Undergraduate Research Initiative

Dr. Olja Simoska, with help from Dr. Amir Hosseini, has developed and is currently leading a distinctive, course-based undergraduate research experience known as the Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at the University of South Carolina (USC). This initiative aims to modernize and broaden the undergraduate curriculum at USC by offering specialized training for college students. The ultimate outcome of this program is the cultivation of undergraduates who are better equipped for the future, particularly in excelling within the field of chemistry. The program empowers undergraduates to make meaningful contributions to new knowledge and scientific discovery early in their academic journeys. A similar research initiative has been established at the University of Texas at Austin, which started from a small base and is now supporting over 800 undergraduate researchers. Partly inspired by this research initiative, the URI program at USC trains and brings in college students in research labs into their first year. Participating students register for a two-course sequence: (1) an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based research methods course in the fall semester, followed by (2) a research course in one of six chemistry research “streams” (e.g., focus or research) in the spring semester.