Sarah Coon ’22, a Spanish and anthropology double major, has been working with Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo to conduct research on determining early hominin dietary patterns and identifying the earliest tool used by these hominins by comparing wolf teeth marks on bone to the marks left behind by stone tools. Sarah says she has been “fortunate to receive an OUR Scholars award to fund research over the past year.” She was also a recipient of the OUR travel and research grants, but COVID-19 cancelled the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting in August, TX she was to present at.
Through undergraduate research, Sarah says that she has “gained an incredible faculty mentor and his support has been instrumental in aiding me learn how to be a researcher so I have a strong foundation for applying to and succeeding in graduate school. Thanks to these opportunities, I have determined that I want to pursue a career in collegiate education and research.” She also said that research has provided the tools needed to better herself as a student and for providing a critical thinking framework for solving problems.
“The Office of Undergraduate Research here at Purdue is one of the reasons I chose to attend the institution. Few other universities that I considered had the attention and care to undergraduate researchers that are so prevalent here, nor the willingness to fund new ideas and learning through research.”
Sarah’s advice to students interested in research is “though not all of us plan to go into academia, research fosters an attitude of thoroughness, honesty, professionalism and dedication that produces graduates ready to take on real-world challenges and answer questions that don’t yet have answers.”