Friday, January 09, 2009

Undergraduate Research Experience - it's a good thing

During my first senior year of college, I signed up to do a Senior Problem also called a Senior Thesis. It was a two semester independent research study on sheep. I studied the seasonal influences of mating and reproduction of a Southeastern Ewe-flock. I spent a lot of time on the University's farm (I was an Animal Science major) and I got got a great hands-on experiential education.

Undergraduate research, whether as an assistant in a lab, or independent study, or a summer internship is a perfect way to supplement your science education. In fact, I highlighted the importance of such experiences in a recent article - FOCUS ON DIVERSITY: Fixing the pipeline to the science workforce:
"Summer research camps are also great programs. For both high school and undergraduate students, working on a current research project at college is an amazing experience. If a student has always been interested in diabetes or computer science, for example, what better way to get a clear understanding of what that career entails than to spend six to 10 weeks working alongside a scientist working in that field?"
As a follow-up and supplement to my article, I'm sharing a series of articles about the benefits of Undergraduate Research published by Science Careers, Dec 12, 2008 issue. Check them out.
Special Feature: Summer Internships for Undergraduates
By Rachel Narehood Austin
A summer internship may be the very best way for an undergraduate student to get started in scientific research.
Making Your Summer Research Internship a Good One
By Elisabeth Pain
Understanding the expectations of your supervisor and your contributions as an undergraduate will make your summer research internship all the more valuable.
Internships Offer Undergrads Full-Time Research Immersion
By Lucas Laursen
Summer research internships offer undergraduates research experience, exposure to new fields, and a chance to build a professional network.
Summer Internships: Resources
By Science Careers Staff
Looking for something in science to do this summer? Look here.
Right now research institutions and labs are advertising for summer science internship and field assistance. Start inquiring and applying now. Also, not all programs are for undergraduate students. Ambitious high school students or returning college students are also perfect candidates for summer research opportunities. Get out there and make it happen.

Best of luck!
Article orginally posted at and plugged AAAS Science Careers Blog, Jan 7, 2008.


Miriam Goldstein said...

I highly recommend the REU program. REUs are paid internships with working scientists in all kinds of fields. I had two REU internships, both of which were fun & good field experience. said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

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