Jack Walker Published

Shepherd University Secures 3 Years Of Funding For Student Research

A round, protruding entryway separates two wings of a brick building with a small garden before it.
The Robert C. Byrd Science and Technology Center houses many science classes at Shepherd University.
Jack Walker/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) is furthering student research in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.

The Shepherd Opportunity to Attract Research Students (SOARS) program pairs students with university faculty for summer research projects, providing them a stipend for their work.

A new HEPC grant of more than $160,000 will allow the program to continue for the next three years.

Participants in the program select a scientific research project they want to work on alongside a professor, receiving mentorship over the course of the summer.

At summer’s end, students have the opportunity to present their research. Later, they complete a capstone project from their findings.

This marks the fifth cycle of the SOARS program, which welcomes 30 students in each round of the grant.

“Students who are paid on the SOARS grant in the summer have extra hours and bits and pieces that they can do,” said Robert Warburton, dean of Shepherd’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Nursing, in a Monday press release.

“That means they get extra experience, and the faculty advisor gets assistants working in the lab, which is also important because the faculty must be able to do research because of their professional development requirements,” he said. “It’s a win on both sides.”