IUPUI Student Researchers Discuss their Work and its Impact


Undergraduate student research forms the backbone for many IUPUI student experiences. Through engagement with their departments, students pursue their personal interests, expand their skill sets, and develop their presence within the research community. They create valuable relationships with their faculty and staff mentors, and network with individuals who represent students’ academic and career interests. The Center for Research and Learning (CRL) is an institute on IUPUI’s campus that supports and builds undergraduate research and hosts events that give students opportunities to promote and to present their work.

In honor of IUPUI’s 50th anniversary, the Center for Research and Learning in collaboration with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research is hosting Student Research and Engagement Day on April 12th in the Campus Center. This event is an opportunity for students to present their research and creative activities to the IUPUI community and to demonstrate the growth that they have gained through their scholarly work.

Woman holding her award check

Isra Haider

Isra Haider is a biology and sociology double major and honors scholar, as well as an active and engaged student on campus. She is a CRL ambassador and a winner of the 2019 Women’s History Month Leadership Award. For her research, Isra worked at the Wells Center for Pediatric Research and the Center for Diabetes under the guidance of Dr. Raghu Mirmira and his lab.

Evan Messenger

Evan Messenger is a neuroscience major and honors scholar whose interest in research started even before he entered college. For his research, he worked with faculty in the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Isra Haider, whose research focused on endocrinology and diabetes, says that her work complemented her studies and helped her “gain a deeper understanding of science, especially biology, since I have been able to apply what I have learned.” The chance to apply classroom knowledge in a real environment is priceless, particularly when the application of that knowledge results in meaningful contributions. Evan Messenger, whose research focused on the severity of strokes in different populations, says that one of the reasons he feels that undergraduate research is important is because it gives students a greater appreciation for what they learn in their lectures.

Undergraduate research is important because it bridges the gap between the classroom and the real world.

Evan Messenger

Students who participate in undergraduate research gain the unique opportunity to connect with their studies on a critical level, while also contributing to the fields of their choice. Isra feels that even though she is just one person, she has contributed scientifically, not only to her lab but also to the diabetes field, and even science in general. Evan also feels that he has added to his field, as his study of stroke factors in men and women of different ages may lead to a new theoretical approach to stroke patient treatment options. Their contributions are just two examples of the impact that undergraduate researchers can have on their community without setting foot off campus. For a student, having this kind of impact early on in their lives helps them understand how valuable their experience, time, and knowledge can be to the world.

Undergraduate research not only improves the lives of students now, but it can also help them to plan for their futures. Isra says, “We often say that the goal for college is to prepare students for a future career. Doing research gives students a chance to experience professionalism and to create networks that will benefit them as they move on in the future.” The growth that students experience through research is incredible, as Evan’s story demonstrates. He says, “I grew not only as researcher and a student but also as person as I developed new critical thinking and empathy skills that help me every day.”

Both Isra and Evan plan to conduct more research in the future. Over the summer, Evan will be working at the Stark Neuroscience Institute, and Isra plans to continue her current research. Both are excited for the challenges they will be undertaking, and they feel that they have created a network with the professionals around them who will always be available to provide support when asked.

Evan Messenger and Isra Haider with their fellow winners at IUURC 2018

Isra and Evan both participated in the Indiana University Undergraduate Research Conference (IUURC) in 2018, with Isra placing second and Evan receiving an honorable mention. The IUURC, like Student Research and Engagement Day, allows students to network and to showcase their work to other students, faculty, and staff across IU and to demonstrate the skills that they have gained through their experiences.

For more information, contact the Division of Undergraduate Education Office of Communications at duecomm@iupui.edu.