by Kaveeta Kaw and Pruthali Kulkarni
What is RSAC?
The Research Student Advisory Council (RSAC) is a student-based organization whose principal goal is to serve as the official student advisory group within the Office of Undergraduate Research at The University of Texas at Austin. RSAC strives to represent the many research interests on the UT campus and hosts round table discussions through which research organizations can share their ideas, promote their events, and receive feedback from other organizations. Our goal is to foster a research community at UT Austin and ensure that students are aware of the opportunities provided by our Tier One research institution.
The Importance of Research
Research in any field impacts the community by providing new knowledge and addressing questions. Conducting research and learning the methods for how to approach a question as an undergraduate student is essential in the college educational experience. Research allows individual students to develop problem-solving strategies by applying what they have learned in a lecture-based environment to true problems that exist in society. Research is an ever-changing field in which the researcher never stops learning as new techniques and discoveries are constantly evolving in this exciting field. Students, therefore, should take advantage and participate in the multitude of cutting-edge research opportunities available within this Tier One research institution.
How can RSAC serve you as a researcher?
Due to the diversity in RSAC membership, RSAC can direct students to specific resources based on the student's particular requirements. Research consists of many stages, from finding research opportunities to publishing results in a journal. Most organizations represented in RSAC are focused on a particular stage of research. For example, if a student was looking to publish his/her research in a journal, RSAC could immediately refer that student to the Undergraduate Research Journal to submit a manuscript. If a student was looking for information on undergraduate research, then RSAC could advise the student to either contact a specific research-related organization in their college or attend an Information Session hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research.
The Research Student Advisory Council consists of two RSAC co-chairs, Senate’s Undergraduate Research Committee, members from research programs and organizations, three University-wide appointments, delegates from the College Councils, and the Office of Undergraduate Research. The research programs/organizations that are represented in RSAC include but are not limited to Dean's Scholars, the Texas Law Undergraduate Review, the Undergraduate Research Journal, Women in Natural Sciences, Science Undergraduate Research Group, UT Libraries, and DemTex. We hope to have more representation from other research-related organizations and college councils.
What are RSAC members doing to foster a research community at UT Austin?
Several of our members host guest lecture series. For example, Dean’s Scholars hosts the Research and Undergraduate Talk Series (ResULTS) and Distinguished Lecture Series where students can learn about the research conducted by their peers and other researchers. Many organizations also host poster sessions to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to present their research. For example, the Student Engineering Council will be hosting a Poster Exhibition Competition for undergraduate students to present and demonstrate their research. In addition, the Science Undergraduate Research Group (SURGe) hosts the Science Undergraduate Research Fair (SURF) with includes a poster session and information booths on how to find research opportunities. Other RSAC organizations have similar poster presentation events that undergraduates are invited to participate in. For more information about events that are hosted by RSAC Members, please contact us or stop by the RSAC table at the Longhorn Research Bazaar. Refer to contact information below.
How can your organization contribute to RSAC?
Research comes in many shapes and forms. One person or even a group of 20 people cannot possibly represent the immense variety research interests on campus. Therefore, RSAC is always looking forward to increasing representation of various research organizations and college councils. If your organization is interested in promoting research on campus, we would love to have your attendance in RSAC’s Round Table Discussions.
If you are interested in learning more about RSAC, please contact the 2013-2014 Co-Chairs Kaveeta Kaw and Pruthali Kulkarni at firstname.lastname@example.org. RSAC members will also be tabling during the Longhorn Research Bazaar on Wednesday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. so please feel free to stop by our table!