Begin the Process
Frequently Asked Questions
Ask yourself some questions. What do I find interesting? What classes made me curious to know or do more? What projects, ideas, experiments, concepts or activities could I spend some time exploring outside of the classroom?
Next answer some other basic questions: What do I want from the experience? How much time do I want to spend? How will this benefit me? What do I have to offer to my discipline?
Ultimately participating in the process can take on many aspects depending on your discipline, your mentor, and you. But having an idea of who you are, what you like, and what you want to do will make the first steps clearer.
Talk to Faculty
Start with professors who know you from your classes. Talk to them about your interests and ask them for advice about opportunities. Explain your goals, be clear about your expectations, and utilize their expertise. Ask if there might be opportunities with them. If the answer is "no", don't let that be the end of the conversation. "If not with you, then with whom?"
Talk to Your Advisor
This is the person who helps you pick classes; let her/him help you find opportunities in your home department. You may find that your department offers credit for participating in undergraduate research or has course offerings that emphasize hands-on work in your field. Nearly every department offers independent studies/readings or research credit courses. It is best to inquire in your home department as each determines the availability of these offerings for their own students. Visit your department's website.
Search the UVM web pages
Many departments, programs, or transdisciplinary initiatives list research opportunities and interests of their faculty. View a list of those we're aware of, but check back often as the list expands and evolves. You can also search for key terms (research, clinical, laboratory, etc.) on the UVM homepage and find links to department and program research efforts, but you may need to be creative to find the kind of things you that interest you.
Visit The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR)
50 University Heights North, Room 017B
This does not need to be your last resort. (But if you haven't done the above steps, they will be suggested!) In OUR students are assisted in locating faculty and projects throughout the university including the Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business, Fine Arts, and Education.
The Office of Undergraduate Research maintains a database of UVM faculty who welcome undergraduate students to participate in projects under their mentorship. The office can contact the prospective sponsor and facilitate meetings between students and faculty members to discuss what kinds of projects might be available and appropriate, but it is often more effective for the student to "do their homework" (find out more about the faculty's research) and contact the faculty directly.
Whether as a personal goal, a thesis requirement, or an unexpected bonus, participation in a project with a faculty mentor may lead you to develop your own innovations. It is still important to maintain the connection to your faculty mentor. This person may be one of the most important people with whom you connect during your undergraduate careers.
A mentor can help you navigate through the necessary rules and regulations of the University. She/He can help you integrate into your ideas with those of your chosen profession. And she/he can be a sounding board, a resource, a letter of recommendation, or even a co-author. Plus with her/his sponsorship you become eligible to apply for grants and internships available through the OUR and beyond.
Last modified November 08 2013 12:59 PM