Undergraduate Research

UNH's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) was created in 1987 to encourage undergraduates to pursue research alongside a faculty member. Since then, the program has funded over 1000 students across all disciplines to pursue research projects that allow these students to acquire knowledge that transcends their other studies. Through the process, students are able to acquire an appreciation for the rigors of research inquiry and analysis. Students can also receive a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) to conduct research during the summer, or an international Research Opportunity Program (IROP) fellowship to conduct research abroad.

UROP students typically emerge from this program with greater confidence in their abilities and a sharper clarity on their academic and career goals. The majority expressed how much they enjoyed the one-to-one individual interaction they had with the faculty member they worked with and many commented how the UROP project was their most memorable undergraduate academic experience.

Recreation Management & Policy students are an integral part of the UNH UROP program. RMP students often use research proposals developed in RMP 724 (Research methods, Grantsmanship and Evaluation in Leisure Services) as a foundation for their UROP proposals. Some of the recent undergraduate research efforts are available for your review by clicking on the quick links on the left side of this page.


Patty Bohn
The role of municipal recreation agencies in the delivery of community youth sport programs and volunteer coaches training in the state of New Hampshire

This project provided information to the New Hampshire Recreation and Park Association (NHRPA) for use in the development of a state-wide youth sports coaches training program.  Patty gained valuable research experience to enhance her preparation for graduate school, while at the same time making an important contribution to New Hampshire's initiatives in the development of youth sports coaching standards.  Patty received $500 for her work on this award, and an additional $400 to offset research expenses associated with the study.  Through this study Patty worked collaboratively with Dr. Barcelona and analyzed the current youth sport coaching education literature and assessed the current competencies of New Hampshire youth sport coaches. Patty's UROP proposal continued the tradition of undergraduate research in the Department of Recreation Management and Policy.

Cara Carr & Val Chappell
Finding the right P.A.T.H.: An in depth examination of a spinal cord injury community based recreation program

The idea behind Cara and Val's project stemmed from their internship experience with Northeast Passage. During this internship both students observed the implementation of PATH, an innovative community based health promotion program designed by Jill Gravink M.S. And Dr. Janet Sable. Cara and Val's research study attempted to understand the critical family issues facing individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI), an understanding of the issues that individuals with an SCI and their families face as they attempt to adapt to life post injury as well as the role that a community health promotion program (Project P.A.T.H.) played in this transition. The results of the study contained some interesting insights that a community therapeutic recreation program has in the lives of those who have recently experienced a SCI.

Val and Cara gained confidence in their professional intake interviewing skills and gained a greater understanding of professional practices. Furthermore, the research experience opened up opportunities for them after they graduated. Shortly after graduation, Val was interviewed for a job coordinating the special education curriculum at Milford Elementary School. During her interview, the principal was impressed that Val had undertaken research as an undergraduate and could talk about the process so eloquently.

Val and Cara presented the results of their study at the National Recreation and Parks Association Conference in Tampa, Florida.

Katherine de Castro
Staff Retention in Residential Summer Camps: Understanding organizational culture and place attachment within two New Hampshire programs.

The background behind Katherine's project stemmed from her interest in the outdoor education field combined with her extensive involvement in summer camps. Having written an excellent paper in her RMP 668—Youth Culture and Leadership course that examined the phenomenon of place attachment, Katherine wanted to examine place attachment in relation to summer camps.

This project examined the concept of staff retention through studying camp culture in 2 New Hampshire summer camps. In light of societal changes and the popularity of camps in the US, parents have greater expectations of camps to provide their children a safe environment and give them a sense of security. Thus the emphasis of camps to employ qualified staff has increased. Fulfilling this duty will reduce difficulties if more research is achieved in the area of staff retention. To address the issue of staffing, this study sought to gain an extensive understanding of the culture and attachments to place that influence quality staff to return to two New Hampshire summer camps. It also attempted to provide a contextual description of the key factors which cultivate culture in a particular camp.

Jim Langley
Examining the nature and extent of collaborative engagement between community recreation agencies and higher education institutions

This project, endorsed and partially sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association, provided a comprehensive overview of the collaborative efforts and partnerships between park and recreation agencies and higher education institutions. The results also increased the understanding of how to build and develop relationships when conducting future collaborative partnerships. The study was the first national survey that extensively examined the nature & extent of university-community engagement in the park & recreation field. Through utilizing an Importance-Performance framework, this study was able to identify areas where collaboration is currently taking place, areas where collaboration is deemed important and areas where there may be differences between academia and those working in the field.

Jim's participation in this study stemmed from his desire to learn more about the research process through working closely with two faculty members. The quality of his work and dedication to work long hours helped make the project a success. In recognition of their efforts, Jim, Dr. Bob Barcelona and Dr. Jason Bocarro received the College of Health and Human Service's Ritvo Award, for excellence in faculty/student collaboration in research. The results were featured in Parks and Recreation magazine.