Capstone Research

The UCF Physics and Chemistry departments, in collaboration with their counterparts at FIU and USF, are currently leading a course creation proposal for a collaborative Physical Sciences research capstone course for junior/senior physics and chemistry majors at the Florida Consortium (UCF + USF + FIU) to perform research or internship collaborations away from their home department.

This 3-credit elective course will be offered in the Summer terms (starting in 2017), when students are free of heavy core course work. Students enrolled in the capstone course will perform research with extra-mural partners, including the Physics and Chemistry departments of the Florida Consortium, national laboratories, and local industry, among others.

We are currently seeking external support to establish an active student exchange program within the participating physical science departments of the Florida Consortium to provide research collaboration opportunities to students interested in expanding their academic training in view of opening connections to the professional world and to ultimately facilitate their transition into the profession. This aspect of the program will become available once funding is secured, while the course will be in effect in Summer 2017 for all other research projects.

Objectives of the course

  • design, plan, and execute projects;
  • apply course content knowledge to problems with open-ended solutions;
  • learn the design process required to solve these problems;
  • understand the needs of clients and how to solve their problems;
  • allocate funding and time;
  • communicate via oral and written reports;
  • learn to adapt to different academic and work environments.

Students will obtain this knowledge by establishing collaborations with external clients (research groups at other institutions and industry partners).

Have a look at the (tentative) capstone syllabus that we are proposing to get the course approved at UCF.

Florida Consortium Capstone Faculty Board

The participating departments will oversee the progress of students in the course by means of a Florida Consortium Capstone Faculty Board (CFB), with two representatives from each department. The CFB will be responsible for making students aware of existing resources to secure external research collaborations, including establishing connections with local industry partners, securing internal funding sources for student support, and overseeing an active student exchange program. Enrique del Barco and Alfons Shulte will be the members from the UCF Physics department, while Eloy Hernandez and Erin Saitta will represent the UCF Chemistry department.

The Florida Consortium

The six participating departments in the Florida Consortium graduate an average of 130 B.S. students/year. Before graduation, B.S. students in the participating departments are required to enroll in undergraduate research or independent study (3 credit hours). This is usually a rewarding experience for both students and faculty. The student exchange program for the Florida Consortium collaborative capstone course for physical sciences, which will become a one-of-its-kind nationwide, will provide undergraduate students with an effective avenue to get involved in research and to benefit from collaboration within the highly interdisciplinary nature of the science offered by the combination of research groups in the participating Physics and Chemistry departments of the Florida Consortium. In addition, students will benefit from the strong connections of these institutions with local industry of three major metropolitan areas in Florida (Orlando, Miami, and Tampa).