Is getting involved in research right for you? What does it take to be an undergraduate researcher? Are you ready for undergraduate research?
Students who have taken part in research projects have gained many benefits from the experience, such as learning how to conduct experiments, analyzing and reporting data, how to present findings, as well as how to move forward after a setback.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before getting involved in research:
Do I have the time to devote to research in addition to academic, family, and extracurricular activities?
What am I interested in? What subjects are intriguing?
Do I have faculty connections?
Am I willing to network to meet faculty and learn about their projects?
Do I have the skill-set needed to work on a research project?
Am I willing to volunteer to gain experience in the lab?
Am I a self-directed worker?
Some faculty prefer to assign students more low-level tasks and responsibilities prior to working on a more significant project. These positions tend to be volunteer positions.
Some faculty may have funding available to help support your work in the lab, or will work with you to submit a funding proposal, such as to the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative or the NASA Space Grant internship program. Some faculty will submit a National Science Foundation supplement to apply for funding to support an undergraduate researcher.
“I always wanted to conduct research but I didn’t know that I would get the chance as an undergraduate.”
Frank is conducting research on removing and recovering contaminants from water in conjunction with the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) program. He is also working as a research assistant on an EPA-funded international project to develop a training program for the metal-plating industry in Mexico, which will help industrial wastewater treatment operators to improve their skillset and maintain a safe work environment.
“It’s rewarding to know that my work is being used by the EPA—and also a great résumé booster.”Frank
Markey spent three years conducting research related to reverse-engineering the brain.
“By reverse-engineering the mechanisms that help our brains operate properly, engineers can help treat a wide variety of disabilities in a range of ways,” she said.
Her research in neural connections aims to develop ways of providing tactile feedback to users of prosthetics.
“I have been working to better understand the neural connections that help people orient their grasp relative to object size in hope of creating a prosthetic hand capable of providing haptic cues that can simulate tactile feedback,” she said.Markey