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OUR Mission.

Undergraduates at the University of Kentucky (UK) are truly remarkable, and they are a tremendous source of inspiration and pride for the University and the Commonwealth. Incredibly curious and creative, UK undergraduates demonstrate tremendous aptitudes for independent thought, ingenuity, research, and creative work.

The UK Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is driven to empower UK undergraduates with knowledge and skills critical to their development as citizens and leaders of their communities through experiential learning. To achieve this mission, the OUR vision is to provide all UK undergraduates opportunities to pursue mentored research and creative work to discover, invent, and create the never before.

Our mission, designed for holistic student achievement and excellence, is realized through OUR commitments to:

  • Promote and facilitate undergraduate research and discovery

  • Engage the campus community to enrich the undergraduate experience

  • Ensure equitable and inclusive access to mentored research and creative scholarship through sponsored funding in partnership with UK colleges, centers, and units

  • Provide leadership and outreach programming that allows undergraduate scholars to connect their research and the communities they impact

  • Employ quantifiable metrics to demonstrate the impact of the research and creative work of UK undergraduates

  • Showcase, celebrate, and disseminate the work of UK undergraduates and the indelible impact of their creativity


OUR Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity

The University of Kentucky is committed to our core values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and human dignity, and a sense of community. We acknowledge and respect the seen and unseen diverse identities and experiences of all members of the university community. These identities include but are not limited to those based on race, ethnicity, gender identity and expressions, ideas and perspectives, religious and cultural beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin, age, ability, and socioeconomic status. We are committed to equity and justice and providing a learning and engaging community in which every member is engaged, heard, and valued.

OUR is committed to intentionally promoting and upholding equity, inclusion, and diversity through our programming, as true excellence can only be achieved when everyone is able to reach for their goals.


Meet Our Team.


chad Risko headshot

Director, Office of Undergraduate Research Associate Professor of Chemistry

Location Detail
211 Funkhouser Building


Jesi Jones Bowman OUR staff

Administrative Director

Location Detail
211 Funkhouser Building



Program and Marketing Specialist

Location Detail
211 Funkhouser Building



Student Marketing & Communications Intern

Location Detail
211 Funkhouser Building


Zoey Schwartz

Student Marketing & Communications Intern

Location Detail
211 Funkhouser Building

What is Undergraduate Research?

The Council on Undergraduate Research defines undergraduate research as “An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.” 

Undergraduate research helps students apply classroom learning to new areas and fuels student creativity and curiosity. Undergraduates at UK have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a project led by top researchers and gain experiential “hands-on” learning that is translatable to real-world skills.


Physics undergraduate research summer fellows with mentor Chris Crawford


UK checkerboard line

OUR College Contacts

View College Contacts

Benefits of Undergraduate Research

Explore the unknown. Research gives students the skills to think for themselves, critically evaluate information, and use their creativity to explore.

  • Explore career directions

  • Work one-on-one with internationally distinguished faculty 

  • Participate in cutting-edge research projects with far-reaching impact

  • Develop your problem-solving skills, creativity, teamwork, and critical thinking abilities

  • Earn credit outside the classroom 

  • Set yourself apart for graduate or professional school admission or high-level employment

  • Have fun!

Services We Offer

We provide students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines with ample opportunities to develop as scholars. The specific programs and services we facilitate include:

  • Connect undergraduates with research, scholarship and creative endeavors

  • Information sessions

  • Student research skills workshops and events

  • Research funding and presentation programs

  • Showcase undergraduate research on campus, locally, nationally, and internationally

  • Faculty mentor recognition programs

  • Research-oriented classroom presentations



Explore an interest. Ignite a passion. Dream big and be bold.

Willian Tan China UGRAS 2018
Solar eclipse student research team
Music education research student with mentor