Undergraduate Research @ UMKC

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Undergraduate Research Ambassadors


Chelsea Pfaffly

Senior Undergraduate Research Ambassador

Year in School:  Junior
:  Civil Engineering
Faculty Mentor
:  Dr. Megan Hart, Civil Engineering, School of Computing & Engineering
Ask Chelsea a question.

Why is undergraduate research important to you?

Undergraduate research is important to me because it's exposing me to different career paths and post graduate opportunities. Not only am I discovering what I want to do after graduation, but I am learning valuable knowledge and skills that I could not learn in a classroom setting. At UMKC the civil engineering degree is packed and there is not much room for exploration into a specialty until your junior or senior year. With undergrad research I get to take things I learned in class and apply it to something, thus growing my understanding of civil engineering more and finding a specialty I'm interested in.

How did you find your mentor?
One of my classmates suggested that I change my academic advisor to Dr. Hart because her research within geotech engineering was similar to the things I was interested in. We both are passionate about the environment and discovering ways to preserve it with civil engineering.

How did you determine what your particular research project would be?
Dr. Hart had some research that needed to be done that was similar to things I was interested in. After talking with her about my interests and what I wanted to do with my career, she came to me with an idea for research. It focuses on trying to collect the heavy metals collected from mining spills, like Flint Michigan. Research from another colleague here at UMKC shows that pervious concrete is excellent for removing these metals. In order to remove the metals from the concrete sections I will break the concrete up into smaller pieces and leave in buckets of acid until everything else dissolves besides the concrete. This experiment interested me because proving metals can be extracted makes using pervious concrete an economical answer to cleaning mining spills.


Dr. Jane Greer
106 Cockefair Hall
Department Contacts
Undergraduate Research Advisory Board
Undergraduate Research is a division of Academic Affairs

Important Dates and Deadlines:

Thursday, August 30, 2018 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
1st Floor Lobby of Miller Nichols Learning Center
5th Annual SUROP Poster Symposium
Contact Jane Greer for more details.


Friday, September 14, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
Deadline for SEARCH Applications
Please note the SEARCH Application is online. Students should plan to submit early so that faculty mentors and department chairs have time to provide recommendations letters and necessary signatures.
Contact Jane Greer for more details.


Friday, November 2, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.
Deadline for Nominations for Undergraduate Research Day @ the Capitol.
Faculty mentors are encouraged to nominate outstanding undergraduate researchers, scholars and artists to share their work with state legislators and other stakeholders in Jefferson City in spring, 2019.
Contact Jane Greer for more details.

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