new form in 1988 and expanded support for summer research projects to all disciplines in the natural and applied sciences.
Wednesdays are special, because Hauber Fellows present their research work during lunch in front of a packed room. The audience is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and sometimes industrial sponsors who have provided research funding support. The 2017 Hauber Summer Research presentations were the outcome of the research work done by fifteen Hauber Fellows, twelve faculty mentors from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics, one Philosophy Department faculty member, and a Kolvenbach Fellow. A recent article by Loyola Magazine provides an insight about the diversity of research topics that were investigated and presented by 2017 Hauber Fellows.
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has identified undergraduate research as one of the High Impact Practices (HIPs), as well as learning communities, community-based projects and service-learning, co-ops and internships, field experiences, student teaching and clinical experiences, study abroad, culminating senior experiences (capstone courses, senior project or theses, comprehensive exams, portfolios, etc.). Loyola University has institutionalized many of the so called HIPs, with Hauber Summer Research Program being a prime example. One may ponder about the common factors among various High Impact Practices (HIPs) that make them so effective. In my opinion there are three important common factors among the variety of HIPs: Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery.
In the end, not only is Hauber Summer Research Program “HIP,” so are our Hauber Fellows. First, they are engaged in their research project with a sense of Purpose defined by their motivation and determination to find an answer to a research question. They are fueled by the passion for having a positive impact through scientific discoveries. Second, they work with fair amount of Autonomy, because faculty mentors are there to foster the intellectual growth of the Hauber Fellows as independent thinkers. Finally, they achieve Mastery of knowledge through scientific exploration, making observations, asking the right questions, conducting background research, forming hypotheses, testing the hypotheses through reproducible and verifiable experiments, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions, and finally accepting or rejecting the hypotheses and modifying the hypotheses if necessary. Furthermore, Hauber Fellows prove their communication skills when presenting complex scientific ideas to an audience with diverse backgrounds in a masterful display of “eloquentia perfecta.” This makes both the Hauber Summer Research Program and the Hauber Fellows HIP!