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Club profile: Young Researchers at the University of Calgary

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A new club on campus -- Young Researchers ­-- is offering a way for undergraduate students to get involved in research.

Co-presidents Nancy Kamar and Morgan Foret, both second-year students, said the club grew out of their mutual fascination with research. Kamar is studying health science and Foret is in biological science.

"A lot of future collaborations begin when you're a student -- why don't we start as students in undergraduate studies?" said Kamar.

The two began thinking of how they could expand the discussion to include more students.

"I got a lot of emails from students saying how this idea was incredible, how they would be so interested in joining. They were stoked! And that was when we said, 'we have to get this going.'"

What started out as a Facebook group this summer met with excellent response and is now a SU sanctioned club.

During clubs week, the group collected an email list of over 60 interested students.

"Our main focus is trying to get biweekly meetings and research paper discussions," said Kamar, adding that they will match the discussions to members' interests.

The club also hopes to plan a wide array of additional activities, from special interest lectures to anatomy lab tours. There will also be networking opportunities.

Fourth-year health sciences student Sarup Sridharan and the club's vp finance, said he wishes the club had existed when he started his undergraduate degree.

"I think it's great if you're starting out," he said. "I know quite a few people who want to get some research experience aside from the stuff they do in labs. This kind of club should make it easier to find out what research is like at the U of C."

Sridharan got involved with research early on by taking advantage of a mentorship program offered through health sciences, but not all faculties have these opportunities.

"Nancy and Morgan have done a really good job of making this accessible to everybody," said Sridharan. "It's not just medical researchers."

The club has already attracted students from not only science and health science, but also arts, engineering and business. Discussion and collaboration between research-minded students in different faculties is part of the club's long-term vision.

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