By Sarah Mateshaytis, Faculty of Social Work
If you asked her a year ago, Kendal David might have said she wasn’t qualified to do research. Following a summer of research, she can’t help but exude enthusiasm as she talks about it. David is a fourth-year Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) student at the University of Calgary. She recently completed her 16-week independent summer research project, an opportunity made available to her through the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) awards.
For David, it was a hugely insightful opportunity. She says it served as a catalyst for her to dip her toes into research and has strongly influenced her post-graduation plans. It’s also informed a lot of decisions for her, including what she wants to study and where she wants to pursue a thesis-based Master of Social Work (MSW).
“I think prior to doing this project I would have used the MSW as a career stepping stone in the sense that it would be nice to take an extra year of courses and learn some more, and be in a different pay grade,” says David. “It’s interesting because I’m now way more excited about doing a thesis or doing research in a master’s program than I am about the coursework.”
The PURE awards provide UCalgary undergraduate students with funding so they can conduct independent summer research projects. With support from a supervisor, students learn how to develop and carry out a project, and are given the opportunity to choose their area of focus.