Vilma Mesa and research mentees to present at 34th annual UROP symposium

April 14, 2022

The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) is a capstone project for more than 1,000 undergraduate students conducting research across campus.


On April 20, the UROP symposium will celebrate the partnerships created between undergraduate students and research mentors in a hybrid format at the Michigan League.

Vilma Mesa, professor of education and mathematics, has mentored 20 UROP students since 2004. This year, she is working with four students to investigate mathematics teaching at community colleges.

Duo Lelia Burley-Sanford and Amy Xinyi Hao spent the last year analyzing qualitative data and calculations to determine how students and instructors use open-access textbooks in college. Another piece of their research is understanding how they can develop textbooks that will improve teaching and learning.

“My UROP researchers are helping us understand the connections between the use of some specific textbook features by college students and how teachers work with these textbooks,” Mesa said. “We have an extensive project that allows us to map and track the viewing of textbooks, and we have identified ways in which teachers and students view particular features.”

Burley-Sanford said that once she started the project, she felt overwhelmed and underprepared.

“That is where a great mentor can step in,” she said. “Professor Mesa has been an inspiration and has helped shape my academic experience. I have learned valuable skills that will benefit me both in academia and in life, such as critically thinking about something and analyzing information.” Furthermore, Burley-Sanford noted, “The best part about having a mentor became clear when she encouraged me not to give up.”

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Professor, School of Education; Professor of Mathematics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts