The University of Utah has various ways for students to get involved in the Tier-1 research conducted all over campus. When Jae Miner, a senior in anthropology, learned about the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at the U, they (Miner’s preferred pronoun) jumped on it.
“I did anthropology research with human subjects, where I studied oral histories and disabilities across cultures,” Miner said. “It was the first time that I had been involved in research as anything other than a participant, and it really ignited a passion in me.”
After their research project concluded, Miner wanted to stay involved. UROP supports a cohort of Undergraduate Research Leaders each academic year, who guide students through the research process. Miner was selected to be a research leader, and given a brand-new distinction: the Institutional Review Board (IRB) liaison. Miner has spent the last year using this position to bring awareness and change in research for queer/disabled individuals on campus. Miner has compiled a packet that summarizes the IRB standards for ethical research to help streamline the process for students conducting research on campus, as well as organized a panel through UROP’s undergraduate education series, titled “Queering Research.”
“The panel includes queer researchers, research participants and staff from LGBT resource centers who have either done research or participated in it, so it covers the whole spectrum. We’ll talk about how to get more researchers in the field, and what ethical research looks like when you’re queer.”
Miner says their biggest impact, though, has been visibility.
“One of the things that I think I have changed is the perception of queer and disabled people in research. There’s not a lot of researchers who are queer or disabled, so just being visible as a researcher is powerful.”
Find this article and a lot more in the 2019 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.