Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is "an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline" --www.cur.org. This novel work may be accomplished in any discipline either within or outside the classroom.

At Unity College, our students get involved in research on a wide variety of subjects. Because of our low student to faculty ratio and strong commitment to involvement, Unity students have easier access to engage in research compared to students at other, larger institutions. Doing the actual research is definitely rewarding, and there are other benefits as well. Unity College students have opportunities to present the results of their research at at regional, national and professional society meetings, and on-campus twice a year at the Student Conference.

Together with their faculty mentors, students work on transdisciplinary projects and in doing so, form strong connections with faculty and other outside organizations. Students in the Undergraduate Research Program gain understanding, confidence, and awareness, better preparing them for what’s next after graduation. Statistics show that students who do research during their undergraduate years are more likely to continue with professional education and in STEM fields, and twice as likely to consider continuing on to pursue a Ph.D.

Under the College’s framework of sustainability science, undergraduate research students are well equipped to enter the workforce as effective environmental professionals, helping to solve 21st century problems.

The Unity College Undergraduate Research Program is under the direction of Dr. Amy Arnett and Dr. Kevin Spigel. Please contact Dr. Arnett or Dr. Spigel with any questions.

There are various channels available to students and faculty which help support and fund several of the College's research efforts. Below are examples of some of the ground-breaking research projects Unity College students are working on, both in and out of the classroom:

Wind Energy Study at Unity College

A significant database of the measurement of the speed of wind was created from a statewide wind survey campaign done from 2006 to 2013 in which Unity College faculty, staff and students participated.

Bear Study Unity College

With permission from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Unity College Bear Study team does hands-on research to provide information on a bear population in Central Maine. 

Tardigrade Research

Marine Biology students are researching tardigrades, invertebrate organisms with important implications in the continuation of biodiversity research and conservation.

Sandy Stream Research

Kevin Spigel, along with the team from his geomorphology class in the Earth and Environmental Science major, conducted an ecological learning assessment of Unity’s nearby Sandy Stream.

Rockweed Harvesting Research

As rockweed harvesting increases, Aimee Phillippi and her marine biology students look at the ecological impact on the rocky intertidal community.

Hemlock Ecosystem Management Study (HEMS)

The Hemlock Ecosystem Management Study is a multi-year research project on the loss of eastern hemlock trees to disease, and how it affects ecosystems and the economy in Maine.

Alewives Study at Unity College

A project to study fish assemblage structure in lakes, investigating the impact of alewives in local Maine waters.