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Unique Learning Experiences

Climb glaciers. Float in space. Observe endangered animals. At UB, opportunities to push yourself academically are everywhere, in and out of the classroom. Here are some examples.

As a major public research university, UB offers students a wealth of opportunities for hands-on educational experiences that apply your classroom learning. These also establish the framework for future careers or graduate school.

And although we're a large public research university, you'll work closely with renowned faculty known for both their outstanding research and mentoring. Our student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and innovative learning communities ensure that you have access to everything you'll need to succeed and still get the personal attention you deserve.

NASA takes notice

Two groups of UB students have garnered the attention of NASA.

Pumped up

A team of six undergraduates in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has taken their research to new heights, from their lab at UB to a NASA facility in Houston. In their lab, the team tested the effectiveness of a pump that uses electricity instead of mechanical parts in the low-gravity conditions of space travel. NASA took notice and invited the team to Houston to test its experiment on a special low-gravity flight.

UB engineering undergraduates Nathan Guterry and Sandra Czarnecki (far left and right) with NASA astronaut Michael Fossum (center) during a low-gravity plane flight to test how the students' micropump design could operate in space.

UB Nanosat

The UB Nanosatellite program, or UB Nanosat, is a student-run group funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. UB Nanosat has been designing and building a satellite that uses reflected light to detect "space junk" left over from previous space missions, thereby helping to prevent collisions with active satellites and spacecraft. The team of more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students has gained skills and experience that few ever do — making them highly appealing to recruiters and game-changing employers like NASA, Moog and SpaceX.

"I could have never imagined five years ago that I'd be working on something like this. The opportunities I have had here are more than I expected out of any school. Almost nowhere else are you actually building something that's going to fly in space."

— Andrew Dianetti, program manager for UB Nanosat

"Participating in this was key to my getting a summer internship at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island. With my project management experience on Nanosat and the conference presentations I've done — all those experiences also helped me get into multiple graduate schools."

— Nikita Butakov, BS/BA '13, former chief engineer of UB Nanosat

Exploring our world

Each year, hundreds of our students travel the globe to apply their classroom knowledge, conduct research that matters and gain a better understanding of the world in which they live.

Climate research in Costa Rica

In the summer of 2012, UB Honors College student Esther Buckwalter was one of only 12 students selected from across the U.S. to go to Costa Rica for a National Science Foundation program called Research Experience for Undergraduates. Applying her coursework to community and climate issues in Costa Rica helped Buckwalter understand the significance of her studies.

Summer in Singapore

Jonathan Chan wanted to work in international business. He gained a wealth of knowledge while studying abroad one recent summer at the Singapore Institute of Management. Chan's experience reinforced his interest in pursuing a career focused on international business, especially in Asia. It also helped him land a job with an e-commerce firm in New York City.

From Texas to Japan

Leela Christian-Tabak heard UB's message about undergraduate research — loud, clear and early. After spending much of her undergraduate time doing hands-on laboratory work with her research mentor, she gained research experience in Texas and Japan, and has a graduate-school-ready resume that jumps off the table. These opportunities were made possible with funding and resources from UB's Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA).

"The CURCA grant helped me have a really tremendous trip and many fascinating experiences," Leela says. "I am glad CURCA created an atmosphere for me that encouraged me to start research early on. It allowed time for even more positive experiences to build on my first one."

Helping out in the Phillipines

As a certified emergency medical technician, student Emily Fiore wanted to apply her skills in a part of the world that was struggling with medical challenges that included a lack of staff and supplies. UB's Undergraduate Academies gave her just the opportunity she was looking for: a position working at a clinic in the Philippines during winter break. That’s not all, however. "Through networking dinners alone, I was able to land a research position, work in an operating room and shadow a surgeon through an open-heart procedure," she says.

Studying water quality in Tanzania

UB graduate Aaron Krolikowski, '09 went to Tanzania, Africa a few years ago as part of a research trip financed by the UB Honors College Research and Creative Activities Fund. The experience was life-changing.

Krolikowski went to Africa with the intent of studying agricultural development. Instead, he discovered water issues that he found interesting and relevant to his own life as a native of the North American Great Lakes Region.

While there, Krolikowski helped set up a co-op that provided farmers with emissions-free water pumps for watering fields. He's now a water and mobile technology researcher at Oxford University in England.

More ways to change the world

UB Alternative Break programs

Our Alternative Break programs offered through the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement give students the chance to make a difference in communities across the U.S. and around the world, from New Orleans to the Dominican Republic. Experience real-world community service by volunteering your time during the fall (Thanksgiving), winter or spring break. In five different locations, you'll address issues such as poverty, homelessness, hunger, literacy, HIV/AIDS, education and the environment.

Honors College

UB's Honors College encourages students to complete undergraduate research and creative pursuits to prepare them for graduate school. That's how Ariel Judson, a theatre and dance major, was able to travel with a group of students to Minsk, Belarus, to perform a show.

 "I feel like I'm really learning from the best...everyone’s interconnected in this community, we meet a lot of people through UB."

– Ariel Judson

 "I feel like I'm really learning from the best," says Ariel, who has worked closely with Stephen McKinley Henderson, a UB acting professor who was recently nominated for a Tony Award and has appeared in big-budget movies such as "Lincoln" and "Tower Heist."

Ariel has also collaborated with renowned international scholar and mentor Maria Horne on a piece that started up at UB's intimate Katharine Cornell Theater and — thanks to a grant from the Honors College Research and Creativity Fund — ended up at a week-long international theater festival in Belarus, where she made new friends from around the world and learned a great deal about acting.

Back in the U.S., Ariel has worked as a production assistant for the Tony Awards and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and landed an internship with A&E Networks, where she met CEO Abbe Raven, a UB grad. "Everyone’s interconnected in this community," she said. "We meet a lot of people through UB."

Learn more about UB's experiential learning opportunities

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