Our interaction with undergraduates goes well beyond the classes we teach. We invite you to take advantage of numerous opportunities to interact with our faculty and graduate students and with faculty from other institutions. We value your presence and urge you to take advantage of these opportunities.
Faculty Research Seminar Series
Every Tuesday of the academic year EEB presents a lecture by a researcher in our field. These lectures are usually aimed at a general EEB background and are open to the public. If you have had one or two EEB courses, you should be able to follow the seminar easily. We highly recommend that you attend some of these talks. They will not only let you know what is going on in our area but they also give you a chance to see what kinds of work is being done in other Universities.
Brown Bag Lunch Talks
On Fridays at noon, we have a more informal seminar series -- the Brown bag lunch. Here faculty and graduate students in EEB give talks involving their ongoing research projects. Each spring we also set aside several seminars for honors presentations by undergraduates. Brown Bag lunches are a great place to get a sense of research design in progress and to meet the graduate students and faculty and learn of their research.
Numerous undergraduates have participated in faculty and graduate student research projects in EEB. These include ones going on in the summer and during the academic year. Gaining research experience can be a valuable part of your education and is often helpful in planning your own independent research projects.
The best way to find out about such opportunities is to talk to the instructors of EEB courses you have taken (are taking). You should also visit the Biology Web Site for undergraduates. There you will find details on a variety of ways to work research into your academic experience.
In addition to working with someone's research group, there are several other ways to gain valuable research experience.
- Explore the possibility of enrolling in a Marine or Terrestrial Field Station. These programs offer field oriented courses that usually include research projects. They also are at places where faculty an graduate students are conducting ongoing research. Thus they afford the opportunity to sample a range of kinds of research while gaining valuable background that would allow you to design your own independent project in the future. Although these programs charge admission and room and board, they often do offer scholarship or work-study assistance. The academic credits earned are usually easy to transfer for concentration credit. A good place to start is to check out the following link:
- The National Science Foundation provides Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grants to a number of colleges and universities each year. Schools that get REU grants are supposed to take half of the students they receive funding for from outside of their own institution. These grants provide a stipend for students working at these schools -- a great way to get support and experience! The place to start in finding out who has the grants and how to apply for positions at those schools is to follow the following link.
- Develop your own research study. You can apply to the University's Undergraduate Teaching and Research Assistantships Program (UTRA) for funds to support a research project of your own. This will entail working out a project with a faculty member. See their web page for more details.
- Two courses within the biology curriculum also allow you to design and do your own research -- Biomed 195 / 196. Students need to work out a plan well in advance with a faculty sponsor. The best entry into these courses is through 100-level EEB courses. Many of these include exercises in designing research projects. Many EEB students have done 195/196 projects during the summer as well as during the academic year. The best way to initiate the process is to contact a faulty member whose course(s) you have taken. It is really important to initiate that interaction with at least a list of research ideas (specific projects or general areas you are interested in).
Where do you find things for that list? Look through papers you have read, notes and lectures, journals and textbooks. There you can find things that really appeal to you and get a sense of what might be involved.
Not all students will do experimental lab or field research projects. The Biomed 195/196 courses can also be used for more theoretical or library based explorations. Think of using them as kind of a tutorial in which you explore a more focused topic in depth with a faculty sponsor. Again, the place to begin is with a faculty member you know. Take several ideas with you or at least be ready to articulate the kind of learning experience you want to develop.