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STRATEGIES FOR FINDING RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES Michael Henshaw  Department of Biology.

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Presentation on theme: "STRATEGIES FOR FINDING RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES Michael Henshaw  Department of Biology."— Presentation transcript:

1 STRATEGIES FOR FINDING RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES Michael Henshaw  Department of Biology

2 Why pursue research?  Research experiences provide opportunities to integrate and use what you learn in class as well as to develop marketable skills.  Research experiences allow you to explore your interests and passions.  Most graduate and professional schools value research experience in admissions decisions.  Research experiences help you stand out on the job market.  Research mentors can provide strong recommendations.

3 The faculty perspective  Most of us benefited from mentors who made the same investments in us and we are keen to repay those investments to our students.  We came to GVSU for the opportunity to mentor undergraduate research students.

4 The faculty perspective  Faculty WANT to provide research opportunities to ALL qualified and motivated students expensive  Consumable supplies, equipment, travel expenses, etc. are expensive. large time investment  Student research requires a large time investment. Students must be trained to collect data Data collection must be closely supervised to ensure the integrity of data. Students must be mentored to write for scientific publication and conference presentations., BUT…

5 The faculty perspective  Faculty WANT to provide research opportunities to ALL qualified and motivated students, BUT…  Many projects require sample collection or other preparations prior to student involvement. The potential faculty mentor may not have the necessary samples. If samples have been collected they may be very difficult to replace.

6 Opportunities are limited  Research opportunities are limited by access to resources, limited faculty time, and the constraints of specific projects.  Faculty want to work with capable, passionate, hard-working, and mature partners who will respect, and benefit from, those investments.

7 Typical approach…  The Cold Call  “Hi. My name is so-and-so. I was wondering if you have any research opportunities? OK, Thanks…”  Low success rate  Works better if you already know the professor from class, or if they advertised the opportunity.

8 The basics have to be right first!  Academic success in your classes is important.  Prepare to commit sufficient time to a project.

9 Do your research first.  Educate yourself about a potential mentor’s research before you visit them.  The Biology Department website lists faculty and describes their interests:  Use Web of Science to find more publications w=W w=W Pick one of their publications listed on the Biology site Find that publication in the Web of Science database Click on their name and you will find all references to them in the database

10 Do your research first.  Educate yourself about a potential mentor’s research before you visit them.  Look through old SSD abstract books to see what other students have done:  Look at S3 projects that were previously funded:  The GVSU library maintains a database of scholarly activities as well:  Look at the posters on the walls in PAD and HRY

11 Present yourself in the best light.  Schedule an appointment or stop by during office hours and ask if now is a good time to learn more about the potential mentor’s research. If it’s not, ask when you could come back.  Dress well  Speak confidently and be engaging  You may choose to prepare a resume listing courses taken, skills you have developed, previous experiences, etc…  Show off your maturity and professionalism  Clearly express your own interests, why you are interested in research opportunities, and what you found compelling about their work.  Demonstrate that you have thoughtfully reflected on your own goals and interests  Show off the research you have already done

12 Present yourself in the best light.  Ask them to describe the kinds of questions they are currently investigating and what approaches they use in their work.  Publications may not reflect their current areas of interest  You will learn more about the kinds of activities student researchers engage in on a daily basis  Inquire about readings that would help you better understand the kind of work they do.  Demonstrate your willingness to work hard and your ability to understand key concepts in their area of research.  After you have sincerely tried to read and understand more, return with new questions and thoughts.

13 Take time to explore.  Talk to all the faculty who seem interesting to you based on your initial research.  If you continue to be interested in working with a particular mentor, keep talking to them and continue to express your interest in research opportunities should any arise.  If you’ve given it some time and its not a good fit, explore other opportunities, both at GVSU and externally.  There are a number of programs that provide internship, job and research opportunities or that fund undergraduate research at GVSU.

14 Funding opportunities  Annis Water Resources Institute  740 W. Shoreline Dr., Muskegon, MI  rgraduate-funding- opportunities-41.htm rgraduate-funding- opportunities-41.htm

15 Funding opportunities  Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship  181 Lake Ontario Hall   Proposals developed jointly with faculty mentor OURS grants (up to $500)- apply in the semester prior Summer Student Scholars ($3000 student stipend + $3000 supplies & faculty stipend) – apply by January 25, 2013 Funding to present at conferences – application deadlines vary

16 External research opportunities  Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Program   Proposals developed jointly with faculty mentor  $3,500 student stipend, on-site housing, and partial meal support for their full-time, 12-week research project.  $3,500 faculty stipend that can be used for time, supplies, travel, or other research support.  Applications due by 5:00 p.m. on January 25, 2013.

17 External research opportunities  Michigan Space Grant Consortium  guidelines guidelines  Must apply in the Fall  The proposed activity should relate to NASA strategic interests.

18 External research opportunities  Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)   Application deadlines vary but are typically in the early winter  Job and Volunteer Opportunities  Council on Undergraduate Research  Employment Publications  Professional societies may list opportunities  Federal jobs  State agencies  Career Services Office (at GVSU and elsewhere)  

19 Funding opportunities  Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships  126 Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center   Assist with applications for prestigious, nationally-competitive opportunities.

20 Take Home  Start looking for opportunities early in your time at GVSU (but its never too late to start).  It takes time and effort to find opportunities and to conduct research. These are investments in your chosen vocation!  Search for opportunities that are good fit, but don’t constrain yourself too much.  Be prepared to collaboratively develop funding proposals and leave yourself time to meet proposal deadlines.  Present your work. Science that’s not shared never happened!

21 Questions & Panel Discussion


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